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Lord Napier

© Copyright Dr Neil Clifton and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

The Lord Napier was situated at 25 White Post Lane. This was an Ind Coope Brewery pub, present at Hackney Wick by 1874.  By the 1980s it was badged as a Taylor Walker pub.  It became a free house by 1991 and closed in 1995.  It has lain empty ever since.
Now reopened as The Lord Napier & Star.
Movement80 (August 2021)

The pub was licensed in 1868 under the name The White’s Arms, after the original owner Mr White, and advertised for sale shortly after.
The Morning Advertiser of 23 May 1868 said ‘the house is not yet opened for trade, but it is in the immediate neighbourhood of no less than 17 large factories, employing over 2,000 workmen, nearly the whole of whom must pass through the doors of this house going to and returning from their work.’ The idea of dropping in for a pint before work might be a bit outdated to most of us, but the pub has been a local workers’ sanctuary over the course of its century and a half.
The White’s Arms was bought from Mr White at auction shortly after, and renamed the Lord Napier after the noble Scottish family. The area around it was filled with factories and workers’ housing, and the pub was woven into everyday life as a place to relax, socialise, and most importantly, drink beer.
Right in the heart of Hackney Wick, the Lord Napier saw the area through wave upon wave of industrial toil, as well as innovation. It opened just in time to see the invention of plastic on Wallis Road at Parkesine Works in the 1860s, and sat opposite Carless Capel and Leonard Ltd, the oil refining business of 1872 to 1989 that actually coined the word ‘petrol’.
It was an Ind Coope Brewery pub for most of its lifespan, and changed to Taylor Walker in the 1980s before becoming a free house in 1991, just four years before its closure. From the 1870s till 1995, the Lord Napier was a run-of-the-mill pub in East London supplying pints to thirsty local workers. As Hackney Wick embodied the poverty-stricken East End Dickens wrote about, its pubs couldn’t be further from the gastropubs we’re so familiar with today.
Before the overground came to the Hackney Wick train line, the area was known for violence and danger. It had previously been the Victoria Park station before closing in 1943 after bomb damage from the Blitz, and the derelict station roads attracted violent crime. As much as locals remember the pub fondly for the time they spent there, the Lord Napier appeared in local and national news for robberies and assaults throughout the 20th century, and never recovered from its reputation
Anna Lezard, Roman Road London, November 2019

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Name Dates Comments
Les Drake 1969/1974 I used to live in this pub with my parents and with my brothers and sisters plus nan and grandad.
Other Photos

Picture source: John Parkin

Date of photo: 2016

Picture source: Colin Price

Date of photo: 2021

Picture source: Colin Price