The Red Lion pub, Greenford Road

The screens went up very soon after the closure of this pub, about two weeks ago. I read somewhere that there has been a Red Lion pub in Greenford since the 1640s and it wouldn’t surprise me. I have no idea of the date of this building but a fascinating website put together by devotees of the subject lists publicans who held the licence for the Red Lion in Greenford Road, from James Shoesmith and his family in 1855 to Arthur Welch, who held it in 1937. The fall in custom has been blamed on a number of things such as a change in drinking habits or the price of beer in pubs, but I have wondered if its location at less than pedestrian friendly crossroads played a part. Whatever the reason, this landmark building will probably be replaced by a block of flats. How depressing.

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This entry was published on August 28, 2012 at 10:45 pm. It’s filed under People, Places and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

12 thoughts on “The Red Lion pub, Greenford Road

  1. Sad, especially if the pub was any good. Was it?

    • The staff did their best but the regulars were literally dying off and there was a bit of trouble sometimes. It was by no means any more than an average pub. I think it takes a lot of determination to attract new customers and its position meant that they didn’t get many dropping in as they went past. People tended to drive rather than walk past it. It has a large car park which developers must have eyed up for years! I would love to have seen it before WW2 when the road was narrower and there was less traffic.

  2. Ted Drawneek on said:

    Frances Hounsell’s book “Greenford, Northolt and Perivale Past” has a picture of the old Red Lion from the mid 1800’s (Sich and Co Brewers). At that time it was further up the hill, closer to Windmill Lane, and next door to a smithy. “In 1815 it was owned by a John Haskett who, in his will, left the rents from it to be administered by two local men, Jasper Hinge and Samuel Pugh, for the maintenance, education, and advancement of Mary Ann White Heaseller, then aged nine years. She was still th owner in 1839…”

    • I knew someone would know more! The shops between the present pub location and Windmill Lane date from the 1930s so it must have moved by then. It’s such a shame that this building isn’t listed, however old it is, because it’s such a landmark..

    • Philip Goatly on said:

      My Great Great Grandfather John Nash Goatly married Mary Ann (White) Heaseller in 1932 at Marylebone Church. He was born in 1910.

      Does anyone in Greenford and the surrounding area have any more information. Sad to hear the pub closed.

  3. carole on said:

    Strange that this pub has lost customers, a pub this close to a town should have done wellmany factors are to blame. the fact that the food was not attractive and offering two for one hardly shows confidence in the menu. the offer of a sports screen is enough to frighten customers away. another nail, charging for the car park, i met a member of the council in there for a coffee and catch up, the service was bad. the staff walked along behind the counter, not acknowledging that i was waiting for service, several minutes went by, and staff still walked up and down. a person then ask what can i get you?, whilst looking out of the side windows!! Then the extraction of a coffee from the machine was painfully slow! The table where the food customers ate was accompanied by the heavy overwhelming smell of toilet cleaner. The Orchard at Ruislip is further from the town centre but has a thriving restaurant and a busy pub, so does the Hare and Hounds on Windmill Lane, again well off the beaten track but always packed, and too the Railway at Greenford station , and the Black Horse Oldfield Lane North all busy places. The management is often to blame when a pub goes downhill, and in this instance, i do blame the management.

    • The Red Lion isn’t close to the town – it’s IN the town! That’s part of the problem. It’s on one corner of the major traffic junction Greenford has become, one that’s really difficult for pedestrians to negotiate. The lights are there to make it easier for cars not people. The small pubs that are now dotted around are in between other shops making it more likely that someone will walk past and consider dropping in.

      I agree that imaginative and enthusiastic management is important in increasing footfall but investment in the fabric of the pub is essential too and this building needs a lot of TLC. It didn’t look especially inviting and I think that’s really important. It’s a shame they couldn’t retain the hedges that were once around the building because they made it look smarter, but the cost of paying someone to maintain them was probably too high. The Railway always has floral displays. The Black Horse and the Railway are surrounded by premises that provide regular customers and they are in comparatively pedestrian friendly locations. In addition the Black Horse has visiting narrowboats as an attraction. I suspect it takes more effort and promotion than most people realise to make sure they remain packed. I recommend that anyone with concerns about pub closures takes a look at this report:

      Running a pub is hard work and not especially well paid. I hope everyone who worked at the Red Lion has found a new job and that they prosper wherever they go.

  4. Des Elmes on said:

    I went by the Red Lion on 11 September, during a walk from Ealing to Harrow – and it looked like much of the roof had disappeared…

    • Yes, they seem to be pulling it apart quite slowly. That probably means they’re salvaging materials (there must be quite a lot of useful and attractive old timbers in it) and watching out for anything hazardous. There will be a story in the Gazette about it either this week or next week. A terrible shame considering that there has been a Red Lion somewhere on that block.for centuries. I’m told that the development will include a pub.

  5. chris black on said:

    As a kid I was told during the civil war a brutal fight broke out between the round heads and royalists in the Red Lion.

    • It was probably a Saturday night. It may well be a true story but you’d have to find contemporary records of it, the National Army Museum or an archive that specialises in the English Civil War might be the place. Given that, until the Grand Union Canal was constructed in the 19th century, Greenford was a relatively isolated farming community which you had to have a reason to visit I doubt if there was much else to do in the 1640s other than get drunk and fight. Search for Greenford on this website to see what I mean I bet they were all barred…

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