London Pub Signs – The Gun…
January 21, 2013
This Docklands pub – the site of which has hosted a public house for more than 250 years – is located in an area where iron foundries were once employed to produce cannons for the Royal Navy’s many ships of the line.
But according to the pub’s website (and a plaque outside the building), the name comes from something much more specific – the cannon which was fired at celebrations surrounding the opening of the West India Import Docks in 1802.
And that’s not only historical link this Grade II-listed pub (seen here from the Thames) has with the navy. Heroic naval figure Vice Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson, who lived just up the road and was a frequent visitor to the docks, was apparently a regular at the pub where he was secretly meet with his mistress Lady Emma Hamilton (the room they met in is now called The River Room).
There’s also a history of smugglers operating out of the pub and a still present spyhole is said to have been used to watch for revenue officers.
In 2001 much of the interior of the pub was destroyed in a fire. It remained closed for three years before brothers Tom and Ed Martin bought the building and undertook a painstaking restoration in consultation with English Heritage, reopening the building’s doors in 2004.
As well as its historical associations, The Gun now boasts a couple of bars and dining rooms and riverside terrace. During summer, the pub also opens a second terrace area under a Portuguese barbeque theme – A Grelha at the Gun.
For more on The Gun (located at 27 Coldharbour in the Docklands), see www.thegundocklands.com.