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Updated: Jul 13, 2021

"That will be exactly a pound, sir."


I don't believe my thought was actually vocalised. I'd only ordered a pint, a snowball (remember those?) and a couple of packets of crisps. It'd probably have come to 45p, 50p max, back in The Highlands and Fred would've mixed the snowball himself, not simply removed the cap from a bottle. And he'd have given us more cherries to boot. It might not have been the most relatively expensive pint that I've ever bought, I believe that honour still goes to the one purchased in the Anglesea Arms in South Kensington mentioned here, but it comes close.

I handed over a crisp, green, piece of paper featuring John Page's signature (remember those too?) and made my way to a table by the door. With a glass in each hand and two packets of crisps gripped tightly between my incisors, the tapering walls guided my way. I don't know why, but I've always loved pubs that sit on acute-angled street corners, like the Suffolk Tavern - now the New Entertainer - back home in Gorleston, and this was one, if not as old.

It was the mid-1970s and I'd been persuaded by the inamorata of the time to accompany her to the shops of Oxford Street and its environs. Not my natural environment, I must admit. We'd been having a 'discussion' as to whether we should walk through Marylebone to Baker Street and take the Metropolitan Line to Goldhawk Road or walk back along Oxford Street, via yet more shops, to Oxford Circus and take the Central Line to Shepherd's Bush. We couldn't agree and thought that a seat and a drink might help us come to a decision. The total walking distance would be much the same, just should we do the longer stretch at the start, which was my preferred option, or start with the shorter stretch via the shops, which wasn't.

That was how we'd ended up in the Hog in the Pound, but what, you may well be asking, dredged-up these memories from more than two-thirds of a lifetime ago? Well, in the same folder entitled 'Unknown Location' that held the image of the Flower of the Forest that I dealt with a couple of posts ago, was this one.

Hog in the Pound in Oxford Street.

It was in that folder because, whilst it's pretty impossible to forget a pub with such a name, and despite a phone number of Mayfair 840 and a very legible street name, its appearance didn't tie up with with my memory of the boozer that I'd visited that day. That one seemed to be much more modern and wasn't actually on Oxford Street anyway, but close by on South Molton Street.

So just where was this Hog in the Pound? Turning to some directories, the 1938 Post Office one gives us Arthur S. Clarke at the Hog in the Pound, 373 Oxford Street. Number 373 looked like this when Mr. Google went by last year.

Former Hog in the Pound.
373 Oxford Street in July 2019. © Google 2020

Hmmm! That looks rather familiar. Albert Barrett, a licensed victualler according to the 1911 census, was living with his wife at 373 Oxford Street at the time of the enumeration, so that sort of settles things. The Hog must've upped and moved at some point.

The London telephone directories of the 1950s show the Hog as one of R.V. Goodhew's establishments on Oxford Street - MAYfair 2952 - up to and including 1958 but by the following year it's disappeared from the licensed caterer's collection of pubs. I can't find it in 1960 or 1961 either. It reappears in the 1962 edition, not as one of Goodhew's places, and at 28 South Molton Street with the number HYDe Park 7720.

The original position of the Hog is shown on this Ordnance Survey map (Revised 1914) with the blue cross indicating its later location, a few strides further to the south. A relocation to a newly-constructed building just a matter of yards away and there goes the caché of that Mayfair phone number.

Location(s) of the Hog in the Pound.

What is the Hog looking like today? Well, Mr. Google took this shot at the same time as the one further up the page and there's little doubt that the Hog has gone. In fact the whole building has gone and in its place stands a glass rib which is a branch of Caffé Concerto. I have to say that I'd never heard of them but judging by their beer list - Stella, Peroni and... well, that's it - I'm unlikely to become a regular customer of theirs. And whilst I'm in judging mood, the fact that they don't put any prices against these brews on their menu I reckon that the place would end up outdoing the Anglesea Arms.

Site of the former Hog in the Pound.
28 South Molton Street in July 2019. © Google 2020

However, Mr. Google has also paid the area a few other visits. This was back in 2008, and is the Hog which I remember although it was a Watney's house on my visit. Having passed into the hands of Punch Taverns and then, I believe, the Capital Pub Company it closed in 2011 and the building was demolished the same year.

The Hog in the Pound.
The Hog in the Pound in June 2008. © Google 2020

So the directory delving has shown that the Hog in the Pound has moved location and has also been demolished. The directory delving also suggests that the Hog had had an earlier move too. Holden's edition of 1805 informs us that R. Gould was at the New Hog in the Pound at 293 Oxford Street. It's not the 293 which is the interesting bit as Oxford Street was renumbered in 1882, 293 becoming 373. It's the 'New' part of the entry which is interesting, especially when combined with this entry in the 1791 Universal British Directory.

If our Oxford Street building was once the New Hog in the Pound, I'm left wondering about the whereabouts of the original. I think I might leave that one for another day though.

If I'm left wondering you probably are too. Which way did we decide to go home? Did we take the Central or the Metropolitan Line? You've also probably guessed. Let's just say that we walked back from Shepherd's Bush - with more bags than we carried into the Hog.

The Ordnance Survey extract is copyright and is reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland under this license.

If you've read this far, then thank you. Like me, you must have some sort of interest in bygone boozers. If you haven't done so already you can subscribe to ensure that you don't miss any future posts. Simply click here to return to the home page (opens in a new tab), follow the 'Subscribe' link and complete the form to receive an email notification of any future post. Or you could simply follow the link at the top of this page.

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I worked in that corner jeweller's back in 1979 when it was a Ratner's. The Hog was our nearest boozer and the starting point of many an after-work West End odyssey. Ten years later I was a manager for Chef & Brewer and the Hog was legendary for its (illicit) earning potential. Ten years after that and the industry had changed, the earning opportunities in management had mostly disappeared and the decline was well under way. 😪

Just stumbled across your site and am thoroughly enjoying myself ... Many Thanks.

Jim Manning.

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