West Ham marks my 100th station on the journey so far and seems quite a fitting stop to mark the milestone. Early on in the crawl, a friend of mine who worked for the Underground thought it would be one of the hardest stations to find a pub for.
West Ham first opened on the Metropolitan District Railway on 2nd June 1902. In 1999, there were major changes when the Jubilee Line extension arrived here and DLR services started in 2011. It is also served by c2c(it stands for capital to coast) services from Fenchurch Street to Southend. Amazingly, in the early 20th century the District Line used to run the occasional train to Southend, as shown on this iteration of the original Harry Beck map in 1933.
Architecturally, the station is very striking which is in keeping with all of those on the Jubilee Line extension. It also feels very spacious thanks to the future proofing of the designers. I quite like the station clock that towers over the platforms and surrounding areas. It seems like a kind of art deco homage to me.
The Pub: The Greyhound, 136 West Ham Lane, E15 4PT
My friend’s ominous predictions were backed up on Twitter – @LondonPubSearch even speculated it could be the bleakest spot on the trail overall. As predicted, there were no pubs particularly close to the station so we made the trek to The Greyhound, about 15 minutes walk from the station along Manor Road.
I have to say, from the outside, it all looked pretty grim. They were quite a few bald blokes smoking outside and I was wondering whether we would get in and find England flags hanging from every wall. To be fair to the place, it wasn’t half as bad as I had been expecting. We didn’t get the eyes following us around the room as we walked in. Neither did it feel like a fight was imminent at any point. Visiting in mid afternoon no doubt helped in that respect. The barmaid did have a deeper voice than me, but I suppose that is useful in her line of work!
Sadly there was no ale on tap, so we had to go for Kronenberg again. The pub itself is divided into two main rooms, one which is relatively small and has a pool table in it, the other of which makes up the main seating area. This area has a dart board, as well as an old piano in the corner. There is plenty of West Ham memorabilia on the wall, hardly surprising given the proximity to Upton Park. The walls are also decorated with a number of sombreros, which seemed slightly less obvious. Having just researched it now, I think it must be because the owners are Spanish. As well as showing the football, the pub also advertised live music gigs and karaoke nights.
While I can’t imagine myself coming back here again, it certainly isn’t the worst place I’ve been to so far. I probably wouldn’t recommend visiting on a West Ham matchday though…
(This pub has no website)