The George Inn, is a public house established in the medieval period on Borough High Street on the south side of the River Thames near London Bridge. Currently owned and leased by the National Trust, it is the only surviving galleried London coaching inn and is by far the oldest pub in London.. The first map of Southwark circa 1543 clearly shows it marked as ‘George’. It was formerly known as the ‘George and Dragon’, named after the legend of Saint George slaying the Dragon. In 1677, the George was rebuilt after a serious fire that destroyed most of medieval Southwark.
The George was one of the many famous coaching inns in the days of Charles Dickens. Dickens in fact visited the George and referred to it in his novel ‘Little Dorrit’. It is thought that the Galleried Inns were the inspiration of the original theatres, that the Players were on a dais in the Courtyard with the standing audience next to them and that those paying a premium would be in the Galleries with a better view.
Those in need of liquid refreshment can relax in various sections of the building, including The Old Bar, once a waiting room for passengers and The Middle Room, where Charles Dickens used to drink. The former bedrooms were upstairs in the galleried part of the building. The upstairs was converted and is now a restaurant with exposed beams, tapestries, old maps and portraits of characters such as David Beaton, the Archbishop of St. Andrews from 1539-1546, and Shakespeare both former guests.
Steeped in mystery and tales from bygone eras, you can almost hear the horse drawn coaches rolling in and out of the Inn.
For further details go to www.george-southwark.co.uk/
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