Inspired by Pete Brown’s latest book ‘Shakespeare’s Local’, I decided to make the small detour to Southwark on my latest trip to London in order to visit the main subject of the book The George Inn. At a recent book reading at The Thatchers Arms Pete asked who had visited The George, I was sad to be in the minority who hadn’t.
As I made my way through the streets between London Bridge Station and The George I find myself recalling portions of the book, Borough has always been a hive of activity, the entrance to the city of London and the last stop before leaving. The constant hustle and bustle, locals, tourists, commuters, students, cars, busses, trains, Boris bikes all whizzing past with the dull whirring blades of a helicopter hovering over the borough, nothing has changed. The smells of a dozen cultures pour out of cafes and restaurants. The Shard looms dominantly overhead keeping a watchful eye on its new Kingdom while tourists flock with cameras to capture the glassy protrusion. Round the corner on to Borough High Street and just up ahead, a small sign ‘The George’. I turn into the courtyard with its balistrades and benches and the whirring and whizzing stops, replaced by the hum of conversation, the sounds of a dozen languages instead of the smells of their cultures. Men and women, old and young, drinking wine and beer, coffee and soft drinks, a bar snack, a meal, The George services them all just as it always has.
I write this as I sup a pint of their eponymous ale, not bad, pretty good actually, nothing to write home about in itself, but it shouldn’t be, the pub is the star, afterall it has been here since… well it’s complicated, you’ll need to read Pete’s book to find that out.