Esoteric London

No. 791: Barnsbury Street, N1

Posted in Drink, Entertainment, London Places by esotericlondon on March 11, 2013

© Roger Dean_RED2150 copy

Barnsbury Street, London, N1. Photo © Roger Dean 2011

Curiosities of London Exhibiting the Most Rare and Remarkable Objects of Interest in the Metropolis; with Nearly Sixty Years’ Personal Recollections – John Timbs, 1867:

The [Bartholomew] Fair was annually proclaimed by the Lord Mayor, on the 2nd of September, his lordship proceeding thither in his gilt coach, “with City Officers and trumpets;” and the proclamation for the purpose read before the entrance to Cloth Fair. It was the custom for the Lord Mayor, on this occasion, to call upon the keeper of Newgate, and partake, on his way to Smithfield, of “a cool tankard of wine, nutmeg, and sugar.” This custom, which ceased in the second mayoralty of Sir Matthew Wood in 1818, was the cause of the death of Sir John Shorter, Lord Mayor in 1688. In holding the tankard, he let the lid slip down with so much force, that his horse started, and he was thrown to the ground with great violence. He died the next day.

[The photograph above is of a Whitbread brewery plaque that adorns the exterior of a building in Barnsbury Street, Islington. It is generally believed to have been a pub, although I have been unable to find out its name and through my research I have come across the possibility that it may have been an off license. If anyone has any information they can share I would be very interested. R.D.]

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