A Drinking History of Clerkenwell
This walk explores Clerkenwell, historically a place of gin and beer production. Hear how the abundance of fresh water in the area shaped the area firstly with the religious settlements and later with distilleries and breweries.
With Smithfield Market on its doorstep Clerkenwell was once full of pubs along St John Street; many of the pubs may have gone but the buildings and stories remain.
Apart from the well known story of the pub that has a pawnbroker’s licence we will also hear about the pub landlord who moonlighted as a highwayman, the pub where both inquests and dog shows took place and the pub that became a notorious theatre. We will hear about the connection between gin and cricket and the squalid conditions that prompted a large consumption of gin by the inhabitants. Part of Clerkenwell’s history is reflected in one pub name that has been repeated at various establishments throughout the centuries. Hear why the current pub with this name is not quite what it seems.
We also pass by a very unusual olive oil shop – see photo below.