Tidal Basin Tavern, east London – Shootings, Siouxsie and The Leather Boys


Situated close to the northern end of the cable car running from North Greenwich is a long-derelict pub with a fascinating history, The Tidal Basin Tavern.


Once known as ‘The Dug Out,’ this sizeable public house was constructed around 1862, and managed to live on after being bombed in the Blitz.

Catering to the once bustling docks trade, and latterly kept busy serving workmen involved in the regeneration of the nearby docks, the pub’s end was hastened with the discovery of serious structural defects.

The establishment closed for good in 1990.


The Tidal Basin Tavern hosted punk gigs in the late 1970s, hosting new wave luminaries such as Siouxsie and the Banshees, and the gender-challenging Wayne County & the Electric Chairs, while strippers kept the day time drinking crowd amused.

The pub had a reputation as a rough house at the time, as rtgrant recalls:

I used to be in a blues/rock band that had a residency here for about 3 months. They had two massive German shepherds that would drink the slops at the end of the night and during one gig the place was raided by the drugs squad in the middle of our set and the landlady’s partner was hauled off. We never stopped playing or missed a beat the whole set, and we got paid as usual. I have so many weird and happy memories of this place. It was a toilet, but it was *our* toilet.

There was also a rumour of a someone being shot dead at the bar in 1978.

Tidal Basin Tavern, east London - Shootings, Siouxsie and The Leather Boys

The pub also featured in the closing scenes of the cult-biker movie The Leather Boys which featured Colin Campbell, Dudley Sutton and Rita Tushingham.

Read more on Derelict London.  Also: Landlord history.

12 Comments on “Tidal Basin Tavern, east London – Shootings, Siouxsie and The Leather Boys”

  1. As a merchant seaman I shipped out of the Royal Docks during the 1950’s / ’60’s and spent many happy hours in the Tidal Basin pub. It’s a shame to see so many places like this closed and derelict but that’s what happens when the dockers and seamen left. The Royal Docks are now an alien place to me and others connected to the area from those days.

  2. My mum and dad owned the tidal basin from 1963 to 1975 why has no one asked us about our memories wot a good book don’t make them up get facts

    1. Hi Alan – I’ve just bought one of the (tiny) new flats in the tower that now sits bang on top of the site of the Tidal Basin Tavern. The history of the pub and area is fascinating. Please post your memories here, and photos! And is it true someone was shot dead inside in 1978? Are the tapes of the Siouxsie and the Banshees gigs?

    2. Hi Alan,
      My parents must of taken the pub over when your parents left. My family lived in the Tidal Basin from Dec 1975 through till Feb 1977.
      This pub will always remain my favourite from all the pubs in London that they run.
      I believe we were both lucky to have shared part of this legendary pubs history.


    3. Hi Alan my Husband stayed with you Mum and Dad in the early 1970,s he was Woking for a roofing company I had to send Clotted Cream up from North Devon every week for your Dad , they were working in Chobham Farm , are your Mum and Dad still around ? Paul often talked about his time with them and yes you could wright a book

      1. Hi I am Alan’s sister I remember your husband and the others he worked with a relation was one. My younger brother thought the world of Paul I believe you were courting at the time. I don’t know if Alan has answered but I am sure he will remember Paul my husband does. My Dad died a couple of years after leaving the pub had a heart attack at 57 but mum only died five yrs ago in January at 92. Say hello to Paul and any others that lodged at the pub.

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