24th October 2022

#Young's Rooms #Youngs

From the Archives

24th October 2022

When you walk into the Spread Eagle, Wandsworth, you’re overwhelmed by the beauty of the pub, but also its sense of history & heritage. With its original Victorian bar, etched glass, and wooden panelling, you can easily imagine the different characters who’ve propped up the bar over the decades.

Intrigued by who else might’ve walked through the doors before us, intrepid Molly from the Spread Eagle visited the Wandsworth Heritage Centre, where archivists Emma & Sofia pulled out donated Young’s photo albums and census records that begin tell the story of this beautiful pub.

The Spread Eagle was first mentioned in census records in 1664 and was bought by Youngs in 1836. In 1898 part of the original building was rebuilt, providing our present-day building. There’s a photograph taken just after the rebuild that you would believe was taken present day – except for the signs advertising billiards tables. There’s a gent stood outside, hands stuffed into his overcoat, flat cap pulled down, obviously having popped in for a quick pint before heading home!

In its lifetime the Spread Eagle pioneered variety shows, playing host to singers, dancers, and comedians alike. It was also where the meeting was held to establish the British School, to preserve Wandsworth Common and it also had stints as a cinema. Noteworthy mentions amongst characters who propped up the bar include Annie Mudd, who managed the pub from 1896-98 – making her likely to be the first female General Manager in Youngs!

There’s also mention of the pub hosting ‘Poole’s Myriorama’, a series of current affairs photography exhibitions with accompanying lectures, which was successful in the 1920s. The idea of pubs being meeting places to discuss ideas, interact with people from all walks of life and to serve as the cornerstone of the of community is not a new concept. However, as a team we truly believe that pubs, and the community spirit they evoke are now more important than ever.

With this as our inspiration, we’ve launched our In Conversation With series, inviting an array of community leaders to give talks – free to attend and fun for all. Our inaugural speaker was filmmaker Georgie Yukiko Donovan and our next speaker is brewer John Hatch, who joined the Ram Brewery in the 1980s, under the leadership of John Young. He’ll be sharing his memories, accompanied by an exhibition of photographs from the Youngs archive, displayed publicly for the first time in 20 years.

Join Molly on Wednesday 26th October to hear more of the story.

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