Sunday, 7 March 2010

Dirty Dicks, London

My mate and long time sailing pal,Notty,with his lady Sonia and workmate Ken in the original Dirty Dicks,London


Hi mate,

This was one of the old photo's that came from Sonia's sisters place when her kids cleared it out, we have an old pile of them but this is the only picture I have of me with an almost full head of hair.
Soni looks to be startled in the picture as the barman just caught her out! The other guy is a Salford bloke I worked with call Ken, he was as mad as a snake and helped me to pull daffodils up out of Hyde Park gardens for Soni's birthday once when we were both 3 sheets to the wind.

The pub we're in here is the famous Dirty Dicks near Liverpool Street Station, London, the ground floor is a gourmet food bar where you can sit and eat oysters, fine cheeses and all type of cooked meat with crusty bread.
Down stairs where we are, is a sort of dungeon complete with cobwebs and real dead cat skeletons that are made to jump around when the barman pulls a string to scare the young birds like he just had with Soni hence her popping out eyes. The youg girls are asked to stroke the lucky cat and make a wish, the barman pulls on his string and the biltong like dead cat leaps around.

Well, mate, that was the young and hairy Notty enjoying the good life in the 60's long before we even knew we were going to SA.


Opposite Liverpool Street Station, on Bishopsgate, is Dirty Dick's, an historic city pub, which takes its name from the dirty Warehouse on Leadenhall Street.

Before the beginning of the 19th century, the pub was called the Old Jerusalem, but the owners transferred the name and the storey from the warehouse because it was too good and too famous a name to let die.

The original Dirty Dick, was Richard, or some say Nathanial, Bentley, a prosperous city merchant living in the middle of the 18th century, who owned a hardware shop and warehouse, and it said to be the inspiration for Miss Havisham in Dickens' Great Expectations.

Bentley had been quite a dandy in his youth, but following the death of his fiancée, he refused to clear up or clean anything.

His house, shop and warehouse became so filthy that he became a celebrity of dirt. Any letter addressed to The Dirty Warehouse, London, would be delivered to Bentley. He stopped trading in 1804 and died in 1809. The warehouse was later demolished.

The pub that perpetuates the name and legend was described thus in 1866: " A small public house or rather a tap of a wholesale wine and spirit business"..."a warehouse or barn without floorboards; a low ceiling, with cobwebs festoons dangling from the black rafters; a pewter, bar battered and dirty, floating with beer, numberless gas pipes tied anyhow along the struts and posts to conduct the spirits from the barrels to the taps; sample phials and labelled bottles of wine and spirits on shelves- everything covered with virgin dust and cobwebs."

It seems that successive owners of the Bishopsgate Distillery and its tap capitalised on the legend. By the end of the 19th century, its owner, a public house company called William Barker's (D.D) Ltd, was producing commemorative booklets and promotional material to advertise the pub.

For years it kept the cobwebs, dead cats and other disgusting things in the cellar bar, but these have now been tidied a to a glass display case.

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