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Home > London > N7 > Alfred Tavern

Alfred Tavern



The Alfred Tavern was situated at 47 Roman Way. Now demolished.
Source: T C
I was born at 18 Sonning Street, Barnsbury, London, N7 in February, 1932. Roman Way was at the top end, and on the left-hand corner was the Alfred pub, the local for most of the immediate area. My father, Frederick Williams, my mother, Hilda, and my sister, Gladys, lived on the first floor of a four-storey terraced house rented by my paternal grandmother, Charlotte, who lived on the ground floor and in the basement, where the cooking was done. Her son, Charlie, who was disabled, also slept in the basement. On the second floor lived my paternal aunt, Sarah, her husband and my uncle, Jack Sellens, and their children, John and Lottie. My father was a member of the Alfred darts team, which competed in the annual News Of The World pub darts championship, and had a reputation as a top-class “arrowsman.” Although the Alfred had a snug to accommodate wives and girl-friends, the women of our house seldom used it. Instead, my sister (and later myself) would be sent to the snug with a two-pint enamel jug to be filled with Watney’s mild ale, or sometimes a mixture of brown and mild called a Black-and-Tan. This was shared between my grandmother, my mother, Aunt Sal and Uncle Charlie (who wasn’t allowed to go to the pub) as the women sat around the eternal flame of the cooking-range in the basement, knitting, darning, sewing and gossiping while Uncle Charlie tended the canaries and linnets he kept in cages on the wall beside his curtained bed. The darts team had a yearly Sunday charabanc outing to the seaside, which was a red-letter day for local children, including me, Gladys, John and Lottie. We gathered outside the Alfred on the appointed day, waiting for the charabanc to arrive and be loaded up with crates of beer and cardboard boxes of ham-and-cucumber sandwiches to ward off starvation before the party got to Southend, Margate, Ramsgate or wherever. This was hardly necessary as the darts team and their supporters had been stoking-up on both inside the Alfred for some time already. When they did finally climb aboard, it was the big moment for we watching-and-waiting kids. Windows were lowered and somewhat slurred warnings of “Look out Nob, it’s your birthday!” and “Catch hold, kids!” were shouted as handfuls of copper and silver coinage were tossed out. Much scrambling, hair-pulling, face-scratching, elbowing, kicking and biting ensued, with everybody getting something before the charabanc departed with much honking, cheering, whistling and waving. We were all in bed and fast asleep long before the charabanc returned with its occupants even more deeply asleep than we were.
Fred Williams (October 2016)

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