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The Roan Horse, 2 Pollard Street, Bethnal Green E2

Bethnal Green pub history index

Existed from at least 1881.

Historical London public houses, Taverns, Inns, Beer Houses and Hotels.

Residents at this address.

1881/John Baker/Beer House Keeper/42/Bethnal Green, Middlesex/Census
1881/Eliza Baker/Wife/44/Whitechapel, Middlesex,/Census
1881/Charles W Rudge/Step Son, Barman/15/Bethnal Green, Middlesex/Census
1881/Eliza Baker/Daughter/2/Whitechapel, Middlesex,/Census
1881/John Jarvis/Lodger, Cab Driver/71/Shifnall, Shropshire/Census

1891/Harry Young/beer retailer/../../Post Office Directory *

1895/Arthur Everett/Beer Retailer/../../Post Office Directory

I am the grandson and the great grandson of one of the lessees of the Roan Horse Beer House.  It was located on the corner of Pollard's Street and Florida Street and finally ceased to be a public house around April of 1920 when the current lease expired. This date coincided with a general closure of pubs in London and throughout the country, following the end of the First World War. I believe about 20% plus were eventually closed. ***

The address at 6 Canrobert Street was where my grandmother was born in December 1887.

6 Canrobert Street  :
1891/James Ferry/Barman/44/Bethhnal Green/Census
1891/Sophia Ferry/Wife/38/Bethhnal Green/Census
1891/Sophia Ferry/Daughter/18/Bethhnal Green/Census
1891/James Ferry/Son/12/Bethhnal Green/Census
1891/Emily Ferry/Daughter/10/Bethhnal Green/Census
1891/Clara Ferry/Daughter/8/Bethhnal Green/Census
1891/George W Ferry/Son/5/Bethhnal Green/Census
1891/Florence Agnes Ferry/Daughter/3/Bethhnal Green/Census

My great grandfather, James Ferry, descendant of Huguenot ancestors and silk weavers, was born in Carter's Rents off Brick Lane, Spitalfields, in August 1847, and became the lessee of the Roan Horse on Lady Day (25th March) 1898, having taken out a 22 year lease. I know that he had served as the manager in at least one other pub, The Globe at Hoxton, prior to taking on the Roan Horse. He was a colourful character who, although only 5' 2" tall, had been a bare fist fighter in his early years in the 1860s; indeed, the Ferry family was connected with and involved in boxing up to the 1950s, my great uncle, Ted Ferry, being on the committee of the Repton club (of which I have a photograph, somewhere) for some years and organising boxing tournaments in the York Hall, Bethnal Green.

One of Jim Ferry's older brothers, William Hugh Ferry, born in 1843, had started in the pub business in Bethnal Green in the 1870s and, at one time, had, so I was lead to believe, up to six or seven pubs in the area (he later added a cabinet maker's factory at the bottom of City Road to his businesses). It was from Bill Ferry that the idea came for my great grandfather to take on a pub of his own. ***

'Jim' Ferry died in June 1915, a year after his wife, Sophie. The pub passed to his daughter, my grandmother, Florence Agnes Toone (nee Ferry) and her husband, Thomas William Toone. My grandfather, who had just passed the sergeant's promotion examination in the Metropolitan Police, had to resign, because, by Police regulations, he was forbidden to be married to a licensee. He, in fact, became the named licensee until, at the end of 1916, he was carted off to be in the West Surrey Regiment (Queen's Regiment) during the First World War. My grandmother then became the named licensee and remained so until my grandfather returned from the Allied occupation of Germany in the spring of 1919. Following the closure of the Roan Horse, the family remained in the building until they had to move out during the summer of 1920. My grandfather worked for a while as the manager at the Camden's Head in Bethnal Green Road, before moving on to other work. ***

Just one story about Jim Ferry at the Roan Horse. Because of his involvement in the 'fight game', he was very well known in Bethnal Green. Indeed the Ferry family, as such, had, at one time, over a hundred members of the family living in the area. Anyway, one day around the turn of the last century he was approached by a 'villain' he knew well and was given the tip-off that an un-named pair of thugs were planning to break into the pub that night. Undaunted my great grandfather sent his wife and family out of the place and decided to surprise the would-be burglars. It later transpired that the same man who had warned my great grandfather, also tipped the wink to the thieves. As a result, and knowing Jim Ferry's reputation for being a tough old bird, they decided to give the Roan Horse a miss. They never knew how lucky they were - my great grandfather had been sitting all night with a loaded, pearl handled Colt revolver in his lap - and he would have used it. I think they would have been VERY surprised!!

The Roan Horse survived the blitz and was still standing in the late 1950s early 1960s, complete with a horse etched in the glass of what had been the main door, and was being used as a cabinet maker's workshop. The area was demolished in the very late 60s and by 1971, when I took photos of parts of Bethnal Green, it was all gone.

1899/James Ferry/Beer Retailer/../../Post Office Directory ***

1901/James Ferry/Publian/53/Spitalfields, London/Census
1901/Sophia Ferry/Wife/48/Bethnal Green, London/Census
1901/James Ferry/Son, Barman/22/Bethnal Green, London/Census
1901/Emily Ferry/Daughter, Upholstery Trimmer/20/Bethnal Green, London/Census
1901/Clara Ferry/Daughter, Upholstery Trimmer/18/Bethnal Green, London/Census
1901/George William Ferry/Son, Cabinet Maker/16/Bethnal Green, London/Census
1901/Florence Ferry/Daughter/13/Bethnal Green, London/Census
1901/Edward John Ferry/Son/10/Bethnal Green, London/Census

1910/James Ferry/Beer Retailer/../../Post Office Directory ***

1911/James Ferry/Licensed Victualler/63/Bethnal Green/Census
1911/Sophia Ferry/Wife, Assistant/57/Bethnal Green/Census
1911/James Ferry/Son, Potman/32/Bethnal Green/Census
1911/Emily Ferry/Daughter, Servant and Cook/30/Bethnal Green/Census
1911/Edward J Ferry/Son, Labourer/20/Bethnal Green/Census

1915/James Ferry/Beer Retailer/../../Post Office Directory ***

* Provided by Ewan

*** Provided By Jim Toone

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