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.
Explore the great British tradition of popping in for a pint at the local and discover history along the way at these illustrious old boozers.
Whilst London is packed with historic landmarks, a trip to the local pub also serves as a surprisingly informative way of exploring the capital’s unique past. The oldest pubs in London offer a rather refreshing way to explore local history whilst enjoying another old custom – drinking a pint.
From fires to wars, body snatchers to pirates, these quaint taverns have seen a lot throughout the centuries. London literary legends such as Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, and Samuel Pepys often used the bohemian atmosphere and raucous behaviour of the local clientele as a source of creative inspiration for their writings. So step back in time with a visit to five of the best old boozers in London which all have a place in English history.