Greenford

Greenford first opened on 30th June 1947 on the Central Line. There had already been a mainline station here since 1904. Rail services still call here today but it is now the terminus of the short Greenford Branch which diverges from the main Great Western route at West Ealing.

The station also had the last remaining wooden escalator on the Underground network – these had previously been commonplace but were swiftly phased out following the Kings Cross fire in 1987. The escalator was finally replaced in 2014.  This also saw the introduction of step-free access at the station via an ‘incline lift’ – the first lift of its kind at any UK station. As the name suggests, it travels at an incline – here is a video of it in all its glory.

 The Pub: The Black Horse, 425 Oldfield Lane North, UB6 0AS

The area around the tube station is mainly populated with industrial estates and other businesses so didn’t look massively promising on the pub front. However I was given a decent recommendation here so we headed up Oldfield Lane North to The Black Horse, which backs onto the Grand Union Canal. It was definitely a surprise so see a traditional looking pub after all the grey, weathered buildings we passed on the journey here.

Inside, it’s a spacious pub set over two levels with wooden floorboards and a timber beamed ceilings. There are nice comfy leather seats dotted around the place. It’s a Fullers pub so has their usual range of ales, Pride, Seafarers and the like. It was fairly busy on our Sunday afternoon visit with plenty here enjoying Sunday lunch. The menu here is mainly made up of pub classics – I had a very hearty portion of Gammon, Egg and Chips for £10 – other dishes are also around this price range.

They have a Sky/BT sports licence here but as no games were on, the TVs were just showing Sky News. The pub also has a dart board, table football and my old favourite, a quiz machine. They also have a quiz night on Thursday and live music on Saturdays. The Black Horse also has a large canalside garden which am sure is a top spot for a drink in the Summer.

As I said, I thought it would be another pub desert round there so The Black Horse was a very welcome find. It’s definitely worth a visit if you’re based nearby, especially if you compare it with The Myllet Arms in Perivale!

Visit their website  Follow them on Twitter

Perivale

Perivale first opened on 30th June 1947 as part of the Central Line extension to West Ruislip. Its another example of an impressive Charles Holden design, this time with a striking curved frontage. It was due to have a tower attached(I assume like other stations designed by Holden on the Piccadilly Line) but this never materialised.  The station building was Grade II listed in 2011.   With some of its window panels missing, it looks as if it could do with some refurbishment.

The Pub: The Myllet Arms, Western Avenue, UB6 8TE

It’s very suburban around the tube station so there isn’t much by the way of pubs. To reach the only real pub round here,  head down Horsenden Lane South till you reach the busy A40. The pub, The Myllet Arms, is on the other side of the A40, and can be reached by using the fly-over – you certainly couldn’t cross that massive road.  Crossing that fly-over, I could see The Shard as a small dot in the distance, another reminder of how far out it is here!

The Mylett Arms is a Wacky Warehouse – a pub which is marketed as ‘family friendly’ and with facilities for kids. These and similar chains were very big in the 1990s but are now much rarer given that the majority of pubs welcome kids. It certainly felt strange to come to a pub with one of those ‘grabber’ machines you expect to find in an arcade or a soft drink dispenser you’d usually see at a Pizza Hut.There wasn’t much of an atmosphere here on our Sunday afternoon visit.  The decor is pretty standard with generic ‘London’ photos on the wall such as red phone boxes and Big Ben.

The majority of the clientele here were families, but it all seemed rather subdued on our Sunday afternoon visit. The Mylett Arms also has a sizeable back garden, but given it pretty much backs onto the busy A40, its not the most picturesque spot! There was supposed to be one ale on tap here, Greene King IPA, but that turned out to be off when I tried to order it. A couple of lagers I then tried to get also were off too so we ended up with a pint of Stella! As you might expect, the food menu is pretty basic pub grub, with a kids and even a ‘tot club’ menu….

With such limited options round here, if you had to have a drink in Perivale,  The Mylett Arms. However its rather soulless vibe and proximity to the grimness that is the A40 would make me advise against visiting here unless you really have to! Coming here is a good reminder of how lucky parents are these days that so many more pubs are family friendly so they don’t have to go to places like this by default..

Visit their website

Hanger Lane

Going from one end of the Central Line to another,  I move on to Hanger Lane towards its western fringes. It first opened on 30th April 1947 as part of the extension toward West Ruislip.  The station has an impressive circular ticket hall, this looks particularly striking when illuminated at night.

Location wise, the station feels to me much akin to something you’d find in the US where you are plonked on the outskirts of a city to pick up your car. Its located at the epicentre of the Hanger Lane gyratory system, a busy roundabout connecting major roads such as the A40 and the North Circular.

The Pub: The Fox and Goose Hotel, Hanger Lane, W5 1DP

Exiting the station, you are presented with a variety of different subway options to take to cross underneath the busy roads. There are plenty of hotels based around here and a board in the station tells you the best subway for your location. As The Fox and Goose is listed on there, follow their directions – it is also mentioned on the various wayfinder signs. These concrete underpasses with greenery trying to survive around it all felt pretty ’80s to me. There are plenty of houses backing onto the massive roads here and I do feel for the people living there as the traffic noise must be relentless. Because of its motorway-esque feel,  I was semi-surprised to find a pub round here.

The Fox and Goose is a pub/hotel with 73 rooms. Parts of the pub date back to 1830.  Inside, it’s pretty spacious and divided into two rooms, a cosy area around the main bar and a significantly larger side room backing onto the garden. It felt quite traditional with wood panelling and floorboards. There are interesting photos on the walls of what the area looked like before the big roads cut through it. The pub has quite a musical history, the Ealing Jazz Club took place here on Friday Nights in the 1950s and The Who played here while still known as ‘The Detours’. The same website lists there used to be a skittle alley here which is now a conference room.

It’s a Fullers pub so had their standard range of ales – Pride, Olivers Island and the like. The food menu is primarily pub classics, priced slightly towards the higher end of the scale(£12.5o for a number of mains), but the portions did look hearty mind you.  There were a decent amount of people here when we visited on a Saturday evening – the pub has a Sky Sports licence and quite a few people here were watching another Chelsea defeat at the tail end of Mourinho’s reign. While a few were guests staying at the hotel, a good proportion seemed to regulars.

Overall I found The Fox and Goose to be a good solid pub. On reflection, I think it’s quite reassuring that a pub still survives here despite the massive roads which have cut through the local communities.

Visit their website Follow them on Twitter

 

 

Leytonstone

Leytonstone first joined the tube network on 5th May 1947, acting as the temporary eastern terminus of the Central Line. The rail station here first opened in 1858 and was operated by the London and North Eastern railway when the route was transferred across to the Underground as part of the ‘New Works’ programme.

While the station isn’t particularly interesting from an architectural perspective, there is still something worth looking out of the shape of a series mosaics commemorating Alfred Hitchcock, who was born in Leytonstone and his many memorable films including ‘The Birds’ and ‘Vertigo’.

The Pub: The North Star, 24 Browning Road, E11 3AR

The North Star is just under a 10minute walk from the station. Exit the station onto Church Lane, continuing on here until reaching Leytonstone High Road. Carry on along up the road until reaching Browning Road where the pub is located.  The road itself is a picturesque conservation area, made up of terraced cottages. The pub itself dates backs to 1858.

Inside, The North Star is homely, welcoming East London pub. It feels very traditional with old adverts on the wall(including one for Pears Soap), photos of the area in days gone by as well as lots of paintings of trains. It had a solid few ales available on our visit, including Foundation Bitter and the fantastically named ‘Cow Catcher’ from the nearby East London Brewery, as well as one of my favourites, Tribute.

On the food front, things start to get interesting. The North Star has Thai food available. On top of that, there is also a full Pizza menu,13 to choose from, courtesy of ‘Muga Pizzas’ and their wood-fired oven in the back garden. I went for a Pepperoni Pizza which was huge, tasty and less than a tenner. Muga Pizzas used to be based elsewhere in the area and have only recently relocated to the North Star.

It feels like a pub rooted in its local community and most of the people here on our Saturday afternoon visit seemed to know each other. The TV was on showing BBC Final Score(which in itself feels more traditional than Soccer Saturday!) and there is also a dart board, quizzes and live music.

The North Star is definitely one of my favourites on the trail so far and especially in this part of London. A proper East London pub which I hope remains this way for many years to come!

(The pub has no website)

Leyton

Leyton joined the tube network and Central Line on 5th April 1947, transferring across from the London and North Eastern Railway.  The station here first opened back on 22nd October 1856 as “Low Leyton”, gaining its present name in 1868.

The majority of station buildings here date from its time as a rail station, with Victorian-era platform shelters. The ticket hall is much more modern and non-descript.  The station is very close to a section of the controversial M11 link road, which in turn saw the demolition of some older station structures here.

The Pub: Leyton Technical, 265B Leyton High Road, E10 5QN

The Leyton Technical just under five minutes walk from the tube.  Head out of the station and walk North on Leyton High Road.  The Leyton Technical is based in Leyton Old Town Hall, so its easy to spot as it’s such an impressive and imposing Grade II listed building. Part of the complex also housed a Technical Institute, which gives the pub its name.

Inside, a number of heritage features have been maintained and preserved including a tiled mosaic floor and lavish chandeliers by the main bar. Overall it retains somewhat of a grand aura. As an Antic pub it also has a number of their usual hallmarks including slightly ‘weathered’ furniture and eclectic trinkets(such as antlers!) and old paintings on the wall. There is even an old Piano near the door, but I’d guess it may have been awhile since its seen active service! As well as the main area around the bar, there is also a side room as well as plenty of cosy nooks to relax in.

Beer wise, the Technical had a good selection with Tim Taylor’s Landlord and a number from Sambrooks brewery including Junction and Battersea Rye which I hadn’t seen before. The menu consists of solid pub grub such as Sausage and Mash, Fish and Chips and the like. As we visited on a Saturday afternoon, brunch was also on the menu.

The Technical advertised having regular quiz and comedy nights too. It also opens till 1am at the weekend with live DJs. I was immediately impressed upon coming in here as they were playing a Rick James song which I thought made for a good atmosphere. It was pretty busy on the Saturday afternoon we dropped in with a mix of people with their kids to others just enjoying a weekend pint.

I really liked the Leyton Technical. It’s great to see pubs open up in slightly more unusual buildings, especially where historic elements of the building are preserved as they have been here. On top of that, it’s got a good atmosphere and strong ale selection. I’d highly recommend heading along the Central Line at least once to check the Technical out.

Visit their website Follow them on Twitter

Stratford

Stratford joined the Underground Network on 4th December 1946 as part of the eastwards extension of the Central Line but the mainline rail station here first opened way back in 1839.  These days, there isn’t much here that feels like it was built before 1989, let alone 1839.  It was extensively rebuilt ahead of the 2012 Olympics and the main ticket hall which seems like an Airport Terminal with its sweeping roof and glass frontage.

Its role as a major transport interchange has been cemented in the last 30 years by the arrival of the DLR in 1987 and the Jubilee Line in 1999. More recently the station has also benefitted from the renaissance experienced by the old North London Line as part of the London Overground in 2007 and the opening of ‘Stratford International’ on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link in 2009. At present, only domestic high speed services call here so that name remains a bit of a misnomer. On top of all that, the station will also be served by Crossrail from 2019.

The Pub: King Edward VII, 47 Broadway, E15 4BQ

Stratford has changed so much over the last 10 years, the 2012 Olympics brought massive investment to the area, accompanied by the Westfield Shopping Centre which opened in 2011. At present, its a bit of a curious mix of these new developments and the post-war and remaining Victorian buildings that were here prior to that major cash injection. I suspect the modernisation process will be further accelerated when Crossrail opens.

The Pub can be reached via leaving the station at the Town Centre exit  and going through the Stratford Centre, the shopping mall here pre the Westfield which still soldiers on despite being in the shadow of that retail juggernaut, and crossing the road to reach The Broadway. The pub is distinctive for having fewer stories than its neighbouring buildings.

Inside, it felt both quiet and sparse on our Saturday afternoon visit. The decor is fairly traditional with wood panelling and floor boards but with not too much else of interest. As well as the main front area, there are also two sizable side rooms, only one of which seemed to be open when we dropped in, so its actually a fairly big pub despite looking rather small from the street.

Ale wise, there were a couple available on tap including Summer Lightning, Blond Witch and Mad Goose. Sadly the Doombar was off!  The food menu consists of standard pub staples – Sausage and Mash, Lasagne, Fish and Chips etc, all priced around £10.50. Regular evenings here include Open Mic Nights on Thursdays and a Quiz on Sundays.

I found the King Edward VII a little underwhelming. It wasn’t that it was an unpleasant place to drink, it just didn’t feel particularly memorable for me for whatever reason. Maybe I caught it on a bad day but it certainly felt like it was missing something. It’s a perfectly acceptable place to grab a quick pint but I wouldn’t go out of my way to go here.

Visit their website

 

Bethnal Green

Bethnal Green opened on 4th December 1946, the first stop on the eastwards extension of the Central Line.  The station has no buildings at street level. The platforms have the familiar tiling seen elsewhere on other stations built or rebuilt around this period, including the Harold Stabler tiles previously encountered at stations such as Aldgate East.

Three years before it opened, the station was the site of a tragedy during war time. The tunnels for the Central Line extension were mostly complete at the onset of the blitz in 1940 which saw the facilities transferred over to the local authority and was used as an air raid shelter. On 3rd March 1943, a woman and a child tripped near the foot of the staircase, resulting in others falling which led to a crush that saw 173 people die – this is believed to be the largest lost of civilian life in a single incident in the UK in World War Two. As this disaster happened during wartime, the reasons behind it were effectively covered up and any Government culpability for failing to make requested improvements to the stairwell. A modern memorial, ‘The Stairway to Heaven’ is being built outside the station and is currently two thirds completed with fundraising ongoing to complete the structure.

The Pub: The Camel, 277 Globe Road, E2 0JD

The Camel is about a five minute walk from the station. Head along Roman Road, turning onto Victoria Park Square. Walk up here until reaching Sugar Loaf Walk, a small paved alley which leads to The Camel. The scene of the pub with its lovely old tiled frontage opposite the grand old Victorian school building felt to me evocative of ‘Old London.’

The first thing you’ll spot about The Camel is its lovely old tiled frontage. Inside its a fairly compact one room pub. The decor is a mix of the traditional the contemporary with the wooden floor boards and wall panelling contrasted with the vivid rose patterned wall paper. There are also plenty of plants dotted around keeping the place colourful. It has also a small outside seating area in the alley outside, backing onto a small green.

It was mildly busy on the Saturday afternoon we visited with a friendly, welcoming atmosphere. With its large selection of board games, it felt very much like somewhere you could happily while away an afternoon in. There is one TV here which was showing athletics unobtrusively in the background.

The Camel had four ales on tap on our visit, Broadside, Wild Hop, Wandle and the ever-reliable Tribute. Food wise, its known for its excellent pies with plenty of options available for both veggies(wild mushroom and asparagus) and meat lovers alike. Sadly I didn’t have the opportunity to try any of them out this time!

The Camel is a top East London boozer which retains its traditional character and charm. I really liked it here and would say its definitely worth making that short hop out of Central London to visit.

Visit their website Follow them on Twitter