The Blind Beggar

IMG_2294337 Whitechapel Road, E1 1BU.

Behind the decrepit brick exterior, a more famous and infamous drinking venue in East London would be hard to find.

It’s hard to abbreviate the colourful history of The Blind Beggar because there’s so much juicy historical goodness so here’s the Sparknotes, quick-fire, last-shots-of-tequila-before-closing version:

  • Built 1894, but an inn had been on the site since at least 1654.
  • It is outside this site that William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, gave his first sermon (in 1865).
  • It’s apparently called the Blind Beggar after an old story called The Ballad of Bethnal Green that tells of how nobleman Henry de Montfort (1238-1265) who lost his sight in battle begged on the cross-roads that the pub sits on.
    • Extra for experts: this poem has a happy ending, his daughter marries for love, Henry unveils himself and gives her lots of money. Yassssss!
  • Frequented by the Kray twins, it’s the pub in which Ronnie Kray murdered rival gang member George Cornell on 9 March 1966.

It’s now very proud of its beer garden and history, with drawings and old photographs of Victorian East London adorning the walls, and a fair bit of Kray memorabilia.

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Best nearby: Mouse Tail coffee, 307 Whitechapel Road.