Monday, August 26, 2019

'The Mayflower'

London The Unfinished City
The Historic Mayflower.

It was a wonderfully warm Saturday afternoon as I, and my work colleagues, Gary and Steve, entered the historic 16th Century Mayflower pub, in Rotherhithe Village. Having heard so much about this place, it was about time that I visited it. And, I can tell you, it was not a disappointment.

Wooden beams and a small wooden bar, with various artefacts, which included books, models, flags, drawings and paintings and so much more, really gave the place a feeling of history.

Interior of The Mayflower
Behind the bar of The Mayflower.

The covered seating area, which was built on decking, stretched out over the River Thames, giving a wonderful view across the river to Wapping. You could see from the Thames River Police Museum, in the northeast to almost the Prospect of Whitby. Behind the old converted warehouses, you can make out the Walkie-talkie, the Cheesegrater and the Gherkin.

Brief History

Everyone knows the history of the Mayflower ship, which set sail for the New World, from Rotherhithe, in July 1620. She would return on May 6, 1621, where she moored at her home port. Her Captain, Christopher Jones, died the following year. What actually happened to the Mayflower is unclear, but the prevailing theory is that she was dismantled, sometime in 1624, with her timbers being used in the construction of a barn, in South Buckinghamshire.

More intriguing is the pub that bears her name. The Mayflower claims to be the oldest pub on the River Thames, but is it?

The Mayflower Blue Plaque
Blue Plaque.

The oldest pub, in the area, was The Shippe, which dates to around 1550. The Spread Eagle was also founded on this site, which burnt down in the 18th century, but no one can say for certain how old it was. The Spread Eagle and Crown was built on the site, in 1790, and lasted until its roof and top floor were destroyed, during World War II. It was rebuilt in 1958, when it was renamed The Mayflower.

  • The Mayflower is only pub licensed, in the UK, to sell US & UK postage stamps.
  • If you can prove a family connection to any of the original Pilgrim Fathers, you can share your details in the Mayflower Descendants Book, which is kept in the pub.