London Pub Signs – The Argyll Arms…

This Grade II*-listed pub originally dates from the early 18th century but the current building was constructed in the 1860s and still retains many features dating from that period.

The name for this pub, located at 18 Argyll Street just south-west of Oxford Circus, comes from John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll, one of the Duke of Marlborough’s leading generals and the owner of the land on which the street (and pub) now stands.

The London mansion of the dukes was located where the London Palladium now stands and there is a legend that there was a tunnel between the house, which was eventually demolished in 1864, and the pub.

While the pub has undergone some alterations since it was built, mid-19th century features inside include etched glass separating the booths and an ornate plaster ceiling.

The pub is now part of the Nicholson chain. For more, head here.

PICTURES: Top – Russell Davies/Flickr/; Right – Michael Flynn/Flickr/(CC BY-NC 2.0)

Treasures of London – The ‘Old Lion’ Maidenhair Tree, Kew Gardens

Celebrated in the 2002 list of 50 “Great British Trees”, the Maidenhair Tree is one of a number at Kew Gardens known as an “Old Lion” – the name collectively given to the few remaining trees with a planting date of 1762.

The Gingko biloba or Maidenhair Tree was one of the first of its species to be planted in Britain and, along with the other ‘Old Lions’, was brought from the Twickenham estate of the Duke of Argyll in 1762.

It was planted in what was then a new five acre arboretum laid out by William Aiton, employed as the gardener at the first botanic garden at Kew (this was established in 1759 at the behest of Princess Augusta, wife of Frederick, Prince of Wales – who had died in 1751 – and mother of King George III, and John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute).

Originally located against the wall of the ‘Great Stove’ glasshouse to provide it with protection, the tree has stood alone since 1861 when the glasshouse was demolished. It can now be found adjacent to the Wisteria arch close to the Secluded Garden Conservatory. Several further Gingko trees were planted in the garden in 1773 under the direction of botanist Sir Joseph Banks.

The other four ‘Old Lions’ at Kew are a False Acacia (Robinia pseudoacacia), an Oriental Plane (Platanus orientalis), a Caucasian Elm (Zelkova carpinifolia), and a Pagoda Tree (Sophora japonica).

WHERE: Kew Gardens (nearest tube station is Kew Gardens); WHEN: 9.30am to 4.15pm daily (check closing times for glasshouses); COST: £13.90 adults; £11.90 concessions; children under 17 free; WEBSITE: