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"Pub signs, perfect English lessons for kids" Pubs & Bars Tip by Trekki

Pubs & Bars, London: 57 reviews and 95 photos

  The Ship Tavern, Holborn (near Lincoln Fields)
by Trekki
  • The Ship Tavern, Holborn (near Lincoln Fields) - London
      The Ship Tavern, Holborn (near Lincoln Fields)
    by Trekki
  • The Fox & Hounds, Chiswick (closed now) - London
      The Fox & Hounds, Chiswick (closed now)
    by Trekki
  • The Dove, Hammersmith - London
      The Dove, Hammersmith
    by Trekki
  • The Anchor, London, Southwark - London
      The Anchor, London, Southwark
    by Trekki
  • The Shaven Crown, Shipton-under-Wychwood - London
      The Shaven Crown, Shipton-under-Wychwood
    by Trekki

Although I don’t have kids I would imagine that pub signs hunting might be fun for kids to learn English, or at least some words. Now pub signs are art as well, and I am sure that many of us reall love to walk around British cities and villages and look for the most funny ones. I always loved them and thought that at a point in time I would like to travel all over Great Britain, take photos of every sign possible and publish a book. But that’s already done by someone else, maybe even by more than only one :-)

When I looked up “pub” in Wikipedia, I found a very interesting quote as of why they have been made in the first place. It is said that, in 1393, Richard II has passed a law saying “Whosoever shall brew ale in the town with the intention of selling it must hang out a sign, otherwise he shall forfeit his ale”. And it also mentions that William Shakespeare’s father was one of the inspectors who would pass by, look for pub signs, enter and inspect the quality of the ales. And as the majority of people these days could not read, it was most logical to visualise a name through a painting, similar as it was done with pharmacies. Many names derive from hunting and sports, such as fighting cocks or hounds (as in Fox and Hounds, Chiswick, photo 2). Others have maritime themes as the Ship Tavern (main photo, in Gate Street, near Lincoln Fields) and The Anchor (photo 5, London, Southwark). And other names are extremely funny such as the one in photo 4: The Shaven Crown in Shipton-under-Wychwood, Oxfordshire. While my photo shows the monk’s back “crown”, you might like to visit Oxfordshire (by Sarah) to see his front in the restaurant section.

There are certainly countless of other pubs with funny names and it should be fun to just devote one full day to pub sign hunting while in London.
If you want to find the ones in my photos and combine hunting with beer sampling, here are the links:
The Ship Tavern (London, Holborn),
The Dove (Hammersmith),
The Anchor (London, Southwark),
The Shaven Crown (Shipton-under-Wychwood, Oxfordshire).
Sadly, the Fox & Hounds is closed now.

Address: (all over in London)

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Nov 14, 2008
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