From the Archives

The Spread Eagle, Wandsworth has lived many different lifetimes, housed many interesting events, and we can only imagine the plethora of folk who’ve leaned on the bar. Our intrepid sales & community co-ordinator Molly has delved into the Wandsworth Heritage Service archive to find out more about our beautiful Victorian pub.

Mirroring the Past

The Spread Eagle was first mentioned in census records in 1664 and was bought by Youngs in 1836. In 1898 part of the original building was rebuilt, providing our present-day building – this photograph taken in c.1910 is almost identical to today! Except for the signs advertising billiards tables, you could easily believe this gent was stood outside yesterday, hands stuffed into his overcoat, flat cap pulled down, had obviously just popped in for a quick pint before heading home!

The original hotel closed in the 1920s becoming solely a pub, before our team sensitively renovated it in 2022 and re-opened the brand new Spread Eagle Hotel – almost exactly 100 years since the original hotel closed.

Through the Ages

The pub was also where influential meetings were held to establish the British School, to preserve Wandsworth Common, to establish the London Railway System and throughout the 20th century hosted the Court Cinema.

The census records held at the Wandsworth Heritage Service are full of the names of our previous landlords and landladies. We know that as far back as 1790, James Chapman managed our beautiful pub. When ‘The Assembly Rooms’ concert hall which seated 323 people opened in 1859, James H. Dea was Landlord. Perhaps most revolutionary in our history was Annie Mudd, who is listed as managing the pub on her own from 1896-98 – making her likely to be the first female General Manager in Youngs! Running a pub and hotel alone during the Victorian era was no small feat for a woman, and we hope to find out more about our incredible original Landlady.

And So Today

‘Poole’s Myriorama’ was a series of current affairs photography exhibitions with accompanying lectures, which were successfully hosted here in the 1920s. The idea of pubs being meeting places to discuss ideas, interact with people from all walks of life and to serve as the cornerstone of the of community is not a new concept. However, as a team we truly believe that pubs, and the community spirit they evoke are now more important than ever.

With this as our inspiration, we’ve launched our In Conversation With series, inviting an array of community leaders to give talks – once again making the Spread Eagle the hub of community. Our inaugural speaker was filmmaker Georgie Yukiko Donovan, who screened her short film AMA, whilst our most recent Speaker was brewer John Hatch, who joined the Ram Brewery in the 1980s, under the leadership of John Young. Our Landlord Connal Donovan interviewed John about his memories, and we curated an exhibition of photographs from the Youngs archive, some which were displayed publicly for the first time in 20 years.

We hope you can join us for our future monthly In Conversations With, to continue celebrating the history of our beautiful pub and writing the next chapter of its life.

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