Main Index

  » Search This Site

  » Submit Pub

  » Contact Us

  » Support This Site

Share |

Home > London > E2 > Bishop Bonner

Bishop Bonner


Picture source: Stephen Harris

The Bishop Bonner was situated at 21 Bonner Street. This former Taylor Walker Brewery pub was established by 1872.  After 1975 it remained as the only surviving building in an otherwise demolished street, although it had lost its own third storey to Wartime bombing.  In the 1970s and 1980s it had close links with the sport of boxing.  The pub closed in 1997, being converted to private residential use.
My Parents Freddie & Rita Woodman owned this pub from 1971 until 1979. My father turned it into a boxing theme pub with wall to wall photos of boxers. My father Freddie Woodman and I were also boxers and we had many famous boxers that used to pop in such as John Conteh, Henry Cooper, John H Stracey Maurice Hope, Jack Kid Berg and many more. My Father used to have boxing theme nights where he would show some old time boxing fights and the famous boxers who used to come along would tell us some great stories. Henry Cooper came in a few times as he was friends with my Dad. They used to train together in the Gym above the Thomas A Beckett Pub, in the Old Kent Road.
On Thursday nights we used to have a little known band called Chas & Dave who went on to become quite famous !! On Friday, Saturday and Sunday night there was always live music and the customers would be encouraged to get up and sing, some were really good, one man who stood out for me was Bertie Dawltry he owned a fish stall in Roman Road market, he always sang "Won't you come home Bill Bailey" and the customers used to love it. My father always used to finish off every night with a couple of Perry Como songs before ringing the bell for "time gentleman please"
We used to hold lots of events such as an annual pram race around all the local pubs for charity. There were 2 darts teams, a shove halfpenny yeam, bar skittle team and a cribbage team. We also had the best tug of war team in Bethnal Green!
Our pub was due to be pulled down in 1975 along with all the old shops along side us in Bonner Street and the terraced houses on the corner of Bonner Street in Royston Street, but because the pub was so popular with the locals the Council decided to leave it. So at one stage all the houses and shops were pulled down and our pub was the only thing left standing on the corner !! The pub stood all alone for about 8 years until they finally started building new houses around it again. I think the pub lost all its character when the new houses were built around it, I preferred it when it was surrounded by the little 2 up 2 down Victorian terraced houses which would have been worth a lot more money today than the ones they have built to replace them.
I am sure that the pub was haunted as me and my brother used to hear heavy footsteps in the night above our upstairs bedroom, it sounded as though someone was walking on the roof. We later found out that there used to be another floor on the building but was probably bomb damaged during the war and taken down. There was also rumoured to be a tunnel in the cellar which linked the pub with the Bishops big house (now the London Chest Hospital) in Bonner Road!
Paul Woodman (Dec 2011)

Do you have any anecdotes, historical information or photographs of this pub? Become a contributor and submit them here.
Like this site? Recommend us via the social networking share button on the left hand side of the page, or follow us on or

Were you a customer, publican or member of staff at this pub? Add your email contact details here and let past regulars get in touch.

Name Dates Comments
Paul Woodman 1970-79 My parents and I would love to hear from any old customers.
Pat Beasley (Blewett) 1975 Regular customer and played for the ladies darts team.
Other Photos
Publicans Freddie (right) and Rita (left) Woodman with Henry Cooper.

Picture source: Paul Woodman