The best blue plaque to a famous person no longer up on the wall! This commemorated a former pub landlord, Joe Jenkins, who once ruled the roost behind the bar of the Newman Arms in London’s Fitzrovia. As you can see from what’s written, he was a colourful character with colourful language who spoke his mind.
And once, when the world and I were both young and full of hope, he exploded with rage at my then-boyfriend and me for having a harmless little snog.
He didn’t need to tell us to “get outta ma pub!” as Peggy, the landlady of the fictional British TV soap watering hole the Queen Vic in “East Enders” would have said. We were so embarrassed we hastily abandoned the rest of our drinks and scuttled off.
To our great glee, we later discovered that before it was a pub, there had been a brothel on that site, which somewhat put our harmless little lip-smacker into perspective!
The real-life pub made it onto the big screen in a scary 1960s film about voyeurism called “Peeping Tom” and had some famous tipplers in its time, although not necessarily when Joe was in charge.
Those who once propped up the bar were literary giants Dylan Thomas, George Orwell and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill no less! It’s thought that when Orwell penned his novel “1984”, he based the fictional Proles’ Pub on the Newman Arms and that it featured again in his other masterpiece, “Keep the Aspidistra Flying”.
I’m glad I managed to get a photo of this wonderful humorous sign that showed regulars’ appreciation and love for their grumpy landlord – even though looking at it always reminds me of the time I incurred old Joe’s wrath!
I am now a very well-behaved London Blue Badge Tourist Guide, I assure you! So I hope one day soon you’ll visit London and come on tour with me. Our trip could include a pub or two – with or without necking couples!