After a recent trip to central London, on the way home, I stopped off at Whitechapel. I wanted to have a nostalgic walk through the Royal London Hospital and hospital garden to the Institute of Pathology, where I used to work. The hospital and garden, unfortunately, were boarded up, as was the Institute of Pathology although I did manage to find the building which used to house the Microbiology lab, where I also worked. The labs were no longer there and I expect they are in the brand new building that is now the hospital.
The other reason for my trip was to look for the sign from the old pub, the Lord Rodney’s Head. The pub, which used to be situated opposite the hospital and to the right of the Methodist Mission, is no longer in existence. The building is now a shop but there are photos on the Internet, showing the sign still hanging from the building, despite it no longer being a pub. Sadly, when I visited, the sign had gone. I’m sure that during my years working at the Royal London Hospital, I must have gone into the Lord Rodney’s Head but unfortunately, I just can’t remember. If only I’d known then, what I found out a few weeks ago! I discovered that it once belonged to ancestors of mine. Whilst researching my family tree, I discovered that Robert and Christian Elliott ran the pub from 1844-1856 . Robert was my great, great, great grandfather on my father’s side, who was born in Farnham, Surrey in 1821 and married Christian Kitchin in London, in 1841. I discovered on the Internet that the Lord Rodney’s Head was situated at 285, Whitechapel Road and that it was established before 1806. Interestingly, while Robert and Christian owned it, in 1854, it became a music hall, known as the Prince’s Hall of Varieties. This must have been successful as it didn’t close until 1885, twenty-nine years after they had left the pub.
I don’t know when Christian died but I have found that Robert died in 1870, in Devon, so I very much hope that they both made their fortunes and then had enough to retire to Devon and enjoy some time relaxing. Since Robert died at 49, he obviously didn’t have long to enjoy himself, which is sad. I’d love to be able to find out more about the Lord Rodney’s Head and Robert and Christian but I don’t expect I ever will.
It’s sad when old buildings fall into disrepair or are even lost altogether. Any profits raised from my ebook ‘Daffodil and the Thin Place’ will go towards the renovation and maintenance of St. Nicholas Church, Laindon with Dunton, Essex. The church dates from the 12th century and the cost of upkeep is huge. Please help me raise money for the church by purchasing ‘Daffodil and the Thin Place’ here on the Muse It Up Publishing website. #MuseItUp #DaffodilAndTheThinPlace