This is one of the most famous pubs in London. It dates from 1543, and was built as a simple tavern. In the seventeenth century it had a reputation as a meeting place for smugglers and villains, and became known as Devil’s Tavern.
It was burnt down in the eighteenth century, rebuilt and renamed the Prospect of Whitby, after a ship that was moored nearby. One notorious customer was Judge Jeffreys, the Hanging Judge, known for his harshness and in particular for his dealings with the ringleaders of the Monmouth Rebellion (1685) in their failed bid to overthrow Catholic King James II.
When James II fled to France, Lord Chief Justice Jeffreys tried to follow but was caught whilst hiding in a coal cellar at the tavern dressed as a coal-heaver. He was taken to the Tower where he became ill and died. A hangman’s noose swings over the river, a reminder of those times.
The main bar has a flagstone floor, the long bar counter is built on barrels and has a rare pewter top. The upright pillars appear to be sections of a ship’s mast.
Opening hours: Mon to Sat: 12 midday – 11 pm, Sunday: 12 midday – 10.30 pm
Map and Street Views
Nearest underground station: Wapping