The Anchor Pub: The Southbank, London, UK. by DonDavisUK

The Anchor Pub: The Southbank, London, UK. by 

The Anchor Pub The Southbank, London, UK.
St Paul’s Cathedral in the background.

Camera Nikon D700 with 28-300mm Nikon Lense. ISO 200, 1/50th sec, f/10.0, 42mm. Handheld, App Priority.

Don’s Photography Blog

The History of the Ancient Anchor Pub
This historic pub, on the south bank of the Thames, is a favourite with tourists. It has several bars, a restaurant and roof terrace, both of which have wonderful views across the Thames to the City, and a large seated area on the riverbank. A recent refurbishment has added a fish and chip shop; the oldest and most atmospheric part of the building with its low beams, exposed brickwork and open fireplaces, has been converted into a tea rooms. Not open to the public, but available for functions, is the beautiful Shakespeare Room, which is clad in mellow 18th century pine panelling.

The Anchor was rebuilt in 1676 after fire devastated the area. The pub’s original structure has been added-to over the centuries, creating a maze of odd little beamed rooms. One is named after Samuel Johnson, the lexicographer and writer, who drank here regularly and was a friend of the Thrale’s who owned the pub and the phenominally successful Anchor porter brewery, which when offered for sale Johnson said ‘We are not here to sell a parcel of boilers and vats, but the potentiality of growing rich beyond the dreams of avarice’. A copy of Johnson’s dictionary is on display.

It was from this pub that Samuel Pepys witnessed the awesome destruction of the Great Fire of London in 1666. He describes the dreadful heat and “fire drops” falling on him whilst in a boat on the river. He sought refuge in “a little alehouse on bankside …..and there watched the fire grow”.

The Anchor has a new old neighbour too, Shakespeare’s Globe theatre recreated just along the waterfront and Bankside’s cultural boom continues with the Tate Modern gallery a little further upstream. The local streets are full of character and are a favourite location for filmmakers; Tom Cruise has a pint outside the Anchor in ‘Mission Impossible’.

The Anchor has attracted much criticism for its extensive modernisation and enlargement; the walled courtyard was built upon, providing another large bar and a Premier Hotel was built on the car park. Although most of the original pub has survived, albeit with minor alterations, it has been dwarfed by the sheer scale of the additions.

On the plus side, the old building has received some overdue maintenance and its fabric has been preserved. On balance it’s a shame this lovely old pub was not enlarged more sympathetically but at least it has been preserved and is cared for. Perhaps it would have been better to build a completely new pub next to it and leave the old one well alone.

Life is so precious and worth recording for posterity.
Imagine your grandchildren or great-great-grandchildren being able to see how you enjoyed life hundreds of years from now? Don can help you record those magical moments for them. Photographer since 1980s.
Specialising in Portraiture, Landscape and Urban Fine Art Photography.

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  • DonDavisUK
    DonDavisUKover 4 years ago

  • Tom Gomez
    Tom Gomezover 4 years ago

    Excellent, super capture …

  • Thanks once again Tom. This is right next to the Golden Hind Ship.

    – DonDavisUK

  • artfulvistas
    artfulvistasover 4 years ago

    Really great capture!!

  • Many thanks for that my friend. Don.

    – DonDavisUK

  • Alessandro Pinto
    Alessandro Pintoover 4 years ago

    I remeber drinking more than few pints in this pub in the last few years… beautiful memories

  • Hi Alessandro, many thank mate, bet you had a good time too:-) I love this part of the City.

    – DonDavisUK

  • Hertsman
    Hertsmanover 4 years ago

    Very well done Don – apart from St Pauls being in shot, it looks like a Northern Town

  • I know, there are so many wonderful Dickensian type of shots to be had around that part of London. I wonder with St Paul’s in view they didn’t call it the Hope and Anchor? LOL

    – DonDavisUK

  • Wendi Donaldson
    Wendi Donaldsonover 4 years ago

    Smashing shot, Don ~ Love the dome in the background too – well done!

  • It was one of those shot that you get when you look around a bit more. Everyone else was getting shots of the Golden Hind, but I turned around a spotted the great old pub and St Paul’s in the background. Hope and Anchor…

    – DonDavisUK

  • davesphotographics
    davesphotograp...over 4 years ago

    great shot don good find

  • Hi Dave, thanks very much mate. Don.

    – DonDavisUK

  • Kate Adams
    Kate Adamsover 4 years ago

    Super capture Don and great story!!

  • Thanks very much Kate.

    – DonDavisUK

  • georgieboy98
    georgieboy98over 4 years ago

    A lot of England’s old pubs have wonderful stories to tell and this is one of them. You have detailed it’s history quite beautifully but have left out the occasion in 1955 when a bunch of young lads in their early 20’s spent a memorable evening celebrating a classic victory in a 7’s tournament. My head still throbs when I think back on that evening and seeing this awakens some wonderful memories of those days. What a great photo and how marvellous that you managed to get St Paul’s in shot as well. Now I’m off to take an aspirin! LOL
    Super photo Don

  • Now how on earth could I leave out that important bit of history? LOL. Rugby 7s is tough, but great fun. Played it at college.

    – DonDavisUK

  • Hope the Hangover is gone now:-) LOL

    – DonDavisUK

  • Kylie  Sheahen
    Kylie Sheahenover 4 years ago

    Great shot and history Don! :)

  • many thanks for that Kylie. Don.

    – DonDavisUK

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