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Home > London > SE18 > Percy Arms

Percy Arms

Picture source: Len Thorpe

The Percy Arms was situated at 187 Maxey Road.
Although I lived practically opposite the pub, at 192 Maxey Road since a baby in 1947 my drinking days only started after I joined the army in 1964, and the pub was owned and run by John & Bridie Tully from Ireland.
The best pub night was on a Saturday, when Vie the pianist came in, and everyone would have a good old singsong. Sometimes we would even have who we called ‘the music-man’ bring in his accordion whilst different people sang. His favourite tune was called ‘I am the music man’. Sometimes everyone would sing, but then you had the regular ‘solo’ slots. Joe Ward would always sing ‘A shanty in old shantytown’ while banging the bottom of the bar with his foot, and you could almost tell the time by what was being sung, because it was nearly always the same every week. All the old timers used to sing songs like ‘Daisy, Daisy’, ‘You are my sunshine’, ‘If you were the only girl in the world’, etc., etc., and it was all bloomin’ good fun. On one occasion, when the Duffy’s (an Irish family who had the little shop next to the pub at the time), had family visitors over from Ireland, they were all in the Percy drinking, and my brother Charlie and me took a ukulele and a tin whistle in and had a bit of a session playing Irish songs together, with them all singing along – it was great fun. Charlie and I have lots of good memories of these times, and Charlie was a long-time member of their darts team. I would have a game when they were short of a player, but Charlie was really good at it, and played at loads of local pubs in ‘away’ games.
My drink in The Percy started off as just Brown Ale, because that’s what dad used to drink indoors, but soon went on to Red Barrel bitter, and I have mostly stuck with bitter throughout, although different breweries had different names for their own beers. If I drank in the Lord Raglan, it used to be Double Diamond, but I’ve also had Courage Tavern keg and lots of other bitters, lagers, scrumpy cider (mostly while in the army), and the occasional whisky, rum or brandy! Sounds pretty terrible but I wasn’t really that bad!
Previous landlords of the ‘Percy’ in my time were: George & Midge Hawkins with a dog called Buddy, who used to eat stones, I swear we could hear them rolling about in his belly! George was a typical old time landlord; he used to wear a white jacket and always looked a real professional. They were the furthest back I can remember, and then came a man on his own, Joe Worcester, who had a northern accent (Lancashire?), for whom I used to go to the shops at Barnfield Gardens to get his tin of snuff when he wanted it. He had a dirty moustache, which was always caked with snuff! Thankfully I was too young to be using the pub then, apart from the ‘Off Sales’ bar where anyone could go to get cigarettes, crisps, soft drinks, sweets, etc. In those days, crisps only came in one flavour – ‘crisps’, (made by Smith’s) and you would get a little twist of blue paper inside with salt in if you wanted to use it, all you had to do was open the twist inside your bag and then shake it. Now days they have re-created them and called it ‘Salt’n’shake’. Next were an Irish couple called Pat & Margaret McQuaid, with two (?) children. I was to meet Pat & Margaret again around 1975 when I used their next pub ‘The Eagle’ in Red Lion Lane.
I believe the Percy was demolished sometime during the early 1970’s, as my parents had moved to Eltham in 1969, and although I came out of the army in 1971, I didn’t return to the area until around 1974 and had a big shock to find it gone!
Although my old house - and indeed the whole of the west side of our part of old Maxey Road is still lived in, it was renamed Congleton Villas after the rebuilding works, - all of the east side was demolished and new flats built in place.
Len Thorpe (January 2012)
I am the daughter of John and Bridie Tully who owned and ran the Percy Arms from the early 1960s until it was demolished in the 1970s.  I have many happy memories of living here; our dog Sheeba sitting on the front step of the pub and all the local children sitting with her and stroking her.  I can remember when the local darts team use to go on their annual 'Beano' a day out to the seaside on a coach with the boot of the coach filled up with crates of beer and sandwiches.  I remember Len Thorpe and his brother Charlie who lived opposite; I grew up with Charlie and he married my friend Patsy McCabe who lived next door to me.
Kathy Grabowski (February 2012)
Myself mum & dad lived at 189 maxey rd right next door to the pub , the color pic shows half an arch to a front door which was ours lol i used to sit on that wall every day waiting for john tully to call me in help with setting up the barrels even though i was only about 7 in the cellor he had a cupboard at a darker part of the cellor where he used to frighten the life out of me he had a glove hidden in it which was massive and grab me with it lol remember playing out the front with sheeba. remember most of the neighbours opposite, eg the davis family jim,sylvie,john,ian,linda etc, the simmons family john maureen,john & simon. and also the indian family, jasper was great with his glass eye.
Gary Turner (September 2017)

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Name Dates Comments
Kathleen Grabowski 1964 to 1970s Daughter of John & Bridie Tully.
Gyfford King-Spooner 1950s/1960s Would like to hear from other Maxey Road residents of this period.
Len Thorpe 1950-1969  
Other Photos
Date of photo: c.1966

Picture source: Len Thorpe