Thursday, 18 November 2010


"Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford." — Dr Samuel Johnson

One of the characteristics of having an episodic memory* is that it allows individuals to project themselves back in time and recollect many aspects of their previous experiences.

I first visited the Artillery Arms in 1976 as a young man in my late teens. One of the reasons I come back here from time to time – when opportunity allows – is to recall memories of those days as a junior member of staff - volunteering to go to the fish and chip shop in nearby Whitecross Street on the last Friday of the month. As a perquisite for undertaking this task I felt I was entitled to while away 30mins or so in the Artillery – whilst the chippy prepared and wrapped the bundles of food for the half dozen or so hungry and expectant office seniors. Fish and chips how they should be! One of the reasons I am always drawn to the pub and the Cosy Fish Bar is that neither establishment has fundamentally changed in the interceding 35 years – other than the prices. Sadly the same cannot be said of me.

I have no doubt that my work colleagues of so many years ago will now be very elderly or else passed away. The next youngest person to me at the time was Chris and he was in his mid-thirties in 1976. I don’t fully understand what episodic memory is all about – but I know I have it – and I’m sure that most of the memory-related episodes would be trifling to the majority of people if they were made aware of them. However those excursions across Bunhill Row cemetery to the pub on Fridays remain fresh in my memory – along with the associated feeling of contentment and fondness for those days. Because the pub and its surroundings are just as they were all those years ago - the memories seem more acute. Here’s to the next visit...


The Artillery Arms                              
102 Bunhill Row
Tel: 0207 253 4683

* Tulving, E. (2002). Episodic memory: From mind to brain. Annual Review of Psychology, 53, pp 1-25.