A toast to the working class Hackney pub – there’s not many left

PUBLISHED: 16:18 28 July 2016 | UPDATED: 16:19 28 July 2016

The Prince Edward pub is 150 years old (Picture: Dieter Perry)

The Prince Edward pub is 150 years old (Picture: Dieter Perry)

Dieter Perry

Not interested in paying upwards of £4.50 for a pint? Fed up of fancy sausage rolls and scotch eggs? Sam Gelder tells the 150-year story of one of Hackney’s last “proper” pubs.

The Prince Edward when it opened in 1866 The Prince Edward when it opened in 1866

Pipe-smoking blokes sporting moustaches and bowler hats while sipping on a locally-brewed stout. It may sound like your average weekend in Hackney, but it’s actually a snapshot of a time long before the borough became a hipster haven.

Back in 1866 a pub named The Prince Edward opened in Wick Road, Homerton.

And it’s still there 150 years later, proudly serving food and drink in an area largely starved of community pubs.

In fact, The Prince Edward boasts of being one of two traditional boozers left in the south of Hackney that caters for an older, local clientele and doesn’t charge an arm and a leg for a pint.

The pub is known as one of the last traditional working class boozers in the area (Picture: Dieter Perry) The pub is known as one of the last traditional working class boozers in the area (Picture: Dieter Perry)

To celebrate, the pub held a party earlier this month, where regulars were joined by people passing through the doors for the first time.

Josh Clarke, who runs the Hackney Irish Social Club at the pub, said it was a “proper special day”.

He wrote on the pub’s Facebook page: “Local affordable boozers are important – without them huge numbers of people would lose an important social outlet. Find yours and support it!”

It’s not all been plain sailing for the pub, though. In recent years, it has been threatened with demolition and nearly went the way of many drinking holes in becoming luxury flats.

A map from 1870 shows the pub at the corner of Wick Road and Church Road, now Barnabas Road. (Picture: Sean Gubbins) A map from 1870 shows the pub at the corner of Wick Road and Church Road, now Barnabas Road. (Picture: Sean Gubbins)

But it was saved with the help of Hackney Council, which recognised its place in the borough and awarded it a special status as an Asset of Community Value. The rare title offers a layer of protection from any change of use and is owned by just two other pubs – The Duke of Wellington in Nile Street, Hoxton and The Chesham Arms, also in Homerton.

The Prince is renowned for its Caribbean, soul and Irish music nights and a warm atmosphere towards anyone who passes through its doors.

It is home to the Hackney Irish Social Club and punters can be found playing pool and dominoes of an evening.

There is actually some confusion about when it first opened its doors.

According to, a renowned database for boozers across the UK, the first licensee was Thomas Gooding, a silk dealer from Middlesex who threw his launch party in 1861.

But given the trade and the amount of alcohol involved, we’ll let whoever is wrong off a couple of years.

From 1896 until 1944, the Cuthbert family owned the pub and it was known as Cuthbert’s.

It was then taken over by Bill Hobbs.

Bill ran the pub until 1963, when Joanne Croke’s parents John and Margaret Birrane became the licensees.

“They ran it until March 1990,” said Joanne.

“Until then it had been a mix of East End regulars and Irish clientele. When they left, they were the longest serving publicans in Hackney at the particular point in time.”

The current owners, who did not want to comment for the piece, made a few changes to the interior of the pub, but retained the traditional Irish designs. Time will tell whether they are still there in another 150 years.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hackney Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hackney Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hackney Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Hackney Stories

Yesterday, 18:58

The Board of Deputies of British Jews has called for the dismissal of Inner North London’s senior coroner Mary Hassell after a “deeply disappointing” meeting with community leaders to discuss her refusal to respect Jewish burial requirements.

Yesterday, 15:27

Belgium international has been out since November with a hamstring injury

Yesterday, 18:42

Hackney Council is inviting comments on its “progressive” vision for a greener, safer, less polluted and more affordable Shoreditch in 15 years’ time.

Yesterday, 13:45

Since the play’s first outing, representations of the East End have become two-a-penny in mainstream popular culture but director Jessica Lazar doesn’t shy away from tropes that play up caricature and nostalgia

Yesterday, 13:30

‘Waking’ centres around a single moment: a faint sense of recognition between a man and a woman

Yesterday, 13:00

West Ham United entertain Bournemouth in the Premier League on Saturday, looking for a third straight win in all competitions.

Yesterday, 13:00

On February 2-3 . the annual festival returns, showcasing the best in dance this year

Yesterday, 12:30

From February 1 to 11, the exhibition will showcase some of the world’s most interesting and revolutionary contemporary collagists, looking at redefining how the art form is expressed

Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists