Lost dodgy London boozers: Cundy’s Tavern, Silvertown

Cundy's Tavern, Silvertown - one of London's dodgiest boozers

Captured here in its last death throes in May 2005 is Cundy’s Tavern in Silvertown, reputed to be one of East London’s dodgiest boozers.

Cundy's Tavern, Silvertown - one of London's dodgiest boozers

Despite appearances, the pub was still open for business, although the pub sign had long since vanished.

Originally known as the Railway Hotel, but  renamed Cundy’s after a former Edwardian landlord, Simeon Cundy, the pub served workers in the nearby Tate & Lyle factories and railway workers (the former Silvertown station is opposite), and from 1981-1986 hosted Peacock’s gym.

The pub staggered on for another year after I visited, before being captured in its boarded-up state (below) by Flickr photographer O.F.E who wrote an excellent history of the pub’s dark and dubious end – a tale that involves strippers, housing benefit repayments and rented out ‘death-traps’.

Cundy's Tavern, Silvertown - one of London's dodgiest boozers

Before it closed, the aptly named Dodgy Boozers website paid Cundy’s a visit and found it an educational experience:

Derlict corner site. Plants growing out of upper story, lower story painted blue. No signage whatsover other than landlords name painted on front door frame in what looks like tippex. Empty pub sign swinging in the wind. ALL windows broken and mended with cling film with stained heavy half nets behind. Pub has a couple of medium-rise blocks behind, a pot holed street in front and the ghostly single track Silverlink North London train line beyond.

The next stop is the end of the line. Main door is on corner of plot and has a roll-down beaten steel shutter. There’s no door behind this once it’s opened. Side door to same room also has a roll down shutter.

This is half open and legs can be seen of the drinkers already positioned for a pre-opening taste at the bar. Inside is fading grandeur. Chipped columns rise behind the L-shaped bar, mismatched chairs are dotted around and grubby red velvet booths hug the walls, many repaired with gaffer tape from deep knife wounds. Raised pool table area at the back has missing wall lights, damp down one wall, and scribbled signs about drug use on the premises.

Cundy's Tavern, Silvertown - one of London's dodgiest boozers

Here’s some slightly wobbly photos snagged from Google Street View .

Planning permission has now been given for a mixed used residential site with “angular glazed balconies and recessed windows…and anodised aluminium panels,” so it won’t be long before this fine building and its rich mix of East End memories disappears forever.

Cundy's Tavern, Silvertown - one of London's dodgiest boozers

Discuss the pub on our boards

Photo features:

Daytrip to North Woolwich and SilvertownSilvertown stationLost pubs of Brixton

8 Comments on “Lost dodgy London boozers: Cundy’s Tavern, Silvertown”

  1. A sad end to the old pub. I never saw it, but under the name Railway Tavern (and Tea Rooms) it served as the headquarters of the strike committee during the three-month stoppage at the nearby India-Rubber, Gutta-Percha & Telegraph Works in 1889. The landlady was Mrs Cundy and she prevailed upon the brewery to donate to the strike fund on a number of occasions. The pub was an unofficial community centre for factory workers and dockers for many years after the strike. The works itself was one of the world’s largest factories of its kind. It closed in the 1960s but the name of its founder, Samuel Winkworth Silver, lives on in the name of the district. I’m currently writing a book about the strike and its aftermath — a flow on of my book “The Devils’ Milk: A Social History of Rubber” (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2011). If anyone has any knowledge of old Silvertown–perhaps handed down inside their family–I would be grateful to hear it. Thanks, John (Senior Lecturer in Politics and History, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia.)

  2. Hello I lived in cundys my mother and stepfather run it in the 1970 it was a family pub everyone new each other I remember when we had the fire in the flat above ,we only had what we stood up in but the community were right there to help with blankets and hot drinks.I have very good memorise living in silver-town and of cundys and I am sad that it is no longer going to be there.

  3. My great uncle was Simeon Cundy, his wife’s sister = Grace saddington was my grandmother, although I never met her. Many of my family worked in pub at some time or another. They were also involved in the Tate institute which I believe was the working man’s club of Tate & Lyle.

    1. Elizabeth/Lizzie Cundy nee Saddington was my great grandmother. She had six children including my grandmother Jeannie Loiuse who told me many a tale of her childhood upstairs at the Tavern with her two siblings who had survived infancy and their nanny. She died of consumption aged 52 years – overwork and the smoky atmosphere.
      Carol Wise

  4. my gran , granny feast worked there during the war ,i think she managed it , and my uncle laurie played the piano most nights , gran lived at 25 constance st . i can remember the shell holes in the old viaduct .

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