London Pub Signs – The Tipperary…

Built on land which once formed part of ‘White Friars’ (Carmelite) monastery, this Fleet Street institution is the latest incarnation in a string of pubs which have occupied the site since at least the early 17th century.

The-TipperaryA pub was built on the site in about 1605. Made of stone rather than wood (the stones apparently plundered from the monastery), the property – which stands over the top of what’s left of the River Fleet – survived the Great Fire of London in 1666.

While there seem to be a few competing versions of the pub’s history, it was apparently first named the Bolt-in-Tun (the sign of which showed a barrel pierced by a crossbow quarrel or bolt) and became a popular coaching inn (an alley opposite still bears the name Bolt Court). It was apparently later renamed The Boar’s Head.

The pub – located at 66 Fleet Street – was at some stage – the sign outside says in 1700, others suggest it was in the late 1800s – it was bought by Dublin-based brewery SG Mooney & Son (the Mooney name is still on the doorstep). It was after this purchase that it was transformed into what is claims was the first Irish pub outside of Ireland and, perhaps more importantly, the first pub outside Ireland to serve Guinness (first bottled and later draught).

The pub’s name was changed to the Tipperary after World War I when, as one story goes, returning Irish soldiers made it a favourite of theirs and christened it in honour of the song It’s A Long Way To Tipperary.

Bought by Greene King in the 1960s, the pub underwent a restoration which took it back to the style it would have been during Mooney’s days.

The pub apparently once featured a clock by renowned Fleet Street clockmaker Thomas Tompion, known as the “father of English clockmaking”. A replica now sits in the pub thanks to the original being stolen.