The lost Pubs of Denmark Hill: The Bull’s Head

There was a pub called The Bull’s Head in Camberwell for nearly three centuries. Most likely at the same location, on the site of todays Camberwell Green Post Office at what is now 25 Denmark Hill.

Camberwell Green Post Office , photo by Robin Scott in 201

This photo was taken by Robin Scott in 2013.

The earliest evidence I can find about the Bull’s Head dates from 1666. At that time and for a few centuries Treasuries could not produce enough small coinage and local businesses often produced their own Trader’s Tokens.

Here is a front and back view of the Traders Token issued by Thomas Philips Landlord of the Bull’s Head in 1666.

Traders Token Thomas Philips Bulls Head 1666 Surrey History centre front

Traders Token Thomas Philips Bulls Head 1666 Surrey History centre back

They are held at the Surrey History Centre.

For further on Traders Token.

In 1826, Chas Drew was the Landlord as detailed in Pigot’s Directory. Both Chas and Elizabeth Drew were witnesses a the trial of Seth Metcalfe who was accused of stealing.

Morning Advertiser 23 Sept 1834

Advert placed in the Morning Advertiser, 23 September 1834. British Newspaper Archive.

Pigot’s records a new landlord in 1839, a Robert Poundsford and again in 1848. Thomas Lewin is mentioned as having died at the Bull’s Head in 1851. He was the Pub Ostler.

In September 1853, William Wright is the Outgoing Licensee and William Welch as the incoming Landlord. In 1856, William Welch is again mentioned in the Post Office Directory as landlord.

In 1861, Edward Lambert(aged 44) is the Licensed Victualler in that years census along with his wife Elizabeth,31 and two daughters Elizabeth,12 and Emily, 10.

Added October 2016. The pub was up for auction in April 1863 according to the following poster held by Lambeth Archives.


He then put the Pub up for sale again via an advertisment in the Morning Advertiser on 4 July 1866.

Morning Advertiser 04 July 1866

It was purchased by H Higgs who placed the following advertisement in the South London Press on 14 July 1866.

South London Press 14 July 1866

It seems that the Bulls Head was known as a sporting pub with all kinds of wagers taken for unusual events. The Sportsman reports on 28 January 1871 about a walking race.

The Sportsman 28 January 1871

In 1878, Mrs Jane Raper in recorded in the Suburban Post Office Directory as the Landlady.

In 1881, the Landlord was Henry Bailey, born in 1849 in East Tuddenham, Norfolk. He was married to Anne, 32 and a son Charles 4, Daughter Edith 3, and a younger son Richard 6 months. This was recorded in the 1881 census along with a housemaid Mary Sheppard who is listed as Deaf, Agnes Wollard the Nurse, Louisa Grimwood the cook and William Hutchison the Barman.

A newpaper report from the Aberdeen Evening Express on 23 October 1890 about ejected customers from The Bulls Head assaulting the Police.

Aberdeen Evening Express 23 Oct 1890

By 1891 Henry Bailey had moved on to run the Royal Navy Tavern in Limehouse.

The pub was renamed The Metropole by 1896 , obviously with a connection the Metropole Theatre established nearby. Mrs Elizabeth Annie Curtis is recorded in the Post Office Directory, 1896 as Landlady.

Herbert Way is listed as the landlord in 1904 in the Post Office Directory.

Denmark Hill Stengel & Co E38167 Camberwell Palace of Varieties no date

This postcard was published by Stengel & Co, No E38167 showing on the right, both the Camberwell Palace of Varieties and the Metropole PH.

The Metropole was closed and demolished circa 1910. It was rebuilt as the Bijou Picture Theatre with Henry Thomas Brickwell as Manager.


As always thanks to

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1 Response to The lost Pubs of Denmark Hill: The Bull’s Head

  1. Pingback: Camberwell Palace | Loughborough Junction

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