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Anchor Bankside

The Anchor Bankside is a pub in London, situated on south bank of The Thames next to the London bridge station .

History

This pub is where diarist Samuel Pepys saw the Great Fire of London in 1666. He wrote that he took refuge in "a little alehouse on bankside ... and there watched the fire grow". Another fire devastated the pub and it was rebuilt in 1676 and has since had additions over the centuries.

The Anchor has a late 18th-century front in brown brick. It is of two storeys and an attic and has a tiled roof with a dormer window behind the parapet. The main front has a three-light wood shop window with pilasters at the sides and hinged shutters. Above, on the first floor, is a shallow overhanging bay with double-hung sashes and glazing bars. On the flank (in Park Street) the windows have segmental heads, plain reveals and doublehung sashes with glazing bars; those on the ground floor have wood shutters. There is also a shop window of similar type to that on the main front.

The bar has plain dado panelling and a mantelpiece of late 18th century date. The back parlour has plain matchboarding of similar date with some later alterations.

In the first floor front room is an elliptical arched recess with panelled pilasters ornamented with sprays of corn. The panelling is mid-18th century but has been altered and added to in later years. The mantelpiece is plain and encloses an early 19th-century grate.

The house was damaged by enemy action during the last war but has since been repaired. It is often stated that the Anchor Tavern dates from the 17th century though both historical and architectural evidence point to a date during the last quarter of the 18th century. The ground on which the tavern stands has a long and tangled history and as it throws many interesting sidelights on the development of the neighbourhood it is given in some detail.

On the ground at the junction of Bankside and Park Street (formerly known as Bank End) there stood in the 15th and 16th centuries an inn called "the Castell upon the Hope" with a wharf, houses and four cottages. In 1479 they were in the possession of John Eierby, citizen and fishmonger of London, who died in 1500 leaving them to his wife, Elizabeth, with the proviso that after her death they were to be sold and the proceeds devoted to "deedes of almes and werkes of charite." The Castle was one of the Stewhouses of Bankside and in 1506 John Sandes, the occupier, was presented by the constables at the Court Leet of the Bishop of Winchester for keeping his house open on feast days and for allowing women to board there contrary to the regulations.

In 1559 Alexander Amcottes sold to Vincent Amcottes, citizen and fishmonger of London, his messuage called "the Castell on the hoope" with a wharf and houses and four cottages adjoining on the east and "Cellers, Sollers, Gardeyns, Pondes, hedges and dyches" abutting on the land formerly of William Owghtred, knight, "late apperteynyng to the Churche of Saynt margarettes" on the south and "extendeth in length from the kynges highewaye of olde tyme called the millwaye towardes the Easte unto the landes . . . sometyme of Sir Myles of Stapylton and Thomas Paterling and late belongyng to the churche of Saynte Margarettes . . . towardes the Weste."

Vincent Amcottes divided the property. The southern portion he sold in 1580 to Richard Spier. In the 17th century it was the subject of many lawsuits but in 1707 it was in the possession of Spier's great grandson who stated that two messuages and a dyehouse had been built thereon. It was bought by Ralph Thrale in 1739 and subsequently a watchhouse was built on part of it and the rest was used to widen Park Street.

The northern portion was sold by Vincent Amcottes in 1562 to John Cheyne whose son and heir, Henry, on 30th January, 1582/3, transferred it to John Drew under the description of "all those two messuages . . . called the gonne and the castle with twoe gardeins thereunto adjoyninge and all those twoe tenementes on theast side next adjoynynge to . . . the Castell and all the gardein plattes and voyd groundes on the backsides of the same . . . and . . . all the wharfe which is betwene the foresaid messuages . . . and the River . . . and . . . the stayers and landinge place . . . sometyme in the tenure . . . of John Smythe carpenter . . . and all those three messuages . . . with gardens . . . sometyme in the severall tenures of William Clement Taillor, John Roo Chaundeler and Peter Hardinge, Blacksmythe." The last three houses had then been divided into six. John Drew died in 1595. By his will he left 40s. to his tenants on Bankside to "make merry withall." His son John, who inherited the property, then known as Drew's Rents, got himself heavily in debt (perhaps by too much merry making) and had to sell his inheritance to James James, apothecary, to whom his son, another John, was apprenticed. There were then fourteen tenements in the rents.

James James died in 1689 and the property was sold by his legatee, James Coysh, to Walter Gibbons (ref. 123) who in 1725 sold it to Edmund Halsey. In 1764 Henry Thrale, who had obtained a lease of the premises from Halsey's executors, bought the freehold. Among the records of Barclay Perkins and Co., Ltd., is a note made just prior to this purchase stating that Mr. Edward Dodson had lived at the alehouse at the corner called the sign of the Castle for the previous seven or eight years. The premises were in a tumbledown state and in 1770 the ground was let on building lease to William Allen who undertook to spend £1,000 within the next five years in building "good and substantial" messuages or warehouses on the site. By 1787 when Robert Barclay and John Perkins bought the Anchor Brewery, Joseph Bickerton was the tenant of the dwelling house, warehouses, stables and wharf erected at Bank End by Allen.

The Anchor Tavern was therefore erected in 1770–75 by William Allen, though the first mention of it by its present name which has been found is in a list of recognisances for 1822. The Ferryman's Seat

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