The Prospect of Whitby, Wapping
The Prospect of Whitby is a historic public house in Tower Hamlets in London and one of London’s most famous pubs. It claims to be the city’s oldest waterside pub, dating from 1520. In the 17th Century is became a haven for smugglers and villains and took the name “The Devil’s Tavern.”
Locally it was known as “Beanies.” It has had a large number of notorious and famous customers - Judge Jefferys, the “Hanging Judge,” is one of the most notable. During the Monmouth Rebellion the Judge hung the leaders and 200 of their men. A noose now hangs at the window to commemorate him. Both Samuel Pepys and Charles Dickens are said to have popped in to the The Devil’s Tavern for a drink, and Constable and Whistler made sketches from its windows.
In the 18th Century the Devil’s Tavern was gutted by fire. It was rebuilt and renamed The Prospect of Whitby after a ship that was moored nearby. For many years the Prospect remained a seedy establishment, and old photographs on the walls show the squalor of Tower Hamlets and the Prospect - run down but filled with ships from all over the world. These days it is one of London’s more affluent areas with its close proximity to the business districts of Canary Wharf and West India Key.
The interior of the pub is what you would expect of an Old English Tavern. Low ceilings and seasoned timber, a long pewter bar top built on top of barrels. The windows all look out over the Thames, and are often dangerously close. If you are sat by the window when the tide is coming in your may find yourself unlucky enough to be caught by a wave that comes crashing through the window. It has been the ruin of many a dinner at the Prospect.
Tel: 020 7481 1095
Address: 57 Wapping Wall, Wapping, Tower Hamlets, London E1W 3SJ