Sunday 31 August 2008

Down with the nation's princess, up with the local mistress

Who would have thought that the name of a local pub could be so controversial - and not just today.

On the corner of Belsize Road and Abbey Road is The Cricketers pub - this is not a new pub but it is a new name.

Now I'm nostalgic and like 'old things' but I find it a real shame that pub names are just changed like this. But of course in this case it's not a new thing...

The pub is in fact built under Emminster House and came into existence in 1969 with the redevelopment of the estate. But before that the pub was the Princess of Wales.

Now I suspect that the Cricketers is a marketing play to make the pub more of a venue for those wanting to watch sport, and a calculation the people today don't know who Lillie Langtry was.

But of course the great historical and local connection is that Alexandra Road - just over the road is indeed after the Princess of Wales and dates from her marriage to the future King in 1863. But of course one of the residents of Alexandra Road ironically was the future mistress Lillie Langtry, the story goes that Prince Edward actaully visited Lillie here at Leighton House (now gone).

The interesting short-hand relating to the pub here is that the change the name of the pub from Princess of Wales to the Lillie Langtry was to replace the wide of Edward VII with his mistress!

All good story telling stuff - my interest now is that the pub sign doesn't just disappear with the change to The Cricketers.

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