The Crown

After yesterday’s rather gloomy post about the state of Greenwich’s watering holes I thought I’d mention something that, at least at the moment, looks quite positive.

Chris and I have been discussing The Crown in Traf Road. Now I’ve always liked the Crown as a building. It’s a neat, ‘proper’ pub, very traditional in design and with huge amounts of potential.

I have to say, though, that for me, ‘potential’ was always the word. On the few occasions I went inside for a drink the locals looked at me as though I had grown a second tricorn and I was made to feel – well – frankly rather unwelcome.

But I liked the place – not least for the images conjured in my mind by Iris Bryce in Remember Greenwich who, being brought up a stone’s throw from the pub found a job there as a very young, impressionable girl and was taken under the glamorous landlady’s wing – a woman who conjures images of a 1940s Bet Lynch, in satins and silks, and who had done out her own quarters in the upstairs of the pub as what she probably imagined as a Hollywood stage, but which sounds more like a particularly splendid tart’s parlour. Iris was goggle-eyed at this room, all swags and tassels; it appears to have been quite instrumental in Iris’s beginning to yearn for something ‘more’.

So- it’s been taken over by Inn Public, the people who run the Duke in Deptford, the Dartmouth Arms in Forest Hill and the Dolphin in Sydenham, thus ending their South East London takeover of pubs beginning with the letter D.

Okay – it’s a chain. A local chain, which isn’t always good (witness the previous post about Greenwich Inc.) but better than some massive behemoth like Wetherspoons or, heaven forbid, Punch. They apparently like original features, so hopefully any kit-out will be sympathetic, and hey – it’s better than being turned into flats like so many down Traf Road/ Woolwich Road – only a year or so ago we lost The Old Friends – admittedly the worst pub in the area, but one that would have definitely benefitted from a decent chain takeover rather than demolition.

I’m told they’re opening on the 1st Feb. I shall visit with interest. I’m hoping that it will continue the gradual rebirth of this little stretch of Traf Road – the Greengrocer’s next door, which was always a little tentative, is now run by the guys who run Apple and Pear at the Standard, La Salumeria has had a revamp and I just love Fay’s, the tiny caff opposite run by the sweet French guy whose name I haven’t caught yet, but who turns a simple sandwich into a work of art.

It’s small stuff, of course. But everything needs to start somewhere. Looking at old photos of Traf Road, it’s been a vibrant, local hub – and within living memory too. I was talking to a guy in Romford Market the other day whose dad used to have a fabric shop in the road – which did good business until the 70s/80s.

Perhaps it can happen again. I hope so.

I just realised I don’t have any photos of the Crown – so for the Nth day succession, no images. Soz…


14 Comments to “The Crown”

  1. Dan says:

    Hooray!

  2. Miffee says:

    I think the fabric shop was called Sidney Green’s, it was on the other side of the road and back towards Blackwall Lane. Wish we had shops like that now!

  3. Jack Cross says:

    I noticed that the Crown was closed for a refit. This is really good news. I hope the revamped Crown gets the support from East Greenwich that it needs to flourish.

  4. Daveh48 says:

    If my memory is right – this is going back 50yrs or so – there were two shops owned by the same people. One a Haberdashers which sold buttons, zips, bows, balls of wool and just about everything else associated with knitting and dress making. The other was a Drapers which had shelves stacked with every type of fabric you could ever want.

    Can’t be sure if this is the “Sidney Greens” mentioned by Miffe as there were so many small shops in Trafalgar Road at the time, but I do remember the guy running them was call Jimmy. These were located around where the current Post Office is, the original Post Office is now that funny little shop called “Treasure Trove” which I can’t believe has lasted as long as it has.

    In that row of shops there was also a Butchers, I think between the two drapers shops and a Menswear shop called ‘Faith Brothers” (Now Bet Fred) where I was kitted out with my secondary school uniform 51yrs ago – where did it all go?

    Next to that was “Walkers” carpet/furniture shop (Dominos) and on the next corner there was one of the two “Frisby Menswear” shops (Now Locksmiths), the second one being on the other side of the road opposite the Christchurch Way junction. I know that as I worked there for quite a few years.

    Just for info the the Greengrocers next to the Crown before being a newsagents was an Undertakers. Strange looking place as it had two very steep steps leading up to the door and in the small windows were a vase of flowers and a miniature coffin – looked very creepy.

  5. Miffee says:

    DavidH48, do you remember the fresh fish shop in the same parade with the live eels in the front. I remember watching the eels squirm while waiting for my Mum to get the Friday fish.

  6. Daveh48 says:

    Miffee – Yes, I knew there was one but couldn’t be sure of where it was.

    I also remember opposite on the corner of Earlswood St there was another butchers and where the Co-Op and Boots are today, were Francis & Campions three shops. They were long narrow establishments with one for fresh produce, meat, sliced ham, cheese, eggs and butter etc. Another for all types of tinned and non perishable produce and the third was an ironmongers which sold mops, buckets, tin baths, cleaning materials and string – hairy string used for parcels…….it’s not the same with Sellotape.

    Looking back now it’s amazing how many shops there were in that part of Trafalgar Rd from Blackwall Lane to Christchurch Way and of course in the next stretch there was Woolworths, the wonderful C E Pound Hardware (Whenever I see the “Fork Handles” sketch I always think of Pounds) toy shops, tailors, florists and all sorts of others trades all making a living.

  7. Valoma says:

    Dear P so glad to hear on non gloomy stuff :-) have you heard about your mention on the new Greenwich TV show ? Things are looking up

  8. Jacky says:

    I remember The Crown was a particular favourite with the miners staying locally in 1984 …. Heady days!!!

  9. Donovan says:

    Good news. Another new cafe on Traf Road too – Winston’s.

    Talking of ‘new’ pubs, has anyone been to the Old Loyal Britons since the re-opening? I heard the magic word raclette somewhere…

  10. Oddly, Donovan, I was only talking with someone about that yesterday. No I haven’t, but I’m keen to try it. I used to like it in its previous, previous incarnation, but it went downhill badly, then closed, then turned into something that didn’t fire me at all. But I’d like to try this new version. Raclette, you say…

  11. JR says:

    I always felt old when I passed The Crown and “Thatotherpubwhichcloseddownandbecameabettingshop” – probably because they always seemed to post signs saying “Closed for 21st Birthday Party” every Friday night. I’m hopeful it will become another decent local to rival The Vanburgh, Pelton Arms and Cutty Sark.

  12. David says:

    Best people in the world, the people who use the Public. Fantastic news; pity the Old Friends, Victoria and Lord Napier never made it through to a potentially brighter future for East Greenwich ale supping fans. And let’s hope someone else is eyeing up the awful Duchess bar to transform that before too long… And they don’t misfire like The King William…

  13. David says:

    Interesting reviews of the other pubs they own… Don’t want to prejudge how the Crown pans out but prices may be high and customer service needs to be their focus…. We shall see….