“Friendly corner establishment, off the busy Earls Court Road, decorated in a modern style. Mainly floored in wood, with tiling around the bar area, the place is furnished with comfortable seating: high stools and tables, dining sets and some settees with low tables. A real fire is often lit in winter and the air conditioning switched on on those hotter summer days.
Circa 17th century, this pub is the oldest surviving licensed premises in the area. Rebuilt in 1937, the building is stated by the local authority to contribute to the village atmosphere and to make a significant contribution to the character and appearance of the conservation area. It was bought by Fuller’s from Faucet Inns in late April 2015
Of note are the unusual “postage-stamp” pub swing-signs, based on coinage designs of George V by Bertram Mackennel. Unlike the coins and stamps, the signs show His Majesty facing in both directions! The 1972 film, “The Adventures of Barry McKenzie” used the pub and the neighbouring “Kangaroo Valley” as locations.
The kitchen remains open for dinner until late evening and Wednesdays are “Craft Beer and Wings Nights”. Three Fuller’s cask ales are joined by a guest, often from another local brewery.”
Andrew Whitehead posted on his blog on 22/12/2011:
“Patrick Hamilton’s marvellous, miserable, boozed-up novel Hangover Square (1941) is sub-titled: ‘a story of darkest Earl’s Court’. That’s a glancing reference to the ‘darkest London’ writing about a subterranean, sweated East End. Hamilton seems to be suggesting that there’s as much despair behind the veneer of the much more imposing streets of west London.
Hamilton knew the area, and in this novel has nothing good to say of it. He writes of ‘the hard, frozen plains of Earl’s Court’. His central character, George Bone, comes to regard the locality as ‘the bleak scenery of his disgrace and disorder’ – a ‘hateful neighbourhood’
It’s hateful above all because of Netta Longdon, the hard-hearted, grasping, amoral woman about whom Bone is fixated. She lives in furnished rooms just north of Cromwell Road. Bone is forever walking up and down Earl’s Court Road to call on her, to spy on her, to drink with her.
There are still five pubs within a short stroll of Earl’s Court Station. All, I’d guess, were there in Bone’s time. And for much of the novel, Bone is drinking in one or other.
He first comes across Netta and her crowd in the big bar at the Rockingham, just across from the station. That’s the Courtfield, a bland, anonymous pub with little to commend it beyond its location. The gang drink more frequently at the Black Hart, never precisely located in the novel, but not far from the station, and by implication closer to Cromwell Road. The Earl’s Court Tavern best fits the bill.
Bone has a drink with old buddy Johnnie Littlejohn ‘down a narrow road … which led indirectly towards the Cromwell Road’. That feels like the King’s Head on Hogarth Place – from what I saw, the most comfortable and tradition minded of Earl’s Court’s bars.
Hangover Square, though, is even more about a moment than a place – the uneasy months leading up to the Second World War. Netta and her crowd, including her Mosleyite lover, cheer on Chamberlain with his umbrella, as he travels round Europe trying to appease Hitler.
As for the square of the novel’s title – that’s not a place, it’s a condition. ‘”What’s the matter – our old friend Hangover Square?”‘
“The title of the book is a wordplay on the name Hanover Square, an area of London that was once home to many late-night drinking establishments.”
From Hangover Square (1941), by Patrick Hamilton:
“They went past the Post Office and A.B.C. and then turned down a narrow road on their right which led indirectly towards the Cromwell Road.
Half-way down this they came to a small pub into which George led him. They got beer at the counter, and then sat at a table covered with green linoleum near the door.
The long, warm, bright days still persisted, and the door of the pub was flung and fastened back.
It was cool, dark, and restful inside and pleasant with the peaceful beginnings of the little house’s evening trade – two men talking quietly, another reading a newspaper, the flutter of a canary in a cage, the barmaid vanishing into the other bars and returning, the occasional oily jab of the beer-engine and the soft spurt of beer. It was good to sit back in this cave of refreshment, and stare at the blinding brilliance of the day outside, the pavement, the dusty feet of temperate but jaded pedestrians.
‘This is one of my regular places,’ said George.
‘Oh yes?…’ said Johnnie. ‘Very nice.’
And he looked around as though politely to appreciate the nature and savour the quality of his friend’s background. But, of course, he could not see what George could see – the wet winter nights when the door was closed; the smoke, the noise, the wet people: the agony of Netta under the electric light: Mickey drunk and Peter arguing: mornings-after on dark November days: the dart-playing and boredom: the lunch-time drunks, the lunch-time snacks, the lunch-room upstairs: the whole poisoned nightmarish circle of the idle tippler’s existence. He saw merely a haven of refreshment on a summer’s day…
…Netta had quite another portrait of herself at the back of her mind. Her true heart was not in the second-hand sports car, the road house, the snack bar and the darts board in the Earl’s Court public-house; it was, rather, somewhere haunting the society columns, the illustrated pages of The Sketch, The Tatler or Vogue. She would not have admitted this, even to herself, but this was where her inner aesthetic fancy lay…”