The Prospect of Whitby - History and Facts | History Hit

The Prospect of Whitby

London, England, United Kingdom

Celeste Neill

28 Jun 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About The Prospect of Whitby

Located on the banks of the Thames in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, The Prospect of Whitby boasts a pedigree which stretches back to 1520. Filled with a range of historic items such as pin-ups, pistols, clogs, copper kettles, Chianti bottles, skulls, and old furniture, visitors can drink in both the history of the site and a refreshing pint in one of London’s oldest riverside pubs.

History of The Prospect of Whitby 

There are not many pubs in London that can claim to have served pints to pirates and princesses whilst hosting onsite wrestling matches and the occasional live hanging. The Prospect of Whitby is the exception.

Once known as The Devils Tavern, and dating back to 1520, this riverside watering hole was a popular hang out for a clientele of decidedly dubious quality. Smugglers, pirates, cutthroats, and robbers would lurk around this Dockland set tavern, trading everything from contraband to dead bodies.

A bohemian guest list ranging from Charles Dickens to Frank Sinatra to Princess Margaret has walked across its original stone floor. Whilst artists such as Turner and Whistler have sketched the pub’s riverside views, the site today continues to be a source of cultural inspiration. As well as being featured in the cult comic series The League of Extraordinary Gentleman, The Prospect of Whitby has also had a starring role in the BBC television show Whitechapel. 

The Prospect of Whitby today

Drinkers can enjoy the novelty of sipping a gin and tonic whilst gazing out at the replica gallows, which harks back to when the location was known as Execution Dock, a popular hanging place for troublesome pirates.

Immerse yourself further within the site’s authentic historic atmosphere by climbing the rickety stairs up to the Smugglers Bar, where you can drink amongst old sailing ropes, ship masts, and rum barrels.

Getting to The Prospect of Whitby

The Prospect of Whitby is a little out of the centre of London, but is still certainly worth the visit. From Kings Cross tube station, take the Hammersmith and City line to Whitechapel, then the Overground to Crystal Palace and get off at Wapping. From there, walk around 5 minutes northeast towards Thames Path, then right onto Wapping Wall. From there, The Prospect of Whitby is easy to find.

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