I asked for your suggestions for the strangest or most amusing pub names in the area, and got some great responses.
Combining some of those with some favourites nominated here, I present this top 10 list.
These are the pubs which most put the Red Lions, Queen’s Heads, White Swans and other boring boozer names to shame.
There is no particular order to the list so you can have your say in the comments box below about which one you think deserves the title of weirdest or funniest pub name in the area, or any others you reckon should have been included.
Fanny on the Hill
Also featured in my top 10 rudest place names, this has to be one of the most snigger-wrthy pub name out there.
You may be disappointed to learn the likely origins of the name for this Welling pub aren’t really rude at all.
Hidden-London.com says: “The pub is said to derive its name from a barmaid at an earlier hostelry who would shine a lamp to tell Dick Turpin that the coast was clear. However, the original Fanny is more likely to have been Anne Muirhead, who ran the White Horse beerhouse for about 20 years in the mid-19th century.”
Zoë-Dawn Briggs said on Facebook: “The Fanny is named after Dick Turpin's wife, apparently she used to wait nearby with a lantern for him.”
As is its way, and a point that will be further illustrated later on, Wetherspoon pubs tend to have quirky names – and this ‘un in Bexleyheath is no exception.
Although our PubSpy wwasn’t entirely convinved, the name is not intended as a reflection on the pub or its clientele. Instead it’s drawn from a cricket term as eexplained on the JD Wetherspoon website: “Cricket has been a favourite local pastime for more than two centuries. There are references to Bexley men playing cricket in 1746. One of the most difficult deliveries for a batsman to play is the googly, or wrong 'un, bowled by a leg spinner.”
Another one that’s on the list for appealing to anyone who has an inner 12-year-old that titters at the mention of something slightly naughty. This doesn’t look particularly rude on screen but sounds it when said out loud, especially when phrased in certain ways.
There appears to be at least a couple of Cocks in north Kent, one in Luddesdowne and another in Halstead. It’s almost certain their names are connected to male chickens and not anything filthy.
Speaking of which, get a load of The Fighting Cocks. An eye-catching name for a pub, but one which can be simply explained. From the Horton Kirby tavern’s website: “The building is said to have originated in 1776 as a farmhouse, subsequently being converted into an alehouse in 1818. The landlord at the time used to arrange cockfights, hence the name.
Photo from fightingcockshortonkirby.co.uk
“The landlord was incidentally fined on three seperate occasions for keeping a gaming house. In those days, cock fighting was OK, but wagering on the result was illegal!. A cockpit existed at the inn until the middle of the 19th century.”
Another distinctive name with chicken-related roots, as whatpub.com explains: “The pub is named after the Orpington Buff chicken which was first bred in the town in the 19th century. Its construction to serve the expanding housing of the town belongs to a much more recent period however.”
This tiny Welling watering hole was London’s first contribution to the micropub craze.
Landlord Ray Hurley told News Shopper the boozer is named after his mum whose maiden name was Doreen Indge.
Ray said: "At school they shortened Doreen to Door and she was known as Door Hinge or Squeaky or Rusty Hinge.
"She would have loved the place. She was a typical old London girl from Deptford."
The second imaginatively titled Wwetherspoon drinking spot to make it on to our list. Here’s the origin for this Dartford pub’s peculiar name: “John Clayton Beadle moved his horse-drawn-vehicle-making business to Spital Street in 1900. In 1910, he added the single-storey car showroom where you now stand. The workshops at the rear of the showroom included a roller-skating rink which doubled as a meeting venue, with Winston Churchill and AJ Balfour both addressing crowds here.
"The workshops were demolished in 1998, when the premises were converted into a public house. During the First and Second World War, production at Beadle's was geared to the war effort, including making floats for Sunderland flying boats - one of the most powerful and widely used flying boats in the Second World War.”
Who'd 'a' Thought It
If I was to pick an absolutte favourite on this list, the Who'd 'a' Thought It in Plumstead would get my vote.
A commenter on the Little London Observationist blog sheds some light on where the name came from: “The Who’d ‘a’ Thought It belonged to my great-grandmother at one point. Eliza Collins, I think her name was. The story about the name of the pub, as my grandmother Lydia told it, was that the family spent many hours trying to think up a good name for the pub, but were unsuccessful. Finally one of them said “well, who’d a thought it!” and they decided that was the right name for the pub.”
Frog & Radiator
I’m finishing this list with two pub names which are no longer used but should be. The first is the Frog & Radiator in Greenwich which was changed to the Ship & Billet and is now known as The Duchess. I don’t know where the outlandish earlier name came from, but it was definitely much better.
Photo by Ewan Munro via Flickr
People at News Shopper have written nice things about the Barrel & Horn in Bromley High Street such as here and here. I’ve never been but I’m prepared to accept it’s a great bar based purely on this statement from its website: ”Quite simply the best thing to happen to Bromley since the Chuckle Brothers played the Churchill.”
The thing is, the name ... it’s just not very ... look, it’s not a bad name but it’s certainly not unusual enough to have made this list. The place’s old naame, The Tom Foolery, was miles better I think.