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Mitre Tavern, Mitre court, Fleet street, St Dunstan in West EC4

St Dunstan in West pub history Index

MITRE TAVERN, the house of so many interesting associations, was situated at No. 39, Fleet Street, upon part of the site of the present banking house of Messrs. Hoare. It dated back to the time of Shakespeare, for Thorpe, the bookseller, marked lot 4,272 in his catalogue of MSS. a volume of poems by Richard Jackson, a poet contemporary with immortal Will, fifty guineas. The verses were about 5,500 in number, beside prose, and of date 1625 or 1630. The first was headed “Shakespeare's Rime which he made at ye · Myter' in Flete strete,” being five seven line stanzas commencing " From ye Rich Lavinian Shoare," a portion only previously printed, “but,” adds Thorpe, “never hitherto been known to be by Shakespeare." The earliest notice of the tavern that I have met with is in the register of St. Dunstan's, May 10, 1613. “ William Hewitt from the 'Myter' was buryed ;” and in the following year I find John Hewitt and another, “neer Serjantes inne," presented for using false measure. The house was “ very much demolished and decaied in severall parts, and the Balcony was on fire and pulled downe" during the Great Fire. In the eighteenth century the “ Mitre" became the resort of Wanley, Vertue, Dr. Stukeley, Hawkesworth, Percy, Johnson, Boswell, Lord Stowell, and a host of other worthies. It was here the “ Tour to the Hebrides” was planned by Johnson and his biographer, who records how uneasy the great lexicographer was if he failed to pat encouragingly every post in Fleet Street between his lodgings and the tavern. Johnson and Boswell first dined here in June, 1763. It was here on July 6th following, at a supper given by Bozzy to the Doctor, and Goldsmith, Davies, the bookseller, Mr. Eccles, and the Rev. John Ogilvie, that Johnson, who hated the Scotch, launched out into the most severe “ table talk " ever indulged in against them. “But, Sir," said he to Mr. Ogilvie. “ let me tell you the noblest prospect which a Scotchman ever sees is the high road that leads him to England !" At the “ Mitre,” *1728-53, met the Society of Antiquaries, after making ineffectual attempts to purchase a piece of ground at Whitefriars. And here at the same time, though not the same hour, met the Royal Society. Here, April 3rd, 1733, Thomas Tophom, “ the strong man,” rolled up with his hands a pewter dish, four feet ten inches diameter, in the presence of eight persons, the “Mitre" being then kept by John Innocent, whose name first appears in the parish books 1714, and who was one of the Common Council 1727-36. In 1788 the tavern ceased to exist, and the house became Macklin's “ Poet's Gallery,” subsequently Saunder's Auction Rooms, and finally pulled down by Messrs. Hoare for their banking house in 1829. The present “ Mitre Tavern" in Mitre Court was in the last century known as “ Joe's Coffee House." “

This pub was present by 1610 and originally had the address 37 Fleet Street. It was demolished in 1829 to accommodate an extension of Hoare's Bank. At this time a replacement, smaller Mitre was built to the rear of the former inn - the address now becoming Mitre Court, Fleet Street. By 1983 the pub was renamed the Clachan, and in 2005 it was further renamed Serjeants. This pub closed in 2007 and the premises are currently empty.  **

Named the Hope Tavern in the 1806 listing.

A listing of historical London public houses, Taverns, Inns, Beer Houses and Hotels in St Dunstan in West, City of London.

The Mitre Tavern & Coffee house, Fleet Street

The Mitre Tavern & Coffee house, Fleet Street

Both Kindly provided by David Till

the blue plaque marking the site of the original inn. - in September 2008

the blue plaque marking the site of the original inn. - in September 2008

Mitre Inn, Mitre Court, Fleet Street, London, EC4 - now Serjeants in September 2008

Mitre Inn, Mitre Court, Fleet Street, London, EC4 - now Serjeants in September 2008

Both Kindly provided by Stephen Harris

Residents at this address

From my Londontaverns site is :

This was the true Johnsonian Mitre, so often referred to in Boswells Life ; but it has earlier fame. Here, in 1640, Lilly met Old Will Poole, the astrologer, then living in Ram-alley. The Royal Society Club dined at the Mitre from 1743 to 1750, the Society then meeting in Crane-court, nearly opposite. The Society of Antiquaries met some time at the Mitre. Dr. Macmichael, in The Gold-headed Cane, makes Dr. Radcliffe say : —
" I never recollect to have spent a more delightful evening than that at the Mitre Tavern, in Fleet-street, where my good friend Billy Nutly, who was indeed the better half of me, had been prevailed upon to accept of a small temporary assistance, and joined our party, the Earl of Denbigh, Lords Colepeper and Stowel, and Mr. Blackmore."

Johnson's Mitre is commonly thought to be the tavern with that sign, which still exists in Mitre-court, over against Fetter-lane; where is shown a cast of Nollekens' bust of Johnson, in confirmation of this house being his resort. Such was not the case ; Boswell distinctly states it to have been the Mitre Tavern in Fleet-street ; and the records by Lilly and the Royal Society, alike specify " in Fleet-street," which Mr. Burn, in his excellent account of the Beaufoy Tokens, explains was the house, No. 39, Fleet-street, that Macklin opened, in 1788, as the Poet's Gallery; and lastly, Saunders's auction-rooms. It was taken down to enlarge the site for Messrs. Hoares' new banking-house. The now Mitre Tavern, in Mitre-court, was originally called Joe's Coffee-house; and on the shutting up of the old Mitre, in Fleet-street, took its name ; this being four years after Johnson's death.

The Mitre was Dr. Johnson's favourite supper-house, the parties including Goldsmith, Percy, Hawkesworth, and Boswell ; there was planned the tour to the Hebrides. Johnson had a strange nervous feeling, which made him uneasy if he had not touched every post between the Mitre and his own lodgings. Johnson took Goldsmith to the Mitre, where Boswell and the Doctor had supped together in the previous month, when Boswell spoke of Goldsmith's u very loose, odd, scrambling kind of life," and Johnson defended him as one of our first men as an author, and a very worthy man ; — adding, " he has been loose in his principles, but he is coming right." Boswell was impatient of Goldsmith from the first hour of their acquaintance. Chamberlain Clarke, who died in 1831, aged 92, was the last surviving of Dr. Johnson's Mitre friends. Mr. William Scott, Lord Stowell, also frequented the Mitre.

Boswell has this remarkable passage respecting the house: — "We had a good supper, and port-wine, of which he (Johnson) sometimes drank a bottle. The orthodox high-church sound of The Mitre — the figure and manner of the celebrated Samuel Johnson — the extraordinary power and precision of his conversation, and the pride arising from finding myself admitted as his companion, produced a variety of sensations, and a pleasing elevation of mind, beyond what I had ever experienced."

1806/Mr Dawson, Hope Tavern, Mitre court, Fleet street/../../London Brewery 1806 customer for supplying the public with genuine malt liquor

1811/George Dawson, Mitre Tavern, Mitre court, Fleet street/../../Holdens Directory

12 June 1815/Insured: Thomas Butler, Joes Coffee House, Mitre Court Fleet Street, victualler/../../Sun Fire Insurance records at the LMA

The Manchester Lodge meets at the Hope and Mitre Tavern, Fleet street, London in 1817

1 November 1821/Insured: Joseph Barwick Joe's Coffee House Mitre Court Fleet Street victualler - Other property or occupiers: 1 Round Court/../../Sun Fire Insurance records at the LMA

1825/Henry William Lawton/../../../Pigot's Directory **

1829/H William Lawton, Hope & Mitre tavern, Mitre court, Fleet street/../../Robsons Directory

10 June 1829/Insured: George Strutton The Mitre Tavern Mitre Court Fleet Street tavern keeper/../../Sun Fire Insurance records at the LMA

1833-34/George Strutton, Mitre Tavern, Mitre court, Fleet street/../../../Pigot's Directory **

11 August 1831/Insured: The assignees of George Strutton of the Mitre Tavern, Mitre Court, Fleet Street, victualler/../../Sun Fire Insurance records at the LMA

29 December 1831/Insured: William Smith, The Mitre, Mitre Court, Fleet Street, victualler/../../Sun Fire Insurance records at the LMA

29 February 1832/Insured: William Smith, the Mitre, Mitre Court Fleet Street, victualler/../../Sun Fire Insurance records at the LMA

1836/Charles Gabriel Davey, Mitre Tavern and Coffee House, Mitre court, Fleet street/../../../Pigot's Directory **

1841/Richard Poole/../../../Post Office Directory **

1841/Richard Poole/Tavern Keeper/30/../Census
1841/Ann Poole/../25/Middlesex/Census
1841/Richard Poole/../9 months/Middlesex/Census
1841/Thomas Wythe/Independant/30/../Census
1841/Elizabeth Chaplin/Female Servant/25/../Census
1841/Sarah Point/Female Servant/30/../Census
1841/Elizabeth Alexander/Female Servant/35/Middlesex/Census
1841/Catherine Conroy/Female Servant//Scotland/Census
1841/Mary Logan/Female Servant/15/Middlesex/Census
1841/Robert Nicholson/Male Servant/15/Middlesex/Census
1841/James Horn/Male Servant/15/../Census

1842/Richard Poole/../../../Robsons Directory

1843/Richard Poole/../../../Kellys Directory

February 1847/Richard Poole/Outgoing Licensee/../../Era

February 1847/Joseph Gear/Incoming Licensee/../../Era

1851/Joseph Gear/../../../Kellys Directory

1851/Joseph Gear/Tavern Keeper/49/Marylebone, Middlesex/Census
1851/Fanny Gear/Wife/31/Rotherhithe/Census
1851/Joseph Lawson Whalley Gear/Son/4/Walworth, Surrey/Census
1851/Louisa Charney/Barmaid/26/Bath, Somerset/Census
1851/Bridget Quick/Cook/24/Tralee, Ireland/Census
1851/Katherine Lator/Housemaid/18/Kilmally/Census
1851/William Fapoe/Waiter/17/Pimlico/Census
1851/George Bolton/Waiter/19/City of London/Census

December 1851/Joseph Gear/ Outgoing Licensee /../../The Era

December 1851/James Price Mills/ Incoming Licensee /../../The Era

1856/James Price Mills/../../../Post Office Directory

1862/James Price Mills/../../../Post Office Directory **

1869/Frederick Hill/../../../Post Office Directory

1870/Frederick Hill/../../../Post Office Directory **

1871/William Hicken/Licensed Victualler/39/Ludlow, Shropshire/Census
1871/Elizabeth Hicken/Wife/38/Coventry, Warwickshire/Census
1871/Amelia Hicken/Daughter/19/Birmingham, Warwickshire/Census
1871/Jemima Truelove/Cook/27/Pimlico, Middlesex/Census
1871/Charlotte Wirzid/Housemaid/15/Millbank St Johns/Census

1874/R. Richardson, Mitre Tavern, 11 Mitre court, Fleet street, EC/../../London 1874 Licensed Victuallers and Hotel Keepers Directory

1876/Robert Richardson/../../../Post Office Directory **

1877/Robert Richardson/../../../Post Office Directory **

1878/Joseph Eaton/../../../Post Office Directory **

1880/Joseph Eaton/../../../Post Office Directory **

1881/George G Coursille/Tavern Manager/32/Soho, Middlesex/Census
1881/Eliza Coursille/Wife/24/Shoreditch, Middlesex/Census
1881/Harriet Schraver/Housemaid/24/Mile End, Middlesex/Census
1881/Ellen Kirby/Waiter/24/Stepney, Middlesex/Census
1881/Annie Palmer/Cook/24/Borough, Surrey/Census
1881/Susan Sarray/Barmaid/25/Hertford/Census
1881/Clarissa M Rave/Barmaid/24/Suffolk/Census

1882/Joseph Eaton/../../../Post Office Directory

1885/Joseph Eaton/../../../Post Office Directory **

I have been trying to put together the life of my great grand father, and trying to get information on the Clachan Public house, Sherborne Lane, EC4. This was the address when he was manager back In the year of  1908. after serving 21 years with them, so he must have started around 1887. ***

1893 Renamed the Clachan :

1893/Robert Francis Elphinstone Morison/../../../Post Office Directory **

1899/Robert Francis Elphinstone Morison/Clachan, Old Mitre Court/../../Post Office Directory

1900/Robert Renwick Lauder/../../../Post Office Directory **

1901/Alfred J Woodthorpe/Licensed Victualler Manager/35/Clerkenwell, London/Census
1901/Donald McKay/Barman/26/Scotland/Census
1901/Matilda Fuller/Barmaid/25/Red Hill, Surrey/Census
1901/Lizzie May/Barmaid/25/Hornsey, London/Census
1901/Annie Butler/Housemaid/17/Walham Green, London/Census

1902/Robert Renwick Lauder/../../../Post Office Directory **

1908/William Daniel Stewart/../../../Post Office Directory **

Colin Morgan Stewart (born 1879) is a younger brother of William Daniel Stewart (b1873) already associated with the Clachan in your notes. William Daniel is present at 11 Mitre Court in 1925 along with his widowed sister-in-law Rose Julia Stewart. *

1908 - 1911/Colin Morgan Stewart/../../../Electoral Rolls *

1910/Colin Morgan Stewart/Land Tax Valuation for the Clachan, Mitre Court £300/../../.. *

1910/William Daniel Stewart/../../../Post Office Directory

1911/Colin Morgan Stewart/Public House Manager/31/Edinburgh/Census *
1911/Morris Hutley/Barman/24/Midlothian/Census
1911/Rose Pankhurst/Barmaid/32/Camberwell/Census
1911/Hannah Rickwood/Cook/33/Hull, Yorkshire/Census
1911/Louisa Sophia Joyce/Kitchenmaid/19/Silvertown/Census

1915/William Daniel Stewart/../../../Post Office Directory **

December 1915/Colin Morgan Stewart Enlisted in Royal Fusiliers. Manager of Mitre Tavern - Clachan Mitre Court, Fleet Street, London. Identifies Rose Julia Pankhurst as next-of-kin. /../../../.. *

1916/Colin Morgan Stewart Married Rose Julia Pankhurst at St Dunstan in the Wall, London/../../../.. *

August 1916/Colin Morgan Stewart August 31st Transferred to Army Pay Corps on account of valvular heart disease fit only for Garrison Duty/../../../.. *

1917/William Daniel Stewart/../../../Post Office Directory **

March 1919/Colin Morgan Stewart recorded as casualty category B2/../../../.. *

March 1920/Colin Morgan Stewart Discharged as Corporal/../../../.. *

1920 March 22nd/The death took place on Saturday, after a brief illness, of Mr. Colin Morgan Stewart, who for the past 15 years had managed the Scottish establishment, "The Clachan". in Mitre Court. Fleet Street. Mr. Stewart, who was a native of Edinburgh, took a great interest in sports, and was an enthusiastic volunteer in pre-war days./The Times Newspaper *

1920/Record of death of Colin Morgan Stewart at 22 Manchester Street registered London Marylebone 1920-Q1 1a716. Probate for Colin Morgan Stewart who died March 20th 1920 names widow as Rose Julia Stewart née Pankhurst granted November 27th 1920/../../../.. *

Colin Morgan Stewart Buried Abney Park cemetery in same grave (133750) as wife (died 1956) and mother-in-law (died 1929). *

1927/../The Clachan, 1 Old Mitre Court/../../BT Telephone Directory

1934/William Daniel Stewart/../../../Kellys Directory

1937/../The Clachan, 1 Old Mitre Court/../../BT Telephone Directory

1938/William Daniel Stewart/../../../Post Office Directory

This pub was run by my Grandparents, Bertha and Harry Rothwell. After my Grandfather's death my Grandmother ran it on her own and remained open throughout the Second World War, despite many of the surrounding buildings being bombed. For this she was awarded the Freedom of the City of London. Her main customer base was the Fleet Street newspaper printers, which meant that she did not open on Sundays. *+

1941/../The Clachan, 1 Old Mitre Court/../../BT Telephone Directory

1944/Arthur Simmonds/../../../Post Office Directory

1946/../The Clachan, 1 Old Mitre Court/../../BT Telephone Directory

Whilst researching various London pubs I came upon the Clachan in Mitre Court off Fleet Street where I lived in 1956-7. My parents, Fred and Doris Till ran it in its’ old state and then it was rebuilt and we had to move to Chelsea but on the completion of the new pub they returned for some time but not as ‘live - in’ staff. The Clachan was always popular with the legal profession in the Inns of Court at the rear, and also with many Fleet Street journalists of the day. **+

Interestingly the deeds included fishing rights to the river Fleet. In the arch to Fleet Street were the offices of the Manchester Guardian and going out from it you could see down the road ‘Jack's Cafe; on the first floor further down the road - it was said to be site of ' Sweeney Todd’s barber shop’.**+

Also, my parents, Fred and Doris Till, managed the following :

1951 - 52 The Whittington Stone, N19 (later demolished and rebuilt further down Highgate Hill
1953 - 55 The Duke of Grafton, Euston Road.
1956 - 57 The Clachan, Mitre court, Fleet street
1956 - 57 The York Arms, Curzon Street, Mayfair (a branch of ‘Dirty Dick’s’
1958 - 64 The Red Lion, Great Windmill Street, Soho (meeting place for Karl Marx and friends).
1965 - 66 The New Red Lion, St. John Street, Clerkenwell.
1966- 71 The Red Lion, Soho again.

1971/../Clachan, Old Mitre Court EC4/../../BT Telephone Directory

1983/../Clachan, Old Mitre Court EC4, Scottish & Newcastle/../../Pub Directory

1991/../Clachan, Old Mitre Court EC4, Scottish & Newcastle/../../Pub Directory

* Provided By Mike Clifford

*+ Provided By Nick Rothwell

** Provided By Stephen Harris

**+ Provided By David Till

*** Provided By Fred Woodthorpe

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