Since medieval times Fleet Street has been renowned for its profusion of taverns. Located in Fleet Street not far from Ludgate Hill you will find The Old Bell Tavern. Stepping into The Old Bell you will discover a traditional pub of unique character offering an eclectic range of real ales and quality pub food.
The Old Bell Tavern has a long history. For more than 300 years it has been a licensed tavern. The original building was destroyed in 1666 during the Great Fire of London. However Sir Christopher Wren rebuilt the inn for his masons, who were working on St. Bride’s Church. The church looms over the pub. Wren was the architect responsible for rebuilding much of London including St Pauls Cathedral. St. Bride’s Church itself is thought to have been the inspiration for the traditional tiered wedding cake.
Prior to Wren’s rebuilding, the Tavern had several other names. In 1500, when it was known as the Sun, Wynkyn de Worde installed a printing press there. Wynkyn de Worde was a former assistant to England’s first printer William Caxton. Books printed there were ‘emprynted at the sygne of the Sun Flete Strete’.
The tavern soon attracted reporters and printers working in Fleet Street’s burgeoning newspaper industry. Newspaper men had a reputation for drinking and many may have scrawled out their copy in the tavern. The hacks have long-since vanished and have been replaced by office workers.
At one time the tavern could only be reached via an alleyway from Fleet Street. The front has colourful stained-glass windows and a stone floor, which gives it an appropriate medieval feel. By the bar, a framed copy of a Daily Mail proclaims ‘St Paul’s stands unharmed in the midst of the burning city’, which was published on the morning after the Blitz.
For more information go to http://www.nicholsonspubs.co.uk/restaurants/london/theoldbelltavernfleetstreetlondon
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