Esoteric London

No. 683: Wardour Street, W1

Posted in Architectural, Friezes, London Music, Pubs by esotericlondon on October 10, 2012

Wardour Street, London, W1. Photo © Roger Dean 2012

This relief is on the exterior wall of the much missed Soho pub The Intrepid Fox. The pub was given its name in 1784 by its proprietor, Samuel House, an enthusiastic supporter of the Whig Charles James Fox who was standing in the Westminster election that year. During the election campaign it is claimed that House gave away free beer and a kiss from the Duchess of Devonshire to any customer if they voted for Fox.

In more recent years its clientele were of the rock, metal or goth variety. Frequented by musicians such as Motorhead’s Lemmy, Rod Stewart and the Pistols, it is also believed that it’s where Mick Jagger convinced Ronnie Wood to join the Stones. Sold by its owners Mitchells & Butlers, along with 20 other central London pubs, it served its last pint to a black garbed punter in September 2006 despite a campaign to keep it open. It has unfortunately gone the way of other legendary Soho music venues such as the Marquee Club and the Astoria. There is one small consolation in that the building was not demolished, as was feared, but it now houses a branch of the burger chain Byron, that’s progress for you.

The Intrepid Fox continues to trade having moved to new premises in St Giles High Street so if you want a pentangle drawn in the head of your Guinness you know where to go. R.D.

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