Monday, 8 October 2012


Would you Adam and Eve it?
The Queen Mum pulling a pint of Young's and then downing her pig's ear in an East End rub-a-dub-dub!
Whatever next? Her Maj parachuting into a sports stadium! The third in line to the throne caught stark-bollock naked in a Nevada hotel? Surely, not!
Well in July 1987 the unthinkable happened. Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, in one of her many visits to London's East End visited the Queen's Head and not only served herself a pint of Young's but was game enough to quaff it, proclaiming "Never mind the champagne, this is much better!”.
It had not been part of the protocol for the day of course, but the Queen Mother proved a willing barmaid. At one time a polished brass plaque commemorating this event was sited on the pillar next to the handpump she used - is it still there? A photograph of the pint pulling episode seemed to feature in just about every Young's pub soon after, as I remember...

It has been suggested that York Square (pictured), on the corner of which sits the Queen's Head, was the model for Albert Square in BBC TV's EastEnders, and that the Queen's Head is actually the pub the Queen Vic was based on.  I don't know about that, but the pub is a Grade II-listed building (built 1855) in an elegant Georgian residential square of Regency style terraced houses. The square was given conservation status in 1973 and this was further extended in area to form the York Square Conservation Area of 2008.
In the mid 1980's the CAMRA East London and City Beer Guide described the pub as one of only two Young's pubs in Tower Hamlets (the other was/is the Coborn Arms which was taken over by Young's in 1984), and the QH was popular with locals, with darts available in the Public Bar (one of two rooms). The fact it was tied to Young's brewery was its USP as far as I was concerned. It could be cliquey though... 
Without a doubt the QH is what you would once call a typical East End boozer, off Commercial Road and near Limehouse.

Since the substantial redevelopment of London's East End in the Docklands, together with the encroachment of the City to beyond Aldgate East, a lot, in fact a helluva lot of traditional pubs like the Queen's Head have gone.
It now seems that the Queen’s Head is facing closure as part of a wider property sell-off by Tower Hamlets Council. The pub is being put up for sale along with the Blue Anchor in Bow and the Old Ship in nearby Shadwell. The future of the pub is uncertain as new owners have the opportunity to either continue the lease or end it and redevelop the site, as has happened to countless other pubs in the area.


Queen's Head
  8 Flamborough Street,
Tel: 0207 791 2504
Nearest tube: Limehouse DLR
'Buses: 15, 115, 135, D3

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