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My First Covid Casualty?

Updated: Aug 9, 2022

Edit August 2022.

It's not often that I write something like this but I've just discovered that...


Lockdown 3.0 drags on and with it little chance to get out and about to visit any bygone boozers in person so the reliance on random images popping up and dredged-up memories to stimulate post production continues.

My last utterances, on the Wherry at Langley, brought back memories of this post and got me wondering whether any of the then-surviving pubs mentioned had gone under. And guess what...?

The first four in the list all checked out OK, but then I got to the Queen Adelaide where the news wasn't as good. (Just for the record, number six – the Anglesea Arms in South Kensington – still seems OK as well.) CAMRA's whatpub site now lists it as permanently closed having failed to reopen after the initial Covid lockdown of pubs in the first part of last year.

Whilst not being a regular haunt I did pop in a few times in the mid-'70s when staying with the inamorata of the time. The first occasion was when she was on an early shift and, having been given instructions to get some potatoes, I left the flat and tootled off to the shop on the corner of Boscombe Road, itself also a bygone since around 2015.

"Four pounds of spuds, please."

"We call 'em taters 'round 'ere", I was advised with a smile.

"OK. I'll have four pounds of taters then, please."

Educated in the local parlance, and having stuffed the brown paper bag of Solanaceae tubers into my rucksack, I exited. My normal time-filling activity in these situations was to stroll to Ravenscourt Park and visit Napoleon the one-legged Muscovy duck. (Don't ask me why the locals had seemingly christened it Napoleon. As far as I know M. Bonaparte always had a full complement of limbs.) before moving on to his avian neighbour, the Raven on Goldhawk Road. Instead, on this occasion, rather than turning left as would've been the norm, I turned right and continued to Uxbridge Road where, across the street, was the Queen Adelaide. It would make a change from the Raven.

It wasn't too much of a spit and sawdust establishment. I mean, the sawdust seemed to be dry and the spittoons looked as if they were emptied at least twice a day. Recollection has it as a Bass house back then, but of that I can not be too certain as the intervening years have eroded my memories somewhat. If it's not the amount years it might be the amount of Bass.

The Queen Adelaide in June 2019 © 2021 Google

The Queen Adelaide was built in the early 1850s. The 1850 Ordnance Survey town plan shows a track which eventually became Adelaide Grove but there is no building shown. However, by the time that the 1855 Post Office directory was published the Queen Adelaide was in existence and occupied by one Joseph Hay.

P622, PO Directory (1855) Essex, Herts, Kent, Middlesex, Surrey & Sussex.

(By the way, the White Horse is still operating but the Trafalgar seems to have gone – maybe for the construction of the Westway.)

After a few changes of hands William Denington has taken over by the time of the census of 1871 and it stays with the family for the next forty years, with wife Mary taking it on after his death in 1893. The pub must've been reasonably profitable as £2910 11s 6d is worth around £375,000 today.

When Mary herself died in 1902 their son Clement took over its running.

The Queen Adelaide c1881.

It was during the Denington's tenure that the pub was rebuilt.

Queen Adelaide Uxbridge Road w12
The new version of the Queen Adelaide in 1941.

The current structure dates from around the turn of the twentieth century, was constructed in Edwardian 'Jacobethan' style and awarded Grade II listed status in 1996. The forty-year Denington dynasty was followed by the longer one-man dynasty that was Luke Brady. Brady took over the pub in 1912 and is connected with the place up until the 1960s by when it seems he may have held the freehold.

It looks as if that my earlier assertion that it used to be a Bass house could well be correct as I've found that the Pubology website suggests it was at one time a Mitchells and Butlers property. They probably sold it as a result of the Beer Orders of 1989 and it eventually came into the hands of the Realpubs group, who at one time owned 14 pubs in London. In 2011 Realpubs was bought by Greene King who wanted to increase their presence in the capital ahead of the 2012 Olympics. It is held by their subsidiary, the Metropolitan Pub Company (MLP).

Google Maps throws up some images which show us that the interior has improved somewhat over those held in my forty-year-old memories, such as this one...

...and this...

...and this.

Certainly no sawdust or spittoons in sight. No Bass either.

With its location just a couple of streets away from their Loftus Road stadium, the pub was very popular with Queen's Park Rangers supporters. At one time it even offered Queen and Hoops Supporters' Ale brewed by Nethergate Brewery for matchday consumption. Both it and the pub make an appearance in this post in Drunken Bunny's blog.

It seems that the full-time whistle's been blown for the Queen Adelaide. Having failed to reopen after the March – July lockdown it was boarded-up by October. Its page on the MLC website is blank and its former website 'can't be reached.'

A boarded-up Queen Adelaide in October 2020. © 2021 Google

So it looks like Queen Adelaide may have succumbed to Covid. Hopefully I won't, as this clinically extremely vulnerable individual – although I have to say I have trouble thinking of myself as such – had his first delivery of 50,000,000,000 recombinant, replication-deficient chimpanzee adenovirus particles, courtesy of Messrs. Astra and Zeneca, yesterday. Hopefully I am/we are moving towards a time when we can visit a pub again sometime soon. Hopefully, also, before too many others close.

If you've read this far, then thank you. Possibly, like me, you may have some sort of interest in bygone boozers. Clicking here will take you to a searchable/sortable index which you can use to see if I've already featured any lost locals from your locality. You can also 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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