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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
The Three Blackbirds
This is one of Leyton's oldest pubs now function rooms for hire.
Location: 640 High Road, Leyton, E10 6RN
Description: This pub has been recorded here since (at least) 1698, as a coaching stop on the way to London.
It is common guesswork that artist John Varleys water-colour in the Bridgeman Art Gallery in Hull (entitled Leyton, Essex c1800) is of the The Blackbirds.
In the Leytonstone Historical Society's book on the pub they say In 1805 Mrs Shepherd was called to give evidence at the Old Bailey at the trial of John Troy. Troy was accused of trying to purchase several silk handkerchiefs by using a forged 5 bank-note. When arrested in February he gave his name as John May of the Blackbird in Low Layton. Elizabeth Shepherd was asked if she knew May to which she answered, No. Had he lived there then she would surely have known him. Twenty-eight-year-old Troy was subsequently found guilty and sentenced to death. This may seem harsh, but a year earlier he had been acquitted at the Middlesex Assizes. It was one brush too many with the law.
The pub also held important local court duties and the last to be held here was on 26th July 1894.
Sometime in September 1907 a set of twelve used billiard balls were stolen from the Three Blackbirds. The case did go to the Central Criminal Court on Tuesday 19th November 1907 and one of the defendants pleaded guilty.
In some twenties advertisements for the Three Blackbirds, it called itself The Sportsmans Rendezvous, and was the headquarters of Leyton Football Club, the West Essex Bowls Club and the Pride of Leyton Pigeon Club.
Landlord Bill Golding was Chairman of the newly reformed Leyton Football Club back in 1919, although the Three Blackbirds had been associated with the Football Club when they were first founded as Matlock Swifts in the late 1880s. The football club rose to become winners of the F A Amateur Cup in 1927 and 1928 and the finest club side of its generation.
One of Essexs finest cricketers was Charlie McGahey who had represented the MCC on a tour of Australia in 1902. McGahey was invited to stay at the pub as a guest of Bill Golding, even helping out behind the bar.
In 2008 it closed it's doors as a public house and is now an Asian banqueting function house.