Saturday, 18 February 2006

While in the capital this week, I visited what might be considered Wenlock's spiritual London home.
I used to visit the Wenlock Arms occasionally in my younger days, when I lived in that part of the world. It went into a bit of a decline, and it has been almost two decades since I was last there. I was delighted to renew my acquaintance. It seems to have changed very little in appearance over the years, but the beer is much better than I remember, both in range and quality. I am not at all surprised that it tends to win CAMRA awards.

The Wenlock name comes from the mediaeval moated manor house of Wenlock's Barn that once stood nearby. In addition to the pub, the name has attached to a couple of local streets, and to the Wenlock Basin, which branches off the Regent's Canal.
It is shown on Greenwood's 1827 Map of London - it is the unnamed basin in the top right-hand corner, which looks like a very new addition to the map, as the lines symbolising water don't follow the edge of the basin. Wenlock's Barn is shown at the top left-hand corner of the next panel of the map. It would appear that the pub postdates the Regency by a few years, as they make clear.

If you ever visit, then the sandwiches are well worth sampling. Proper doorsteps, made with extremely fresh bread. Salt Beef seems to be the favourite variety, but I went for black pudding.

There are building works on the other side of the street, with luxury apartments going up with views of the pub or the basin. One would make the ideal Wenlock London pied-à-terre.


Douglas Hoffman said...

Is black pudding anything like blood pudding? I know, I should just get off my duff and google it.

But I love blood pudding. Or, rather, I think it was blood sausage. Had in France, the one time Karen and I went to Europe, and I ate it and loved it before anyone told me what it was.

Okay, off to google black pudding.

Carla said...

Black pudding is a type of blood pudding. In Britain it's popularly associated with the north of England, especially Lancashire, and with working-class contexts. Although I think it's just going through a phase of being frightfully fashionable in trendy metropolitan restaurants. It's certainly related to French blood sausages (boudin?) but I'm not sure whether it's exactly the same thing.

Stephen said...

Black pudding, blood pudding and boudin noir are all pretty much the same thing, although ingredients vary a bit. In Scotland (and Ireland too, I think) there is a tendency to put oatmeal into the mix. In France the fat is less visible. Spicing is of course subject to all sorts of variation.

Doug Hoffman said...

What I had in France must have been blood sausages. No oatmeal, if I remember correctly, but they were spicy and rich and wonderful.