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
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.
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).
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.
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.
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
Great White Horse Ipswich.
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
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.'
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).
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).
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
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.
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