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Hearts Of Oak

Hearts Of Oak bar at Christmas

   Picture source: Ian Glasby

The Hearts Of Oak was situated at 36-38 Dock Street. This pub was built in 1860 and an early owner was Henry Booth, one of the founders of West Ham United Football Club.  It had been a Courage Brewery pub, but closed and was demolished in 2002.
Stephen Harris
Douglas White, my great-grandfather was the landlord by 1881. His sister-in-law, Mary Pendock was registered there and seems to have taken over from him as landlady, staying there until sometime between 1901 and 1911. She stayed single and then retired to her niece Daisy’s home in Cheam before returning to live with her other niece Lily who was living at The Bird Cage, 58 Stamford Hill, which she had taken over from her father, Douglas. Mary died in March 1920 at the age of 77.
Nigel Scott (February 2014)
Our parents, (Raymond) John Glasby and Betty (Elizabeth Margaret) Glasby, ran the Hearts of Oak from 1972 until 1992.
In the early days many of the regulars came from Wapping (especially Matilda House), Cable St and surrounding areas. We had darts teams and a football team. The Hearts of Oak was also a home from home for a lot of merchant seaman, who stayed at the Red Ensign club opposite and would drink like... well, sailors on leave.
The pub was popular with the staff of the Co-Op bank in Leman St as well as other local businesses.
Dad's Sunday lunchtime seafood spread was widely appreciated and dragged in fans of cockles, whelks, rollmops and prawns from all over the East End.
During the printers strike at News International we were besieged by the sacked workers, bursting at the seams with thirsty laid-off printers. Dad in turn, being a former Docker and union man, supported the pickets, providing supplies for their makeshift HQ caravan.
Sadly in the latter days business dropped off, as seems to have been the case with most East End pubs, until it was no longer a going concern. Mum and Dad moved out in 1992 and I don't think that it opened as a pub again after that.
Ian and Lee Glasby, Julie Savva, nee Glasby (March 2014)
From The Anchor Magazine, 1947:
Tower of London, St. Katherines Docks, Wapping Old Stairs, Whitechapel, Shadwell. "Not", you may say, "my cup of tea". Well, come and meet Mr. and Mrs. Cavanagh who keep a happy house plumb in the middle of the places mentioned.
In the shadow of storied warehouses, vast blocks of offices, the gaping wounds of the Blitz, and amid the hurly-burly of the London Docks, the Cavanaghs have made a home from home for many a man from the sea. It is very often the first port of call for scores of seafarers, who know by experience that at The Hearts Of Oak they will get a welcome and a first=class glass of beer.
Those who are steeped in the more lurid fiction of the East End no doubt imagine that the permanent background of a public house in this part of London consists of undesirable Orientals, knife-throwing, drunken brawls and a razor gang thrown in (or shall we say thrown out?). The fact of the matter is that customers of many houses such as this can give points in behaviour to those of some West End establishments."And what," I asked, "do you do, if there IS any trouble?"
"If there's anyone in the bar not behaving properly'" replied Mrs. Cavanagh, "he goes - and quickly." Maybe its something to do with hypnotism, but the problem of "What to do with a drunken sailor" has no terrors for the Cavanaghs.
Dockers, Lightermen, Carmen and Seamen naturally form the bulk of their custom, and a decent lot they are.
This Barclays & Perkins pub was leased to my mother, Mrs Mary Briggs on the 5th November 1951 and she ran it for 11years. She was the first woman to be granted a licence in the East End, there was still gas light and no ladies toilet.s It was later bought by Courage's
Trevor Briggs (January 2020)

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