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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
16th January 1906 Born today: Diana Winyard, London, actress (Cavalcade)
16th January 1794 Edward Gibbon, historian (Decline and Fall), dies in London at 56
16th January 1759 British Museum opens in London
The Viaduct Tavern
The pub with cellars that used to be cells in Newgate Prison.
Location: 126 Newgate Street, London, EC1A 7AA
Description: This pub was opened in 1869 opposite the Holborn Viaduct which also opened in 1869.
The whole area here built on the site of the notorious Newgate Prison. Newgate was infamous for executions and squalid conditions, and was completely demolished in 1902.
The Viaduct Tavern actually stands not on the site of Newgate but of the Giltspur Street Compter. Described in The London Encyclopaedia as a heavily rusticated stone building, it was designed by Dance The Younger and demolished in 1855. Nevertheless, the fact that it does occupy the site of another, less famous, prison explains why its cellar contains prison cells.
The pub has 3 paintings each featuring a maiden representing agriculture, banking and the arts. The latter has her bottom defaced by a drunken soldier in the first World War who allegedly fired his rifle at it.
The rough nature of the area was still in evidence after the opening of the pub and is noticeable by the small booth behind the bar, from which the landlord sold tokens to buy beer and thus removing any cash from the hands of the distrusted barstaff.
Tagged in this Tour: London