Monday, 30 July 2007

The Railway Tavern (Cundy’s), Silvertown, E16





Description: Derlict corner site. Plants growing out of upper story, lower story painted blue. No signage whatsover other than landlords name painted on front door frame in what looks like tippex. Empty pub sign swinging in the wind. ALL windows broken and mended with cling film with stained heavy half nets behind. Pub has a couple of medium-rise blocks behind, a pot holed street in front and the ghostly single track Silverlink North London train line beyond. The next stop is the end of the line. Main door is on corner of plot and has a roll-down beaten steel shutter. There’s no door behind this once it’s opened. Side door to same room also has a roll down shutter. This is half open and legs can be seen of the drinkers already positioned for a pre-opening taste at the bar. Inside is fading grandeur. Chipped columns rise behind the L-shaped bar, mismatched chairs are dotted around and grubby red velvet booths hug the walls, many repaired with gaffer tape from deep knife wounds. Raised pool table area at the back has missing wall lights, damp down one wall, and scribbled signs about drug use on the premises. It’s patrolled over via a fish eye mirror strategically placed above the bar. There was a very small stage to one side by the main entrance that had a knackered unplugged TV perched on it. Behind the bar is a very flashy Guinness promotional screen and on the wall is a new digital jukebox – both utterly at odds with the rest of the scene.

Action: Whilst nervously hovering by the shuttered front door we’re approached by a bare chested black bloke asking if we’re waiting for it to open? We asked if it was open already and he said to try the side (half opened shutter). He waits for us to go in. At the bar four drinkers look to be on their second of the day. All look to have a thirst. The landlord is a red faced weasely, but quite nice, bloke with the shakes and an aussie rugby shirt on. Asked him if he knew of a pub called ‘The Gun’ in Silvertown – a tip we’d had for a horrowshow of a boozer. He replied saying there’s no Gun, but plenty of guns in Silvertown. We hurried to the pool area and loaded in 50p. The available only cues had tips missing. Asked the landlord and one wag at the end of the bar said you have to bring your own. The landlord compromised saying there should be half a cue with a decent tip knocking around up there. Played one game under the lazy watchful eyes of the half naked black man – returned to the pub with a bottle of coke from the shop across the street – and left before the real customers arrived.

10 comments:

George Walks said...

Reminds me of The Malt Shovel that my brother and I regrettably ventured into in Beeston, Nottingham. The barmaid immediately said, 'Two Cokes is it lads?'. We then started playing pool when about ten big blokes came over to watch us standing approximately 1 inch away from the table. We didn't have a second round...

BLTP said...

My only worry about this excellent site (which I will read fully at my leisure) is that its just shopping list for those slimy soulsucking scum called "property developers" to go round hovering up these pub sites and turning them into flats! When my camera phone's mended I'll track down some tasty choices for you. Keep up the good work and Keep Britain slighly shabby, where plastic bags still fly from our trees and there's a black bag taped over the broken pane in the gents

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, I remember this place well. We used to head over on Thursday nights as our digs were nearby. Never had any bother but we didn't look twice at anyone coming through the door...
It didn't even have a name for a while there!

Anonymous said...

we made sure we wiped our feet on the way out too...

Anonymous said...

well i liked this pub, it might have been an eyesore but the locals were friendy.

Mark said...

This pub has now closed. The owners were prosecuted by Newham Council for Housing Benefit overpayments of £10,000.

Mr. Jones said...

Visited midweek (along with the Sir John in Poplar):

Went across the water on the Woolwich Ferry - the area of North Woolwich and Silvertown is not exactly glamorous. An area heavily reliant on shipping in days of yore is now looking very tired.

Cundy's is a very, very intimidating sight. Even while boarded-up. The blue paint is now peeling off at an alarming rate; the windows and doors boarded with those solid metal panels at ground level, wooden boarding at first floor level.

One can only imagine the peril of negotiating this place and the surrounding streets after dark - it's not something you'd choose to do.

Outside the pub, the railway line has been lying derelict since closure in 2006. Silvertown station is immediately opposite Cundy's, and is largely intact - a ramp leads up to the old platform where access is blocked off but easily surmountable - weeds are growing, the track is rapidly disappearing in the undergrowth - it's all in keeping with the area - and all these wonders are denied sunlight by the towering presence of the Tate&Lyle factory behind.

I don't doubt for one moment that the interior of the pub remains intact behind such an horrific facade.

Trampilot said...

I went for a long walk around the docks 2-3 years ago. I took a photo of the pub which displayed a hand written poster claiming "Exotic Dancers 7-11". The place looked terrifying.

Anonymous said...

I lived in the new flats just next to here in 2005 during my student days. Cundy's was intimidating and non of my mates would ever go in but I often did with my flatmate. They had cheap Stella, everyone was incredibly friendly in fact once I needed to find a place in the East End and it seemed everyone in the pub was queuing up help me find it. They even put Rugby League on the big screen for me if I asked!

Mr. Jones said...

Alas, Cundy's has been demolished and the whole plot is in the process of being re-built as a block of houses, several storeys high.

I couldn't help but feel as though the community had lost something; then again it'll probably be to their eternal gain.