Above: Looking across Rupert Street at the elegant facade of the pub.
Recorded mention of the Blue Posts pub in Rupert Street goes back to at least 1809 [Lillywhite n3729 p65]. The building was, in fact, established in 1739 [Survey of London: Volumes 31 and 32] and the exterior has an unmistakable Georgian style to it. Although its ground plan is not large it is certainly a distinctive building.
If it looks in good condition that is because the building – both inside and out – was renovated in 2018, with considerable internal changes being made. The pub is in an unusual position with one side, including the entrance, on Rupert Street and another side facing onto a passageway called Rupert Court, which runs between Rupert Street and Wardour Street.
Rupert Court has an arch from the street at either end, both being two storeys high. The passageway has small shops beside, dating from the mid-19th century, which is itself an unusual feature. Soho is fortunate to have several pubs from Georgian times and this particular building, although heavily restored, is a good example.
Above: The pub is busy at night, during evening opening hours.
Blue Posts as a Name
The name Blue Posts has been researched extensively across London with no less than 37 having been recorded on old maps and discovered in various documents. There are three pubs with the same name in Soho (which is part of the City of Westminster) today – the other two pubs in Soho are in Berwick Street and in Kingly Street. Another two are not far away – with one in the City of Westminster area of St James’s and another in the London Borough of Camden in the area known as Fitzrovia. Until recent times there were also more pubs in Central London by the same name but they are now either closed or have suffered a name change.
The pub in Rupert Street does not have a hanging sign but it is probably the only pub by that name in London which does not have one. The name is often attributed to a pair of blue posts said to mark the location of a sedan chair rank. The names of the pubs have always been in the plural – as in ‘Blue Posts’ and not ‘Blue Post’. However, why a sedan chair rank should also need a pub nearby has never really been explained.
The sedan chair theory may be a possible reason for the name ‘Blue Posts’ but the ancient custom of having coloured posts as a means of identifying the entrance to a house – prior to the numbering of streets from the 1760s – was very common. It was usual to paint door-posts or free-standing posts erected in front of a house to mark an entrance. Blue was the predominant colour. In earlier times the variant of ‘Two Blue Posts’ was also used as the name of a tavern.