John Disson's Recollections of some pubs

Outing from the Princess Royal
John Disson

There were so many pubs in the Wood, not quite one on every corner but almost. They must have surely have been there to meet a demand. Here are a few of my recollections, though the first one is really before my time.

The Princess Royal

I used to hear about the successful darts team from my Dad and here they are during the latter part of the 1930s. Dave Clienfield, the landlord, is centre front, with a moustache, and his young son and my Dad standing centre row, third from the left, with his two brothers, Willy and Perce in the front row.

The Star 

this is a pub set in aspic! The only change over the years has been the removal of the separate bars, whilst the furnishings and fittings remain, by and large, the same as when Bill Jones ran the pub up until the late 50s. During his time, it could be considered to be one of the most successful pubs in this part of London. Serving just alcohol, the only food you will currently find there are packets of crisps. This is still a pub as we remember them!

During the days of Bill Jones’ ownership, he would decorate his bars with copious amounts of nuts and cheese. We always joked that the local members of Equity, who were currently ‘resting’, would descend upon the pub to feast on bar food for their Sunday lunch.

Famously, in the late fifties, the Star was featured in the national dailies with a photograph showing all five of the World’s Test Captains drinking together at the bar. The photo was still hanging on the wall well into the nineties, and is probably still available from Getty Images.

The New Inn 

has morphed, in recent times, from being a traditional pub into one caters for today’s clientele. To its credit, it is still a pub that you can visit for a casual pint.

My Dad told me that, during the 20s, the landlord organised the annual trip to the coast for The Top Hat Club, which he ran. All those going on the trip had to wear a top hat, whilst the transport for the day was by horse-drawn carriages. A sight to behold!

The Pitts Head

if it was still open, would go down well today as a theme pub, just as it was, untouched, with its bare boards and sawdust scattered on the floor. I had my first pint here just before it closed. It’s now a private club of some kind, but nothing ever seems to go on there.

This page was added on 05/12/2013.

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