Islington royalty

With matters Royal all over the media, this post on the estimable Jane’s London blog caught my eye.

She points out the sheer number of pubs in this part of town named after royalty and nobility. It was traditional to name pubs after the local landowner, or a patriotic hero of the day. Royalty were popular choices, especially around the time of royal weddings.

The Marquess pub is named after the Marquess of Northampton, the hereditary landowner of much of the land to the east of Upper Street (Canonbury and Angel areas). The first Marquess was formerly the Earl of Essex. The family surname is Compton which also features in a local pub, the Compton Arms.

Much of this land was developed in the late 18th and early 19th century, and the pub names reflect that period.

Many of the Dukes named (Sussex, Cambridge, Clarence, Richmond, Kent and York) are ‘Royal’ Dukedoms, given to the various sons of King George III. The Duchess of Kent was daughter-in-law to George III and mother of Queen Victoria. The Regent is George III’s oldest son who went on to be George IV.

Wellington, Clyde and Wolesley were military heros of the day who were ennobled as a reward for their victories. The Duke of Wellington was the hero of Waterloo. Lord Clyde was the Commander-in-Chief of the British Army in India. Lord Wolesley led armies in India and Africa.

At one time, such pub names were the norm, before they were reinvented as something like Purple Barracuda, Fat Louis’, or the Dugout.

Will next year’s royal wedding see a revival of traditional pub names? And if so, will any be named after the Popham Princess?


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