Book explores north London pub names

4:22 PM August 28, 2022

4:23 PM August 28, 2022

Inspired by lockdown walks, two Londoners have written a book exploring the origins of pub names.

What’s in a London Pub Name?, by Sam Cullen and James Potts, was compiled last April and published by Capital History this year.

Although they visited all 32 London boroughs and the City of London, certain areas are hotspots. 

“North London has some fascinating pub names, with stories going back across the capital’s history” said James.

“For example, we have The Flask in both Highgate and Hampstead which gets its name from the water of Hampstead Well, which in the 18th century was sold for medicinal purposes. It was bottled up in flasks in the pubs before being sold around London.

“There is also the Beaten Docket in Cricklewood which remembers losing betting slips, hinting at the area’s horseracing past.

“Then in Camden we have Tapping the Admiral, referencing the toast the sailors of HMS Victory gave to their deceased captain, Lord Nelson, who was inside the barrel of brandy they were drinking from.”

The book is on sale now at

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