To kick things off, Ruairidh Anderson tells the tale of Charlie Brown, famous landlord of the Railway Tavern in Limehouse, who assembled a pub full of wonders.
“Over the years, after being thrown around on the waves, seaman would flock to this pub and along with their bizarre and exotic venereal diseases, would bring treasures and trophies from travels around the globe.”
Watch the video and enjoy the London song inspired by this tale ‘Here Comes Charlie Brown!’
Charlie Brown of Limehouse
In the late 1800’s a retired boxer named Charlie Brown bought a pub out in Limehouse in Tower Hamlets. Pretty soon word spread amongst the docks via the sailors and the stevedores, that this place was a pub to be at because the landlord could tell a joke and a story with the best of them.
Over the years that followed, after being thrown around on the high seas, sailors would flock to this pub and along with their bizarre and exotic venereal diseases, they brought with them treasures and trophies from their travels around the globe. An 800 year old Chinese antique, a Ming vase, sharks teeth, a two headed calf were just some of the things that ended up being displayed in Charlie Brown’s Railway Tavern.
Over time this establishment developed a reputation as a museum. Socialites, royalty, celebrities and the common man, would stream into this place and see objects that they had never seen before. Items from far beyond the reaches of the Thames. When he died in 1932, Charlie Brown had the largest funeral of the early 20th century. 16,000 people turned up to see this man off. The ‘Uncrowned King of Limehouse’ laid to rest.
Today Charlie Brown is remembered thanks to a roundabout named in his honour in Ilford.