The Prince Alfred Public House

The Prince Alfred, on the corner of Tobago St and Manilla St, started life as a beerhouse (unlicensed premises allowed to sell only beer)  before being rebuilt as a pub in 1906 for Truman, Hanbury, Buxton & Company. Not a remarkable pub, but its history is typical for the Island.

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Mike Payne (in pubshistory.com) said of the pub:

[It] was taken over by my great aunt and her husband in the 1920’s. He was Arthur Albert Tennuci and had been a Sergeant in the Dragoon Guards. He died in 1928 and the pub was kept on by his wife Fanny Elizabeth, nee Skinner, until her death in 1939. She obviously had the assistance of a male barman as the clientele were quite rough! There is an entry for her in the Post Office Directory for London in 1934 and 1938 where she is listed as a beer retailer at 22 Tobago Street.

It was during this period that the following photo was taken outside the pub (I recommend that you click on the c1930 photo to see it in all its full-size glory).

The sign on the floor says C & E Morton, Millwall, 2nd Annual Outing. Peter Wright received the photo from his former neighbour, the late Fred Marsh. Fred’s in the photo – 4th to the left of the sign….the shorter man, with a big moustache and his right leg slightly angled to his right.

Morton's Outing, Tobago St. Prince Alfred pub is behind centre of rightmost charabanc. 15327267517

Peter says of Fred:

All us kids knew him and I went to see him in his house in Parsonage St about 1965 where he was bedridden….he gave me a packet of 10 Senior Service which looked like he bought them in the 1920’s!…..he died about 1965.

If you look to the right of the photo, you will see the Prince Alfred in the background. Here zoomed in:

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Like many Island pubs, the Prince Alfred was seriously damaged during WWII. The two neighbouring houses in Tobago St were damaged and demolished not long after the war. The Trumans sign on the first floor is pointing potential customers to the Blacksmith’s Arms on West Ferry Rd (now a restaurant).

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The neighbouring houses on Manilla St were destroyed, exposing the top floor of the pub to the elements.

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By 1985 only the front walls were still standing (left in this image of Manilla St).

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In 1995, Peter Wright filmed the streets around Tobago St and Manilla St, before the whole area was flattened. These screenshots show the remains of the Prince Alfred.

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Today, the surrounding area has been redeveloped, but this small piece of land is still to be built upon (construction preparation has started, though).

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This short sequence of “Then & Now” photos (same view, zooming out) shows just how much the immediate and wider area has changed since the 1950s.

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And if the Morton’s works outing group should reappear in Tobago St (again, click for big)….

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4 Responses to The Prince Alfred Public House

  1. Diane says:

    Hi, Just found your blog via another about the Isle of Dogs – and I love it. We have only just recently discovered the East End of London and the Isle of Dogs and I find it a fascinating place. It has gone through the same changes as our industrial parts of Sheffield have gone through except London gets all the investment whilst we get none – although I realise now that this investment seldom takes into account the needs of the inhabitants of the area. Keep up the great work – you make me want to visit again soon. Earlier in 2014 my hubby and I walked from Limehouse along the wall to Island gardens. We loved the history that we discovered and it made us want to know more. My initial interest stems from the books and TV series by Jenny Worth “Call the midwife” . I find social history the most interesting kind of history.

    • Micky Lemons says:

      Thanks for your kind comments, Diane. It’s also good to hear from someone who is interested in the history of the Island, and sees something meaningful beyond the shiny new office blocks. I made a simple website which points to related sites, blogs and Facebook groups. Perhaps also of interest to you? Cheers, Mick.

  2. Diane says:

    I’ll take a look – thank you.

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