Travels: London: Friday 16th June 2000

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Highlights

The Lamb (Lambs Conduit St.); The Jerusalem Tavern; Dulwich

Main purpose: tour more Good Beer Guide pubs in central London


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I arrived at St Pancras Station at 11:34 from Derby (having spent the last few days in Repton), walked past Kings Cross Station and turned southwards down Grays Inn Road. This area was very scruffy but after about 300 metres Grays Inn Road became smarter. After a 10-minute walk I arrived at the Calthorpe Arms (Young's). It's a spacious place, with high ceilings, old-looking wood & etched glass. The rear area (loos etc.) seemed very old. The Test Match was on the telly. Youngs' Bitter (99p/half) and Young's Special were the only real beers on.

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Onwards via Mecklenburgh Square (on the lookout for Hogarth/Thomas Coram sights [more of this later]) to The Lamb (Young's), at the top of Lamb's Conduit Street. It's a lovely old pub, still with the Victorian feel and apparently well known for its good food. There's a Snug Bar for non-smokers. The main bar still has "Snob Screens" - small wooden frames at eye level with etched glass which swivel through 90 degrees, the idea being presumably similar to acoustic hoods for public telephones, to make conversations more private, and to avoid eye contact while at the bar. The pub had the same two beers on the side bar (heading towards the rear), the Bitter being 2.03/pint, plus others along the front bar. At the rear is a small patio and there were tables out the front. Food arrived via a ancient dumb waiter. I had cod & chips (5+) - very good pub grub.

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After a 15-minute walk I arrived at the Kings Arms (Bass?) in Northington Street at 13:50. It was packed with office types but began to empty shortly afterwards. The loos are upstairs - odd these days. The beer selection was boring - I think I had Wadworth 6X. The cricket was on two TV screens but not many seemed to be watching.

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After a somewhat longer walk, at long last I found the Jerusalem Tavern in Britton Street - about half way down. The current building dates from the 1720s. The chef seemed even older! It's the only St Peter's Brewery pub in London. Six of their beers were on, in addition to their famous range of bottled beers. I had the excellent Golden Ale (2.30). The place was tiny, ancient, hot & airless.

At 15:40 I walked towards Farringdon Station and found that its general-purpose ticket machine was out of use and both ticket windows were closed. Two specialist machines, not relevant for me, were operating. Instead I walked on down Farrington Street to City Thameslink. There the machine wouldn't accept my 1 coins so I bought a ticket the old-fashioned way.

After a 5-minute wait I caught a Thameslink train across the river for London Bridge, spotting men in luminous jackets on the Millennium Bridge. Actually I found I was on the wrong branch of the line but it turned out for the best. I got off at Elephant & Castle, walked through a lively afro-caribbean market to the Tube station and went to London Bridge. Then I caught a Jubilee Line train to Westminster station, admiring the architecture of the stations [more of this later]. At 16:30 I emerged by Westminster Bridge and crossed it, arriving at the Old Father Thames at 16:50.

My brother arrived a couple of minutes later and his partner about 10 minutes after that. We had one drink and then drove to Dulwich, which is the next suburb over from their home south-eastwards. Partly they had in mind a favourite pub, partly that I was thinking of going to the just-reopened Picture Gallery the following morning.
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The Gallery had just closed but we had a brief stroll near the entrance, then drove back down the high street to the Crown and Greyhound (73 Dulwich Village).
[The Dulwich page on the Discovering Southwark site sheds light on the unspoilt nature; pubs.com article.]
It struck me how village-like the centre of Dulwich still is, reminding me of parts of Wimbledon in the 1960s. The pub is a huge place inside and has an even larger garden, very popular with families. We had one drink, then went back home (via a large and popular Sainsbury's) to eat. I stayed overnight.

In the morning I didn't feel like walking around any gallery so I just caught the Tube from Brixton station to Kings Cross and returned to Cambridge at lunchtime.

At KX I tried to buy a Financial Times but the WH Smiths there didn't have any, which is surprising in the circumstances. I tried to use the ticket machine on the WAGN platforms 9/10/11 area but it didn't take a Switch card and I didn't have the necessary coins, so I had to go to a ticket window to get a Single. Ticket machines are still very frustrating - perhaps the imminent next generation will be usable?


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