White Hart Inn, Bishopsgate


Above: A view of the pub in 1999 with the cream-coloured facade, just north of St Botolph without Bishopsgate. To the right of the red ‘Colorama’ sign is the old entrance  to the yard of the inn.

In 2014 I published a ‘Bishopsgate Walk 2’ in which the old inn was featured. I had little idea than that the pub, within a Georgian building, was about to be closed and the property redeveloped, keeping the exterior but building offices behind the facade. So, here’s one final look at this grand survivor from a Georgian age before ‘the rot’ sets in.

The earliest mention was in 1480 as an inn ‘next until the parish church of St Botolph without Bishopsgate’. In 1657 it was referred to a the ‘White Hart at Bedlan Gate’. In the 18th century it was used as a coaching inn. The entrance to the yard remains as evidence – to the left of the pub on Bishopsgate. The inn was rebuilt 1829 and is typically Georgian in its design, with large regular windows set into an elegant but plain exterior wall. The address is 119-121 Bishopsgate, EC2. It stands on the southern side of the T-junction of Liverpool Street with Bishopsgate.

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Above: To anyone who has ever seen a John Maggs painting of coaches, the style is unmistakable. Here we see a Royal Mail coach with four high-spirited horses outside the old White Hart Inn. It appears that the two figures on the right are either another passenger with his goods or two men carrying extra luggage to the coach. The inn is a grand Tudor-style building with bow windows. The artist has also correctly recorded the date ‘1480’ which was to be seen high up on the exterior.

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Above: Another famous artist was Thomas Hosmer Shepherd who made this engraving of the inn when it was still in its Tudor state.

In 2011, permission was granted by the City of London to demolish all but the facade of the White Hart Inn and in 2014 the pub closed for the last time. The new development will be a nine storey cylindrical office block of questionable design, developed by Sir Alan Sugar’s company Amsprop. As of 2015 the pub is covered with scaffolding.


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