20 December 2016

The 'Olde Leather Bottel' public house

'Ye Olde Leather Bottel' - a postcard reproduced here with grateful acknowledgement to
Merton Memories Photographic Archive, part of the Merton Library & Heritage Service
 - (Prints are available)
'That pub where Fred purchased brandy for his ailing Dad . . . his spelling is spot on,' write diary readers Se├ín and Nora Galvin, who have personal memories of the venue. 

'The Olde Leather Bottel, its full name at the time, is indeed one and the same as The Leather Bottle which can still be found on Kingston Road in Merton Park. Recorded in the 1911 Census, it's just a short walk from the churchyard where Fred's 'Dear Mother' rests.

'That unimpeachable authority on these matters, the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), recorded the change of name to its current form in 1985. During the 1970s and '80s it was a well-established venue for jazz and blues musicians.

'According to Merton Council's historic archive, "The original pub on this site is believed to date back to 1700... In 1897 an application was made for a new pub to be built in a slightly different position.

'Although the 'modern' building falls well short of 300 years, it surely qualifies as being old(e). This isn't the worst example of arbitrarily changing the name of a pub, of course, but surely something should be done to protect the history of these institutions which, whatever one's opinion of alcohol might be, are part of our rich cultural heritage and continue to play a valuable role in the lives of our communities...'

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