Above: The sign board of the pub, photographed a few years ago.
All over England there are some really unusual names for pubs and London has a great collections of additional names to offer.
On such name is ‘Simon the Tanner’ a Victorian building standing towards the eastern end of Long Lane, Bermondsey. To find a pub named after the trade of tanning is no real surprise when the principal trade in Bermondsey was processing hides from many types of animal and preparing them for sale in the now disused Leather Market. Even as late as the 1970s, tanning of hides was still taking place. Anyone walking along Bermondsey Street was only too aware of the tanneries because of the foul smells that came from the buildings where the trade was practised.
The pub dates from the 1820s. It may be even older. The name ‘Simon the Tanner’ comes from the Bible where, in Acts 9 v43 and 10 v6, a reference is made to “Simon a tanner of Joppa”. It was an obvious name for the pub.
The address of the pub is 321 Long Lane, SE1. It stands on the north side of the lane. From the 1970s onwards the pub went through a long periods of uncertainty, with several occasions when it was closed. It is good news to be able to report that the lease of the pub was purchased by the local United St Saviour’s Charity and has reopened as pub some time in 2013. When so many pubs are closing these days, it is encouraging to see a pub keeping its old name and continuing to serve the local community.