Cabbie’s Curios: Lovely Day for a Guinness on Fleet Street
Fleet Street is home to some of the capital’s most historic pubs- one of which is The Tipperary.
The spot upon which this wee pub sits is a location which has long been associated with boozing.
Way back in the 13th century, the land was occupied by the ‘White Friars’ monastery- where the pious monks spent considerable time and effort brewing ale.
After Henry VIII kicked up a fuss in the 1530s and 40s, such monasteries were wiped from the landscape and the land upon which they stood was turned over to other purposes.
By the 16th century, the first tavern had appeared on the spot now occupied by The Tipperary.
This forerunner was known as The Bolt-in-Tun (the pub sign outside signalling the name with an image of a lightning bolt stuck through a barrel) which, having been built from tough, flame-proof stones belonging to the former monastery, managed to survive the 1666 Great Fire of London intact.
The Bolt-in-Tun eventually became a popular coaching tavern for those traveling between London and the West Country.
In the 1880s, the pub was re-built and renamed The Boar’s Head.
However, a reminder of the previous name can still be found across the road- a small alley called ‘Bolt Court’.
Perhaps the most interesting fact for alcohol aficionados though is that the Bolt-in-Tun was purchased in the 1700s by Mooney’s– a Dublin based company.
Once the pub was in their hands, the new owners decided to introduce a new drink which had recently become popular back on the Emerald Isle… a sturdy, black stout, so rich in iron that it was said to be ‘good for you’… the drink was Guinness, and its introduction at the Bolt-in-Tun made the Fleet Street pub the first ever drinking den to sell the now world-famous drink outside of its native Ireland.
During World War One, what was essentially the capital’s first Irish pub attracted many young Irish soldiers as they passed through London.
Such was the popularity with the Irish squaddies who were a long way from home that the pub was re-christened The Tipperary… the name which remains to this day.