Tag Archives: William Shakespeare

City Pubs

Live Music is great but pubs with that modern evil – piped music – are unlikely to get a mention. Sadly this pestilence destroys the atmosphere of many otherwise delightful establishments. If anybody can explain the upside of ones conversation getting drowned out by somebody else’s choice of music then I shall be curious to hear their thoughts.

Crosse Keys, 9 Gracechurch St, EC3V 0DR
8am to 11pm, Monday-Friday; 8:30am to 11pm Saturday; 9:30am to 9pm Sunday.
Spacious atmospheric Wetherspoons pub in a cavernous former banking hall.
There was a coaching inn nearby dating back to the 1500s – also called the Crosse Keys – where some of Shakespeare’s plays were performed.
It is possible that the name derived from the nearby church of St Peter Cornhill – crossed keys being the symbol of St Peter.
Bank or Monument underground.

Dirty Dick’s, Swedeland Court, 202 Bishopsgate, EC2M 4NR
11am to midnight, Monday-Saturday; noon to 11pm, Sunday
I will tolerate the mild piped music and admit this one. A quirky Young’s house with a curious history.
Liverpool Street underground or national rail.

‘Dirty Dick’ (the man himself) is mentioned on my Bishopsgate walk.

Rising Sun, 38 Cloth Fair, Barbican, EC1A 7JQ
Noon to 11pm every day.
A Sam Smiths house and a gem of a proper traditional pub overlooking the church of St Bartholomew the Great.
Barbican underground; Farringdon Elizabeth Line and national rail.

Seven Stars, 53 Carey St, WC2A 3QS
Noon to 11pm every day Sunday closes at 10pm
Just outside the City but warrants a mention. Dates to 1602 and looks the part.
Chancery Lane underground

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, 145 Fleet St, EC4A 2BP
Noon to 11pm every day Sunday closes at 10:30pm
A rambling Sam Smiths house dating to 1667. Past patrons include Charles Dickens, Christopher Wren, Samuel Johnson and Samuel Pepys.
Chancery Lane underground

Also see Docklands Pubs

Alexander Pope


Poet, translator and satirist of what is known as the English Augustan period.

Pope was physically handicapped. He had curvature of the spine believed to come from too much time studying. When young he is believed to have suffered from tuberculosis of the spine which hampered his growth and he stood only 4.6″ tall. He suffered a lot of pain but was pleased that he was still able to ride a horse.

He was a Catholic and lived his early years in London until anti-Catholic harassment forced his family to move to Berkshire.

Pope might well have gone to university but was constrained by the Test Acts of 1673 and 1678 which supported the Church of England and banned Catholics from teaching, attending a university, voting or holding public office on penalty of imprisonment.

His works included Pastorals, Messiah (from the Book of Isaiah, later translated into Latin by Samuel Johnson), The Rape of the Lock (a satire on privileged society). He also translated Homer’s Illiad into English and compiled and edited a six-volume publication of William Shakespeare’s works.

He introduced the word Bathos to the language – meaning a sudden change from the solemn to the amusing or ridiculous.

Pope introduced several aphorisms to the language including “To Err is human; to forgive divine”, “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread”, “Wit is the lowest form of humour” and “A little learning is a dangerous thing, [Drink deep or taste not the Perian Spring]” (the Perian Spring was a sacred spring near Mount Olympus).

He was a Freemason, something which may have caused a conflict in his later life when the pope, in 1738, forbade Catholics from being masons.

In terms of the City, Pope was born in Plough Court off Lombard Street.

He was reputed to have lost money in the so called South Sea Bubble. Did he? This will be discussed in a future article.