Projects >


Pubs have been a major part of the London landscape for hundreds of years: they name junctions – Bell Corner, Green Man – are meeting places and social hubs. Most of us have used them, but the licensed trade is going through profound change as health concerns and societal shifts transform these former centres of local social life.

Our long-established title Behind the Bar: the licensed trade in Waltham Forest is being published as it develops.

It is a major work of research running to 600 pages and 200,000 words, which has taken more than 15 years of work so far, and it’s still growing.

A new and expanded version has just been published to reflect changes made by the Covid pandemic and the big increase in micro-breweries over the past few years, and you can download it here.

Here’s a map of the pubs and breweries featured in “Behind the Bar” – you can open the map in full-screen [button top right of the header section] and zoom in and out for detail.  You can print the map – and individual entries include snippets of history.  Pubs and breweries open and close, and change their names – so this isn’t a guide or recommendation to current pubs!

See the panels from the Vestry House exhibition in 2013.

We still would like to hear from anyone who has:

  • been a local publican
  • worked behind the bar
  • collected glasses
  • been part of a family in the licensed trade
  • or had any other connection with the business.

Behind the Bar has a list of all the pubs in the borough since the Middle Ages, and there were many of them. If you know any more details, or if you have any comments or suggestions on Behind the Bar, do get in touch.