Esoteric London

No. 385: Barking Road, E6

Posted in Architectural, Interiors, Sport by esotericlondon on August 19, 2011

The Boleyn Tavern, Barking Road, London, E6. Photo © Roger Dean 2011

Millwall Football Club was formed in 1885 by labourers at JT Morton’s canned food factory on the Isle of Dogs. In 1895 a foreman at  Thames Ironworks, London’s last major shipbuilding firm, decided to form a football team which was later renamed West Ham United. The rivalry between the two teams has been fierce since their first meeting, a so called ‘friendly’ on 23 September 1897. With both sets of supporters working for firms competing for the same contracts, business rivalries spilled over into their football and things regularly got nasty both on and off the pitch. During The General Strike of 1926 the West Ham fans who generally came from the area of the Royal Docks, were solid in their support for the strike unlike many of the Millwall fans, which provoked outrage and resulted in the hatred that exists to this day between the two sets of fans.

The photograph above is of the stained glass skylight of the billiard room in the Boleyn Tavern which stands in the shadow of West Ham’s stadium. The pub is listed Grade II and is included in the CAMRA, (the Campaign for Real Ale) National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors, Part Two not only for the skylight but for several other features that have somehow survived the above mentioned rivalry since it was built in 1900. If you are passing it is worth a look but it is advisable to avoid days when home games are being played especially if the game is against Millwall as the pub will be closed and boarded up to preserve its historic interior during that fixture. R.D.

For more information on CAMRA’s National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors click here and for CAMRA’s main website click here.

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