This inter-war estate pub – which was recently added to the National Heritage List for England – is named for an 18th century British Navy admiral who is perhaps best remembered today for watering down his men’s ration rum to create what become known as ‘grog’ (apparently after his nickname).
Designed in the then-popular ‘Brewers’ Tudor-style, the pub was among several built by London’s Courage Brewery to serve the Beacontree Estate and the wood-panelled interior remains much as did when it first opened in 1939. The “almost intact” 1930s interior includes public and saloon bars, and publican’s offices behind the counter.
Admiral Edward Vernon had a long and distinguished naval career, first promoted to captain in 1706 and going on to serve as a vice-admiral during the War of Jenkin’s Ear between Britain and Spain (1739-48) – during which he famously captured the Spanish colonial possession of Porto Bello (after which the London district of Portobello is named). Promoted to the rank of admiral in 1745, he was appointed to command the North Sea Fleet during the Jacobite rebellion. Vernon, who also served as an MP, was cashiered out of the navy in 1746 in controversial circumstances after he published two pamphlets about his disagreements with the Admiralty.
Vernon’s nickname of “Old Grog” apparently came from his habit of wearing a grogram coat (grogram was coarse, loosely woven fabric of silk, silk and mohair, or silk and wool). In 1740 he ordered that his men’s rum be diluted with water and it duly became known as ‘grog’ after him.
The pub, which is located at 141 Broad Street, is Grade II heritage listed (the pub sign at the front is now empty – the name appears on the front facade). For more, see www.facebook.com/192074204220830.