There’s a good chance that you’ve been to the George Inn, on Borough High Street. It’s one of those pubs that people tend to visit even if they don’t realise that it’s London’s last remaining galleried coaching inn, it’s got so much of that indefinable thing – character. So if you’ve ever sat in the bar nearest the street on a cold and wet night and complained for the umpteenth time about why you have to go outside to get a sodding beer, this book is for you.
This book is also for you if you’re just a bit curious about the history of inns, Southwark or a fan of tangents and trivia. The history of one pub, fascinating though it is, would never stretch to 343 pages so Pete Brown expands to cover London Bridge, the development of coach travel and the railways, Southwark and Bankside and the titular Bard. All of which had or have a bearing on how the George developed, all of which are investigated with Pete’s matey charm.
For all the facts and anecdotes, it’s the author’s voice that really makes Shakespeare’s Local fun to read. Often-sarcastic footnotes and dropped-in gags (including a wonderfully stretched metaphor about the Sugababes) lend the book a feel that it’s all being told to you over a cosy pint. Which is rather fitting.
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