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MARYLEBONE HIGH STREET

Marylebone crawl map - for more detail click on map or press 1 to be taken to streetmap.co.uk

 

Pub

Time

 

 

Start

End

1

Prince Regent

 

 

2

Rising Sun

 

 

3

Marylebone Tup 

 

 

4

 

 

5

Angel in the field

 

 

6

O'Conor Don

 

 

7

 

 

8

 

 

 

Marylebone, Marylebone. The ‘Monopoly’ station you could never pronounce as a child (or was that just me?). Who was Mary? Where was she born? One thing, as usual, is for sure; only complete intoxication will bring us even close to the answers.

At the time of the Norman Conquest the area now known as Marylebone consisted of the manors of Lisson and Tyburn, the latter so called because of the stream flowing southwards towards the Thames, from Hampstead, through land owned by Barking Abbey. This Tyburn stream (from Teoburna - boundary stream) followed the line of Marylebone Lane.

Now, the abbey leased the land to a succession of owners and by the 14th century the area had become dangerous and violent, so much so that the parish church (situated in the modern Oxford Street) was robbed and a gallows was set up (near to what is Edgware Rd today).

Now, all this hanging around was too much for all the decent, god-fearing gentlefolk and so a new church was erected 1/2 mile away by the Tyburn thus giving a new name - St. Mary’s by the bourne which later compressed itself into Marylebone,as if = ‘Mary the Good’.

At the dissolution of the monasteries (1535-40), the land passed to the crown and the northern half of the region became a royal hunting park (now Regent’s park), the manor house opposite the church (at the ‘Marylebone Road’ end of the High St.) was converted into a hunting lodge by Henry VIII and large pleasure gardens were built behind it by 1650. Samuel Pepys visited them on 7th May 1668 and finding them "a pretty place...stayed till nine at night, and so home by moonlight".

There were dog-fights, cock-fights, bear- and bull-baitings and boxing matches, all live on Sky. They were patronised by all sorts (John Gay, in his Beggar’s Opera (1728) makes the gardens a haunt of a highwayman) and to stop this they were enlarged in 1738 and an entrance fee of 6d was charged to exclude, it was hoped, "persons of ill repute and all ‘Hooch’ drinkers".

The gardens were landscaped and to the south an orchestra played each evening. In 1739 halls were built for concerts, balls and promenading in wet weather and Thomas Arne, composer of ‘Rule Brittania’, conducted here in 1773. By then, the gardens had become famous for its fireworks and a medicinal spa was also established on the site.

A subsequent occupant of the manor, Edward Harley, Earl of Oxford, contributed a large number of manuscripts to the original collection of the British Museum and developed his estate, the majority of the streets taking the names, titles or estates of members of his family (e.g. Margaret, Henrietta, Harley, Portland, Wigmore, Wazzock). The manor then became a school for young gentlemen and was finally demolished in 1791 after an unruly pupil caused the staff to walk out. Marylebone gardens were built over in 1778 as the estate grew and houses were built up to the New Road (now Marylebone Road).

Marylebone High St, leading into Marylebone Lane today represent what is left of the nucleus of the old village. Surely the only way to experience the olde-worlde charm is through the medium of a pub crawl

The Prince Regent (Charrington)

Opposite the site of the old manor & gardens, an old-fashioned pub to start off with. If antique cheese dishes are your thing then this is the pub for you as they adorn a good deal of the place. The interior is prime Victoriana with huge statue lights at the corners of the ornate bar, an abundance of busts and enough paintings and prints to satisfy the Royal Academy. One large painting, in the corner, could be of a distant relation to a certain E. Cantona. An older crowd frequent the place but despite this MTV is on in the corner and there is a jelly bean dispenser on the bar. Bass and London Pride are there to slake your thirst

The Rising Sun (Taylor Walker)

Nothing antique about this pub, which has been refurbished to enable it to sell such delights as ‘Orangehead’ drink and the amazing ‘Elephant’ beer. A younger crowd enjoy a well-stocked jukebox and shout the occasional chant of "Millwall" while drinking a wide range of bottled beers and Pedigree and Tetley bitters. ‘K’ cider, on draught, may excite some.

On the way to the next pub cast your gaze across the road; No. 35, GLR today stands on the site of the Rose of Normandy, once the entrance to the aforementioned Marylebone Gardens and in the 19th century a music hall in its own right; one of the music hall lamps is still set in the pavement outside.

The Marylebone Tup (freehouse)

What is a ‘tup’? I can hear you wondering........Well, this is the Oxford Dictionary definition

Tup n. 1. Male sheep, ram. 2. Device acting by impact, as striking-face of steam-hammer etc.
~ v.t. Copulate with (ewe).

WHAT?! Ah! The pleasures of the rural life!

Now this is more like the pubs we’ve seen at the Angel; stripped wood floor, furniture and bar, large windows, mirrors, candles and ...no cheese dishes (damn!). Pedigree, Courage Directors, John Smiths extra smooth and a wide range of bottled beers help to enliven the predominantly 70s-80s music. There is a good wine list and maybe a glass of Chablis can be sipped whilst murmuring/salivating appreciatively at the paintings in the end room. I read somewhere that this is London’s first bring your own food pub; I’m just nipping across to the take-away...

The Angel in the Field (Sam Smiths)

On the corner of Marylebone High St., before it turns into Marylebone Lane, stands this cosy, busy pub with an open fire, Sky TV, a jukebox, and a dartboard in the corner. Sam Smith’s Sovereign and Old Brewery bitters, Ayingerbrau and Prinz lagers, Pernod Hex, Metz, Southern Comfort Sidecar, Bacardi Breeze...they’re all here. The bar sells all-day snacks and the upstairs lounge bar more substantial fare until 9. An abundance of wood panelling may prevent anyone getting plastered.

On the way to the final pub, we pass the Golden Hind fish bar, for fish and chips par excellence; good for takeaways and bring your own wine.

The O’Conor Don (Guinness)

Recently praised in the national press for the quality of the food in its restaurant, this Irish-style pub (you know, bare floorboards, Guinness ads everywhere, oirish bar food, red lemonade, fizzy beer only) has a good atmosphere with which to end the night. What better substance to soothe your abused belly than a creamy pint of the black stuff? Oh! Stop waffling, you old gobshite, before I issue a patwa on you.

Famous slurred words
"A population sodden with drink, steeped in vice, eaten up by every social and physical malady, these are the denizens of darkes England amidst whom my life has been spent.",
William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army.

"I’ve made it a rule never to drink by daylight and never to refuse a drink after dark.",
H. L. Mencken, US journalist.

"First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.",
F. Scott Fitzgerald.

"There’s nothing like drinking/ So pleasant on this side of the grave;/ It keeps the unhappy from thinking,/ And makes e’en the valiant more brave.",
Charles Dibdin, 17th century British actor.

And so once again, the ordeal is over. We have been blessed with the baptism of booze and are now all bourne-again imbibers. Mary, wherever she was from, would, I feel sure, wish us a safe journey home and a happy Christmas.

Aidan Laverty. November 1996