London's 'smallest old pub' celebrates every landlord since 1678 with roll of honour

By James Wallin

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Public house

Linda Quintana with the roll of honour for previous landlords
Linda Quintana with the roll of honour for previous landlords
The latest in a long line of licensees at ‘London’s oldest small pub’ is celebrating a decade at the tiny watering hole.

Owned by Enterprise Inns and run by Red Car Pubs, The Bell on Bush Lane can seat no more than 16 people at once and has been operating as a pub since at least the Great Fire of London in 1666.

As Tony Barry, who took over the lease in 2004, explained, the connection with the past is still strong.

He said: “Our pub is dying breed in the City of London. It’s a very historic old boozer with olde worlde ceilings and we’ve got a roll of honour on the wall which records every landlord since 1678. It’s a small place so in the winter it’s really cosy next to the open fire and in the summer our customers take over the street outside. We have lots of regulars, so we’re hoping they’ll come along and celebrate with us.”

Red Car bought the pub from the legendary Betty Jesky in 2004. She had been landlady for the previous 40 years and finally decided to hang up her bar towel at the age of 86.

Last week the pub held a celebration with prices rolled back to their 2004 equivalents. There was also a charity raffle with prizes including a Peruvian lunch for two in the upstairs bar, cooked by Linda, the pub’s Peruvian landlady.

Enterprise Regional Manager Paul Taplin said: “The Bell is a fantastic little pub which is a shining example of how great British pubs can be – it’s all about great food, great drinks and a community feel. That’s why the team are on first-name terms with so many of their customers.”

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