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The Grapes (1720 - present)

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76 Narrow St, Limehouse, E14
Known for

Exterior of The Grapes public house.
View full size imageExterior of The Grapes public house. © NMM

Charles Dickens knew this pub well. As a child, he was made to stand on a table and sing to the customers. As an adult, he based 'The Six Jolly Fellowship Porters' riverside tavern from 'Our Mutual Friend' on the pub interior.

There is a Dickens Room with a balcony giving a very pleasant view of the river.

There are unsavoury stories of watermen taking drunks from the pub to drown them in the river. They were alleged to have sold the bodies for medical dissection.

Port Connection

An Evening at the Grapes.
View full size imageAn evening at the Grapes. © NMM
It was a working class tavern that originally catered for lightermen and workers from Limehouse Basin.

Today it attracts a mixture of tourists and residents of Dockland’s redevelopment.

Interesting Facts

There has been a pub on the site since the 16th century.

Dickens speaks of certain drinks for which the Grapes has long been famous:

  • Purl: a mixture of beer and ale and hot spilled gin
  • Dog’s nose: potent mixture of beer and gin
  • Flip: warmed ale, lemon, cinnamon, eggs and grated nutmeg
Life Story
1720Opened as 'The Bunch of Grapes', on the site of a previous pub
1864-5Charles Dickens wrote 'Our Mutual Friend' immortalising 'The Bunch of Grapes' as ‘The Six Jolly Fellowship Porters’
1934It became 'The Grapes'
1982It opened a fish restaurant overlooking the river and became famed for its seafood meals

Find out more
Fact fileCharles Dickens
The greatest English novelist of the Victorian era
GamesMatch historical pictures of pubs with modern day photographs
Uncover the matching pairs.
National Maritime Museum/Royal Observatory GreenwichNew Opportunities Fund 
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