Pickwick Papers (1836-7)



There are so many places in Dickens's first novel that it is virtually a blue-print for those described in the rest of his works.

Notes refer to the Penguin Classics editions. As with the other web-pages on Dickens on this site, the historical information about the existence or otherwise of hostelries is heavily dependent upon B. W. Matz's work, here mainly taken from The Inns and Taverns of Pickwick (London, Cecil Palmer, 1921). 'Details' links to a page where more information about the drinking place can be found.


Angel Bury St. Edmunds. Pickwick and Sam Weller arrive there. (Extant? the Angel Hotel?) 'It has stood since 1779 and occupies the site of three ancient inns known at the time as the "Angel," the "Castle" and the "White Bear," respectively.' (Matz, p.106).

Beaufort Arms Bath. Unidentified/fictional.

Bell Inn Berkely Heath (on the road between Bristol and Gloucester). Extant?.

'I say, we're going to dine here, aren't we?' said Bob, looking in at the window. ‘Dine!' said Mr. Pickwick.

Why, we have only come nineteen miles, and have got eighty-seven and a half to go.'

'Just the reason why we should take something to enable us to bear up against the fatigue,' remonstrated Mr. Bob Sawyer.

'Oh, it's quite impossible to dine at half-past eleven o'oclock in the day,' replied Mr. Pickwick, looking at his watch.

'So it is,' rejoined Bob, ‘lunch is the very thing. Hallo, you sir! Lunch for three, directly, and keep the horses back for a quarter of an hour. Tell them to put everything they have cold, on the table, and some bottled ale, and let us taste your very best Madeira.' Issuing these orders with monstrous importance and bustle, Mr. Bob Sawyer at once hurried into the house to superintend the arrangements; in less than five minutes he returned and declared them to be excellent.


Belle Savage (La Belle Sauvage): Where Tony Weller starts and ends his journeys to London. 'Famous coaching inn at the foot of Ludgate Hill, demolished in 1873. The name is said to be derived from its landlady, Mrs Isabel Savage, mentioned by John Stow in A Survey of London (1598)' (Chapter 10. Note to p.200).

Black Boy Chelmsford. Passing reference. Demolished 1857; dating back to C17 when known as the Crown or New Inn.

Blue Boar Leadenhall Market. Unidentified. Chapter 33. Sam ventures there to meet his father and to write a valentine.

Looking round him, he there beheld a sign-board on which the painter's art had delineated something remotely resembling a cerulean elephan with an aquiline nose in lieu of trunk. Rightly conjecturing that this was the Blue Boar himself, he stepped into the house, and inquired concerning his parent.


Blue Lion 'Muggleton'. 'There was an open square for the market-place; and in the centre of it, a large inn with a sign-post in front, displaying an object very common in art, but rarely met with in nature - to wit, a blue lion, with three bow legs in the air, balancing himself on the extreme point of the centre claw of his fourth foot.'

There is a meal in the great room of the inn with cricketers from Dingley Dell and Muggleton. The narrator claims how noble it would be to record all the addresses given, but Mr Snodgrass's hand was 'so extremely unsteady, as to render his writing nearly unintelligible, and his style wholly so. By dint of patient investigation, we have been enabled to trace some characters bearing a faint resemblance to the names of the speakers; and we can also discern an entry of a song (supposed to have been sung by Mr Jingle), in which the words 'bowl' 'sparkling' 'ruby' 'bright,' and 'wine' are frequently repeated at short intervals.'

Muggleton, according to Matz, has been identified variously as Maidstone and as Town Malling (p.41).


Bull Inn High Street, Rochester. Chapter 2. 1st excursion. A ball held there, which attracts the neighbourhood's aristocracy. Jingle uses it to make a play for a widow. A duel is offered. / '...it no doubt is the original of the "Winglebury Arms" in "The Great Winglebury Duel" in Sketches by Boz, and is certainly the "Blue Boar" of Great Expectations. / Dickens frequented it himself, and the room he occupied ont hose occasions is known as the Dickens room and is furnished with pieces of furniture from his residence at Gad's Hill.' (Matz, p.33). Extant?

Bull Inn Whitechapel. The starting place for Tony Weller's coach to Ipswich. No. 25 Aldgate. Chapter 22.

Bush Tavern Bristol. 'The "Bush" was, in its time, the chief coaching inn of the city, and one of the head-quarters of Moses Pickwick's coaching business. It stood until 1864, near the Guildhall...' (Matz, p.178). Dickens encountered it in 1835 on a tour.

Fox Under the Hill Bottom of Ivy Lane, the Adelphi. '...casually referred to by Mr. Roker as the spot where Tom Martin "whopped the coach-heaver,"' (Matz, p.181). Alluded to in David Copperfield.

George and Vulture George and Vulture Hotel, George Yard, Lombard Street (also St. Michael's Alley, Cornhill - both addresses are 'correct'). HQ for Pickwick and friends. Previously known as 'Thomas's Chop House'. Dates back to C12. Extant.

Garraway's Coffee House Exchange Alley, London. Demolished c.1870s (established C17). 'Garraway's, twelve o'clock. "Dear Mrs. B., Chops and Tomato Sauce, Yours, Pickwick"'. Mentioned in Martin Chuzzlewit, 'Poor Relation's Story' in Christmas Stories, and referred to in Little Dorrit and The Uncommercial Traveller.

Golden Cross Charing Cross. Chapter 2. 'A coaching inn located near the present site of Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square' (note 3).

The Pickwickians are to start their first journey to Rochester from here, but before they set off Pickwick has an altercation with the cab-drivier who has brought him there. Mentioned in 'Early Coaches' in Sketches by Boz and in David Copperfield. Matz notes that 'although there is a "Golden Cross" still standing at Charing Cross to-day, and a fairly old inn to boot, it is not the actual one' in these books. It was also 'the busiest coaching inn in the west end of London.' (p.17). 'The "Golden Cross" was either rebuilt in 1811 or in that year had its front altered to the Gothic style. Whichever is the case, it was this Gothic inn that Dickens knew and described in his books. It was demolished in 1827, or thereaboutrs, to make room for the improvements in the neighbourhood which developed into the Trafalgar Square we know to-day.'


Great White Horse Ipswich. Extant.

In the main street of Ipswich, on the left-hand side of the way, a short distance after you have passed through the open space fronting the Town Hall, stands an inn known far and wide by the appellation of The Great White Horse, rendered the more conspicuous by a stone statue of some rampacious animal with flowing mane and tail, distantly resembling an insane cart-horse, which is elevated above the principal door. The Great White Horse is famous in the neighbourhood, in the same degree as a prize ox, or county paper-chronicled turnip, or unwieldy pig - for its enormous size. Never were such labyrinths of uncarpeted passages, such clusters of mouldy, ill-lighted rooms, such huge numbers of small dens for eating or sleeping in, beneath any one roof, as are collected together between the four walls of the Great White Horse at Ipswich.


Hop Pole Tewkesbury. The next inn after The Bell, Berkely Heath. Extant?

Horn Coffee House Doctors' Commons, 'to which a messenger was despatched from theFleet Prison for "a bottle or two of very good wine" to celebrate Mr. Winkle's visit to his old friend, was a well-known and frequented place of call at the time. It was situated actually in Carter Lane...' (Matz, p.184). Listed as a tavern in Popham.


Inn on Marlborough Downs (in 'The Bagman's Story') According to Matz, Charles G. Harper's book The Old Inns of Old England makesthis the 'Waggon and Horses' at Beckhampton (Matz, p.94).


Leather Bottle: Cobham, Kent - 'a clean and commodious village ale-house'. Popular haunt of Dickens. Extant?

A stout country lad opened a door at the end of the passage, and the three friends entered a long, low-roofed room, furnished with a large number of high-backed leather-cushioned chairs, of fantastic shapes, and embellished with a great variety of old portraits and roughly-coloured prints of some antiquity. At the upper end of the room was a table, with a white cloth upon it, well covered with a roast fowl, bacon, ale, and et ceteras...


Magpie and Stump Clare Market, London. 'There were, at the time, two taverns, either of which might have stood as the original for the "Magpie and Stump"; the "Old Black Jack" and the "George the Fourth," both in Portsmouth Street, and bothe were demolished in 1896. Which was the one Dickens had in mind it is difficult to say.' (Matz, p.166). Others have suggested Ye Olde Seven Stars in Carey Street off Chancery Lane as the original. (Popham, p.48).

This favoured tavern, sacred to the evening orgies of Mr Lowten and his companions, was what ordinary people would designate a public-house. That the landlord was a man of a money-making turn, was sufficiently testified by the fact of a small bulk-head beneath the tap-room window, in size and shape not unlike a sedan-chair, being underlet to a mender of shoes: and that he was a being of a philanthropic mind, was evident from the protection he afforded to a pie-man, who vended his delicacies without fear of interruption on the very door-step. In the lower windows, which were decorated with curtains of a saffron hue, dangled two or three printed cards, bearing reference to Devonshire cyder and Dantzic spruce, while a large black board, announcing in white letters to an enlightened public that there were 500,000 barrels of double stout in the cellars of the establishment, left the mind in a state of not unpleasing doubt and uncertainty as to the precise direction in the bowels of the earth, in which this mighty cavern might be supposed to extend. When we add, that the weather-beaten sign-board bore the half-obliterated semblance of a magpie intently eyeing a crooked streak of brown paint, which the neighbours had been taught from infancy to consider as the 'stump,' we have said all that need he said of the exterior of the edifice.


Marquis of Granby Near Dorking, Surrey. Run by Mrs Weller, Mr Weller the elder's wife, Sam's 'mother in law.' 'John Manners, Marquess of Granby (1721-1770), was a general during the Seven Years' War (1776-63) whose contemporary fame and popularity was commemorated by the large number of English inns and pubs named after him.' (Note 7 to p.200). The fate of this pub within the the main body of the novel mirrors that of the 'The Bagman's Story'. No identification. 'There were, however, two inns at Dorking, the "King's Head" and the "King's Arms," over which speculation has been rife as to which was the original of the inn so favoured by the Revd. Mr. Stiggins. Of the two, perhaps, the latter, still existing, seems to fit Dickens's description best.' (Matz, p.71).

The Marquis of Granby in Mrs Weller's time was quite a model of a road-side public-house of the better class - just large enough to be convenient, and small enough to be snug. On the opposite side of the road was a large sign-board on a high post, representing the head and shoulders of a gentleman with an apoplectic countenance, in a red coat with deep blue facings, and a touch of the same blue over his three-cornered hat, for a sky. Over that again were a pair of flags; beneath the last button of his coat were a couple of cannon; and the whole formed an expressive and undoubted like- ness of the Marquis of Granby of glorious memory.

The bar window displayed a choice collection of geranium plants, and a well-dusted row of spirit phials. The open shutters bore a variety of golden inscriptions, eulogistic of good beds and neat wines; and the choice group of countrymen and hostlers lounging about the stable-door and horse- trough, afforded presumptive proof of the excellent quality of the ale and spirits which were sold within. Sam Weller paused, when he dismounted from the coach, to note all these little indications of a thriving business, with the eye of an experienced traveller; and having done so, stepped in at once, highly satisfied with everything he had observed.

‘Now, then!' said a shrill female voice the instant Sam thrust his head in at the door, ‘what do you want, young man?'

Sam looked round in the direction whence the voice proceeded. It came from a rather stout lady of comfortable appearance, who was seated beside the fire-place in the bar, blowing the fire to make the kettle boil for tea. She was not alone; for on the other side of the fire-place, sitting bolt upright in a high-backed chair, was a man in thread-bare black clothes, with a back almost as long and stiff as that of the chair itself, who caught Sam's most particular and especial attention at once.


Old Royal Hotel Birmingham. Dickens normally stayed here when he visited Birmingham. 'Attached to it were large assembly and concert rooms, erected in 1772 by Tontine. It was known as the Hotel, the distinctive appellation of 'Royal' being prefixed in conseqyence of a member of the royal family who took up his residence there for a time.' (Matz, p.206).

Peacock Eatanswill. Tupman and Snodgrass stay there. 'Taking but little interest in public affairs, they beguiled their time chiefly with such amusements as the Peacock afforded, which were limited to a bagatelle-board in the first floor, and a sequestered skittle-ground in the back yard.' (Chapter 13). If Eatanswill is Sudbury, Suffolk, then the original of the Peacock is 'The Swan'.

Most people know what sort of places commercial rooms usually are. That of the Peacock differed in no material respect from the generality of such apartments; that is to say, it was a large bare-looking room, the furniture of which had no doubt been better when it was newer, with a spacious table in the centre, and a variety of smaller dittos in the corners: an extensive assortment of variously shaped chairs, and an old Turkey carpet, bearing about the same relative proportion to the size of the room, as a lady's pocket- handkerchief might to the floor of a watch-box. The walls were garnished with one or two large maps; and several weather-beaten rough great coats, with complicated capes, dangled from a long row of pegs in one corner. Ale mantelshelf was ornamented with a wooden inkstand, containing one stump of a pen and half a wafer: a road-book and directory. a county history minus the cover. and the mortal remains of a trout in a glass coffin. The atmosphere was redolent of tobacco-smoke, the fumes of which had communicated a rather dingy hue to the whole room, and more especially to the dusty red curtains which shaded the windows. On the sideboard a variety of miscellaneous articles were huddled together, the most conspicuous of which were some very cloudy fish-sauce cruets, a couple of driving-boxes', two or three whips, and as many travelling shawls, a tray of knives and forks, and the mustard. Here it was that Mr Tupman and Mr Snodgrass were seated on the evening after the conclusion of the election, with several other temporary inmates of the house, smoking and drinking.


Public House (opposite the Insolvent Debtors' Court) This is where Mr. Weller meets Solomon Pell. Matz identifies it as the 'Horse and Groom' 'that once stood in Portugal Street'. Sam sings 'Bold Turpin'.

Saracen's Head Bath. 'The candles were brought, the fire was stirred up, and a fresh log of wood thrown on. In ten minutes' time, a waiter was laying the cloth for dinner, the curtains were drawn, the fire was blazing brightly, and everything looked (as everything always does, in all decent English inns) as if the travellers had been expected, and their comforts prepared, for days beforehand.' Dickens was acquainted with the place when touring in 1835 (Matz, p.176)

Sarjeants' Inn Coffee House Off Fleet Street. Mr. Weller and Solomon Pell stop off here on their way to deliver the affidavit for Sam's arrest to Fleet Prison. 'When Sarjeants' Inn was rebuilt in 1838 the coffee house referred to ended its existence' (Matz, p.183).

Spaniards Hampstead. Mrs Bardell's tea party is here. Extant.

Towns Arms Inn Chapter 13. Large inn; 1st place met with on arriving at Eatanswill. Full, due to the election. Central office for the Blues. If Eatanswill is Sudbury in Suffolk, then the original would be the 'Town Arms'.

White Hart Hotel Bath, 'opposite the great Pump room'. Pickwick et al arrive here. Sam has a slight problem with the owner's name, 'Moses Pickwick', and he is the man from whom Dickens originally got the name for his character.

White Hart Inn Borough (Southwark). Jingle and Miss Wardle are finally cornered here. '...in days gone by, ... one of the most famous of the many famous inns that then stood in the borough of Southwark.

It was in the yard of one of these inns - of no less celebrated a one than the White Hart - that a man was busily employed in brushing the dirt off a pair of boots, early on the morning succeeding the events narrated in the last chapter. He was habited in a coarse-striped waistcoat, with black calico sleeves, and blue glass buttons; drab breeches and leggings. A bright red handkerchief was wound in a very loose and unstudied style round his neck, and an old white hat was carelessly thrown on one side of his head. There were two rows of boots before him, one cleaned and the other dirty, and at every addition he made to the clean row, he paused from his work, and contemplated its results with evident satisfaction. The yard presented none of that bustle and activity which are the usual characteristics of a large coach inn. Three or four lumbering waggons, each with a pile of goods beneath its ample canopy, about the height of the second-floor window of an ordinary house, were stowed away beneath a lofty roof which extended over one end of the yard; and another, which was probably to commence its journey that morning, was drawn out into the open space. A double tier of bed-room galleries, with old clumsy balustrades, ran round two sides of the straggling area, and a double row of bells to correspond, sheltered from the weather by a little sloping roof, hung over the door leading to the bar and coffee-room. Two or three gigs and chaise-carts were wheeled up under different little sheds and pent-houses; and the occasional heavy tread of a cart- horse, or rattling of a chain at the further end of the yard, announced to anybody who cared about the matter, that the stable lay in that direction. When we add that a few boys in smock frocks were lying asleep on heavy packages, woolpacks, and other articles that were scattered about on heaps of straw, we have described as fully as need be the general appearance of the yard of the White Hart Inn, High Street, Borough, on the particular morning in question. A loud ringing of one of the bells, was followed by the appearance of a smart chambermaid in the upper sleeping gallery, who, after tapping at one of the doors, and receiving a request from within, called over the balustrades ...


Whitehorse Cellar 'An inn in Piccadilly, on the site of the present Ritz Hotel, at which coaches for the West of England called on their way from the City.' (Note 1 to p.578)

The travellers' room at the White Horse Cellar is of course uncomfortable; it would be no travellers' room if it were not. It is the right-hand parlour, into which an aspiring kitchen fire-place appears to have walked, accompanied by a rebellious poker, tongs, and shovel. It is divided into boxes, for the solitary confinement of travellers, and is furnished with a clock, a looking-glass, and a live waiter: which latter article is kept in a small kennel for washing glasses, in a corner of the apartment.

Also mentioned in Bleak House.


'Wright's next house' Rochester. Where Mr Jingle is staying (the Pickwickians stay at The Bull). '...there was such an hotel at the time, the owner's name of which was Wright. It was a few doors away, but was actually the next public-house, which, of course, was what was meant.' / Its original name was the "Crown," but in 1836 the said Wright, on becoming proprietor, altered the name it then bore to that of his own.' (Matz, p.30). Supposedly visited by Queen Elizabeth and Hogarth and friends. 'It claimed to have been built in 1390, and was then owned by Simon Potyn, who was several times member of Parliament for the city.' (Matz, pp.30-1). See also Edwin Drood.