Friday, 19 December 2008

Lord Napier in Hackney Wick

Yes - I know this is the first site that greets you when you come down the westbound slope of Hackney Wick Train station - but surely this pub must have seen better day?!

The name - LORD NAPIER - alone says it must have had higher aspirations than the bunch of squatters that hibernate there now!

Come on fellow Wickers - let's get scratching around for more history, anecdotes, people, landlords, meetings held, etc - in the rooms of this pub.

Please click on the 'comment' section below - to add any titbits of research you may dig up.


Thanks to toby150 for this amazing shot of the Lord Napier!! It was taken by his dad - who took it from the upstairs window of 44 White Post Lane in the 1940's or 50's. His house was where the Bagel Factory is now - looking straight over to The Lord Napier Pub in its hey day.
Notice the yard of Carless Capel and Leonard that is still there to this day and where Petrol was invented/given its name as we all know it.
His Uncle Clem Ward and his brother BIG John Ward - were piano players in all the local boozers 1940's /50's including The Lea Tavern.
toby150 also found an article where it mentions a big flood at the turn of the century - which made the petrol tanks in CC & Leonard overspill into the streets and someone dropped a match or ciggy and the whole area went up in flames.
Now THIS is exactly the kind of brilliant information I was hoping we would get on this site!! toby150 - thank you a million times over!!
(For more of toby150's writings - please go to our sister-site - and have a read!!


Anonymous said...


I don't know anything about the Lord Napier's history, but I really do wish that the present occupiers could be evicted from this pub!!

What do they contribute to the Wick except for all the broken beer bottles they leave strewn all over the roads & sidewalks surrounding it.

What a welcome indeed for anyone coming down the train ramp for the first time?!

They all probably scuttle back up the ramp into the first train out of here!!


Anonymous said...

Hi Sóna

You know all the right peple - don't you!?!

This pic by toby150's dad is simply brilliant!! It is such an important piece of photography for Hackney Wick - and we should all be very grateful that he allowed you to post it up here on the blog!

In years to come - once the Olympics have changed everything around here beyond recognition, these are exactly the kind of pics we should all be hunting out!!!


Anonymous said...

Excellent photo toby150!!

It's good to see that not too much has changed over the past half century.

I passed the White Post Lane pub this morning with my dog, and it is finally completely demolished.

Another one bites the dust huh?!

I bet the Napier will either get demolished, or turned into a bunch of yuppie flats.

Thanks for the memories toby150!


Anonymous said...

The best way to clean up this old building, would be to evict the scuzz-bags!

Then how about turning it into a lovely coffee lounge? Then hook up the tannoy system for the trains to the music system. Imagine waiting for a train in here instead of the freezers that are supposed to be waiting rooms.


Gordon Ramsey

Anonymous said...

Hi Sóna

I simply love this pic from Toby150!! These kinds of photo's are so very important for future generations to see, 'cos this area is going to change so very much with the Olympics coming!!

I have only been in the Wick for about 10 years, so don't have this kind of authentic picture from way back.

But some of the ones from even a few years ago can never be taken again. Our beloved Arena Fields is gone, a few of the pubs, some of the warehouses, etc - are all gone already.

I'll sift through the pics and let you have a look at them to see if there is any way of putting them up here OK?

Thanks toby150 - great pic!!

Mohammed Islam

Anonymous said...

Dear Toby150

Thanks for putting up this amazing photo. I used to deliver to the Napier for about 5 years in the early sixties, and this pic brings back memories - some good - the crack was always great! - some bad - had my stock knicked more than once from the van!

Please see if you can find anymore from around the Wick - it'll be fun to see if I can recognise any faces as well!!

Mick Jones

Anonymous said...

The Lord Napier is a great place and will be sorely missed. I've been to some great parties there and experienced some incredible mashups !
The only bad thing about the place was the toilets.
Lord Napier RIP my friend and thanks for the memories.

salamatsys !

Anonymous said...

I was at school with Lord Napier. He's a good mate as it goes. Actually he was a baronet so he was Sir - Napier. But he must be a relative.

Never been to the Lord Napier pub though. I mean why the bloody hell would I? It's in some ghastly sounding place in East London.

Anonymous said...

Love it - or loathe it - you gotta admit that it is the most colourful building in the Wick?!

If you ever picture search it (or some of the clubs that were held there) - you're bound to see a different mural each time.

But - hey! - it does need to be made a useful public open & friendly place again. Either that - or pulled down.


Anonymous said...


I know you are still not able to say too much about the plans for the whole area - but is this building still going to stay?

It would be a pity if it was demolished. I know we have had a few hassles with the last few crusties there, but a lick of paint, a few windows, and a roof garden - and you're away!!


Unknown said...

Then and now

B May said...

Hi, I just stumbled across the planning proposals for the Lord Napier (as you do), might be of interest.
(if the link doesn't work then search 'lion works hackney wick' in google and it will be on the first page).

Anonymous said...


its been a while since I posted these photos and in fact forgot I did it so many thanks to all the comments.

We need more memories of this area to talk about. no matter when 20's, 30s, 40's 50's 60's etc etc. What josb did you do and where did you drink and work. What was it like. Do you have any old photos you can share. If you dont know how to upload just ask me or send em to me and I can do or Sona can help (she's good).

My family lived on the pre Mr Bagle site for 40 years at 44 White Post Lane but as they were poor (like most) cameras and film were not on the A list, except the basic one of my Aunts whom I think my dad used to take these picks.

I can remember in the 80's going into the Na peer as it was pronouced by some and it was a time warp. I would love to go again to drink with the ghost of my family (as long as they are paying)
I also remember going down Chapman Road late one night in the 80's and a car went by at high speed. As I got just under the bridge a car was alight big style and it looked like someone was in the passenger seat. I could not get near the car but was convinced some poor bloke had been nmurdered and the car that sped by had summit to do wiith it. I raced to a phone box and fire briaged had the fire under control in no time. the "boddy " was the seat and head rest but in the inferno looked like a body to me.
This is how run down the area became after it was neglected once the HOMES were demolished in the late 60's for those wonderful Tower Blocks that solved all our problems, but went green with the slime running down the sides in the 60's aand 70's.

Go to flickr here to see what they did to those tower blocks once the authorities inherited some brain cells"

On looking through the TIMES online when it was free to do so, I found an article on Carlos Capel who had tanks in the yard opposite Mr Bagle site and were full of petrol or Naptha. After a heavy storm the water ran into the tanks and overflowed and the streets were flooded with a mix of water and petrol. Police went round saying NO FAGS but too late. Many house went up in flames. 1901 that was.

BTW, Petrol as a word comes from Hackney Wick

Keep them stories coming

Regards toby150

Anonymous said...

In addition to this site I have now set one up of my own here Purely for pre 1990 Hackney Wick jobs, homes, streets, family history. In fact the story of Hackney Wick.

Come on in the waters lovely and share your stories with us all. Its free and you only sign up once. Not much in life for free in the UK nowdays, is there?

Anonymous said...

there is a whole chapter called the Lord Napier in Iian Sinclair's book Hackney that Rose Red Empire.

Iker Garcia Barrenetxea said...

Hi there,

Over the next week end Hackney Wicked Festival 3rd Edition will take place as you all probably know.

I have been invited to do a Life Painting Performance at Lord Napier and I would like to invite you to come.

On Saturday from 12 onwards.

All the best,

Iker García Barrenetxea

Unknown said...


I am looking to contact the person that lives/looks after the Lord Napier. Could anybody help me? I am looking to put on an event there in October for Oxfam. Would really appreciate any help.

Also, if anyone could reccommend any other good venues in Hackney Wick i would be very grateful.

Many thanks,


Anonymous said...

I think that the Lord Napier is a brilliant addition to Hackney Wick. It's vibrant, fun, and current to the present day scene. I went to a party there the other night and it was just fantastic, no trouble, a lot of fun, and the people were really kind. This is unusual of a lot of squats and also a lot of Londoners so I think you ought to count yourselves lucky that there's a piece of history next to you. It will be remembered in the hearts of today's youth who have had the pleasure.


David Parkinson said...

To all those with anti-squatter comments I'd like to point out that at least they are making use of the building by uniting people through a medium of dance and music, one of the few things that is keeping the modern youth together!

squatters generally are very respectufl and willing to coperate, if you say to them they've left a mess, more than likely they will listen to you and clean up abit!

Dennis said...

I used to drink here on a pretty regular basis in the 70s. I worked at 31 White Post Lane for Frances and Co delivering pianos. Also, often stopped in here on my way home from Hackney Speedway. Many happy memories. I have lived in California since 78 but have never forgotten this Pub and area.

occupy hackney said...

petition to save the napier going ahead right now on fb

Steve said...

Does anyone know if the Lord Napier is for sale or know a clue about who owns it and how to get in touch


Anonymous said...

Great to see photos. My father managed the Lord Napier for a short spell in the 60's. He worked for a brewery called Ind Coope, they owned it at that time.

Anonymous said...

In the 70's I used to work near to the pub & remember it being reopened under the management of Roy Izzard & hiswife (assisted by his brother-in-law Tony Smith & his wife). They swiftly built up quite a thriving trade. Happy memories!

Anonymous said...

I am not sure if my great Uncle and his wife managed this pub his name was Edmond ( Ted) traveller his wife was Margaret ( think people called her Peggy ) . Did anyone no of them ? Edmond died in the mid 80's .