Guide to East London

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The Golden Lion

London Borough of Havering, High Road, Romford, Essex
Tel: (0) 1708 740081
BritRail: Romford

The Golden Lion which dates back to 1440 when it was known at 'Le Lion', is probably Romford's most historic building. Inhereted as the 'Red Lion' by the Elizabethan philospher and statesman, Francis Bacon in 1600 it is remembered today as a typical 19th century Essex coaching inn.

The Golden Lion stands at the edge of Romford Market, at the old crossroads where South Street meets the High Road and becomes North Street (formerly part of Collier Row Lane), that would take the traveller directly to the former Royal Palace in Havering.

The pub's lease granted in 1791 decribes it as having 'yards, gardens, coach houses, stables, brew houses, sheds, cuthouses, all roads, ways, paths, passages, waters, posts, pails, lights, casements, ... mines, gravel ... timber trees and fruit trees.'

A nineteenth century advertisement for the pub referred to it as being 'an old established and well frequented Inn, containing on the upper floors - nine bedchambers and three sitting rooms for company. On the lower floor - a coffee room, bar, two parlours, store-room, kitchen and cellaring'.

The Golden Lion survived both World Wars and a 1956 Compulsory Purchase order for Highway improvements. From the outside the pub retains its overhanging upper story, inside are original tudor wooden beams, seriously uneven ceilings, walls and floors. Local historian Brian Evans tells me that a ghost haunts the upstairs toilets.

The pub is a treasure amidst a town ruined by the 'modern developments' of the 1960s.

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