Monday, 11 November 2013

Not Ploughing on

The Plough's owners have put in a planning application to turn it into a shop selling 'second hand books [...] along with stationery, greeting cards and second hand items.'

That sound you hear is the echoing void of a campaign to save it. The Plough's been shut since June and was a sorry place for a while before: few customers and those few without the contacts, skills or money to get themselves heard. We went in once, awkwardly had a pint of not-real-ale and never went back.

Still, still, still. The Hornsey Road was here long before the Tudors, but this may be the oldest building on it and the stories attached to it will mean less if it is no longer a pub although the flats above will be worth more.

So here goes with three stories:

In 1823 Henry Pestell was arrested for stealing stealing eight waistcoats, fourteen handkerchiefs, a pair of trousers, a pair of shoes, eight pair of stockings, three shirts, three aprons, a ring, a pin, twelve pounds of tea, and four pounds of coffee; and selling the stuff in the Plough. He was nineteen. He was sentenced to death and transported, landing in New South Wales on 22 April 1824. The ship that took him there, the Guildford, disappeared in 1831 on the way back from Singapore.

In 1824 a Robert Fuller was acquitted of stealing a horse. His employer had sent him to Finchley to buy carnations and he'd taken the horse and stopped to have dinner with a friend in the Plough on the way. A witness testified to having met him on the Saturday morning on the Hornsey Road 'with some carnations in a wheel-barrow, but no horse'.

By 1846 Copus' Four Horse Omnibus hired out horses from the Plough Stables for bean-feasts (office party 19th century style), picnics, excursions, schools and weddings. They'd take you to any church in Islington.

More here.

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