20 Devereux Court, London WC2

From Historic England entry of 14.1.70:

“GV II End of terrace former public house. c.1676; a Barbon development, originally the Grecian Coffee House, remodelled as a pub in 1843.

Stucco faced. Three storeys.Six windows wide with three-window south return. Rusticated ground floor with two double panelled and glazed doors flanking renewed Georgian style windows. Recessed glazing bar sashes to upper floors. Plat band over ground floor. Moulded sill course with projecting sills to second floor. Parapet finished off with cornice and blocking course. Plaque inscribed “This is Devereux Court, 1676” and on the corner a bust of Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex above plaque inscribed “Eldon Chambers AD 1844”. The Grecian Coffee House is referred to in the “Tatler” of 1709 as a favoured haunt of members of the Royal Society. Devereux Court was one of Barbon’s speculations.”

From announcement for The Annual Wren Talk of 2020:

“Architectural writer and historian Jeremy Melvin gives this year’s talk on the colourful seventeenth century economist and financier, Nicholas Barbon, who turned property development into speculation and invented fire insurance.

‘It was not worth his while to deal little; that a bricklayer could do‘ an admirer wrote of Wren’s contemporary Nicholas Barbon. This assessment contains the key to how Barbon transformed London: he turned property development from an extension of construction (bricklaying) into fully fledged speculation — where it has been ever since.

Barbon invented the concept of risk management through founding the first fire insurance company. His tracts, like ‘An Apology for the Builder’ and ‘Of Trade’, argued the benefits of continuous economic growth backed by expansion of credit. This led Karl Marx, with grudging approval, to make ‘Old Barbon’ the first economic authority he cited in Das Kapital.”

Bobby Palmer wrote at timeout.com on 13.9.19:

“What does a pub look like in 2019? That’s the question posed by the owners of the recently reopened The Devereux, which first came into being in 1677 as The Grecian Coffee House. A mere 343 years later, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was only the name that had changed – it’s hidden away in a courtyard in Temple’s legal quarter, flanked by old-fashioned hanging baskets and oaken barrels. Inside, it’s all dark wood panelling, with board games in the corner and pickled eggs behind the taps.

Look a little further, though, and you’ll see that The Devereux is actually modern – maybe even ‘woke’. While I wasn’t taken aback by the decor (not to mention the fact that the most exotic snacks were Tayto crisps), I was pleasantly surprised by the drinks. The pub champions Toast Ale, a London brew made from bread that would otherwise be binned. And the fridges were filled with beers by Lewisham’s Ignition, who employ locals with learning difficulties. Even plastic straws are out in favour of hollowed-out tubes of dry pasta.

It may not be extravagant, but The Devereux has heart – and a finger on the pulse of the capital. Add to that a surprisingly quiet location for somewhere just off the Strand, and there are far worse pubs for a very modern, thoroughly old-fashioned post-work tipple.”


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