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Home > London > SE18 > Director General

Director General

Date of photo: 2005

Source: Chris Mansfield


 
The Director General was situated at 55 Wellington Street. This pub has now been demolished and replaced by a Tesco Metro.
Source: Darkstar
 
The Director General was a very old school pub and had the “familiar” feel to it when you walked in. Very much populated by local council workers, people from the Kentish Independent newspaper and and also students. The pub was over 100 years old and if you ever ventured into the cellar there were still signs of its origins. There were numbers on the doors throughout the building and all the original wall gas fittings were still present. the building still had its ornate window sills ( albeit held together by paint) and the windows were all sash ones right till the end although only a couple could still be opened after 100 years of over glossing. The carpet smelt of stale beer and spilt beer which to this day still reminds me of home. Just one of those familiar smells you only get from somewhere that seems to keep a remnant of every person who visits. Old hand pump drinks were there in the form of Courage best and Directors but in a world of fast lager drinking they are slowly becoming something of a lost piece of pub history. The interior of the DG stayed very similar over the 15 years I knew it with only furniture reshuffles taking place.
The third to last owner Stanley Downs was a true old time gentleman with old school values. He was a very well known and respected character and also had owned many other public houses including the Pickwick in Charlton and the “Squire/Tigers Head” in Bromley and always dressed in a suit. He ran the pub for more years than i could guess at. He along with his very good friend Bill carried out all the refits between them including the removal of a payphone booth and half the bar which originally ran in a long oval shape.
They also removed the flat roof above the bar area without closing the pub at all. Bill used to reupholster the seats as required and carried out the work to a very high standard.
The pub saw many changes over the years and one of the most noticeable was the opening of a food bar. The food was very well prepared and cheap enough to be able to afford to eat there daily. There were many long term customers drinking there and any time of day you were sure to find or spot a familiar face, one of the two Jimmys, Slim, Geoff, old Mick to name just a few. . .
The pub itself like so many others was reputed to have been a little haunted. it was the previous owner from many years prevous who had lived there. Apparently. after his funeral ,all the locals plundered the pub and took most the pubs contents.
Don't get me wrong ,the haunting wasn't a horror story, more like someone watching over things. Doors would shut, windows would shut, staff would see people disappearing round corners or feel someone touch their shoulders. Obviously not everyone's a believer but if you walked down through the lounge when the pub was closed, about a third of the way down you'd walk through a freezing cold area. I was setting up a disco one night and discovered it. It turns out that many years later the second to last manager experienced a similar event while throwing a ball for her dog into the area in the early hours.
Barrels would just “be on racking” in the cellar despite no one being there to lift them...........the list goes on but its all irrelevant now sadly.
I lived in the pub for 15 years and moved out many many years ago and have seen many things happen to that lovely public house but the saddest day was when I drove past where it had always been only to see yet another local trade killing Tescos being built. Yet another fantastic piece of old Woolwich history destroyed to quench the ongoing need for housing people who don't even pay rent and supermarkets. Maybe one day I'll go back to have a drink in the area and see whats left of what used to be the area with more pubs per square mile than anywhere else thanks to the Arsenal and the Dockyard. I doubt it would become a regular though, just a one off to see how much history had been erased.
Rick Carver (August 2012)

 
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