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.