Public House

A major new book about the London pub, explored through multiple voices and perspectives and edited by David Knight and Cristina Monteiro.

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For centuries, the London pub has been a place of social fermentation where all manner of people have come to drink, think, share stories, and company. Surviving plagues, bombs, fires, and floods, they have borne witness to wakes, weddings, and the writing of world-changing manifestos. London’s pubs have provided the social and architectural infrastructure for civic life to thrive with a remarkably varied mix of spaces for meeting, making up, breaking up, and cultural conviviality.
From opulent former Gin Palaces to humble Taverns to Micropubs and community-owned pubs, the story of London’s more than 3,500 pubs tells the story of the city itself. This book will celebrate the incredible diversity, design, and stories of London’s public houses as we are at last able to enjoy them again. Tracing the development of the pub as an enduring institution through societal upheavals the book will connect changes in pubs with wider social and political movements; filled with original drawings, photography, and archive material.
The book is conceived as a conversation, with many voices telling tales of pubs across London, and through them teasing out important themes including architecture, music, LGBTQ+ history, comedy, migration, and intangible cultural heritage. Interspersed are shorter texts written by the editors, covering over 100 pubs across the city’s past and present, weaving a tapestry of the pub’s complex and diverse role in the life of London, from 1388 to 2021.


Published by Open City to coincide with the 2021 Open House London festival.


Including contributions from: Jennifer Lucy Allan, Nana Biamah-Ofosu, Jessica Boak and Ray Bailey, Clare Cumberlidge, Ruth Ewan, Paul Flynn, Kelly Foster, Laura C. Forster, Orit Gat, Phineas Harper, Rupa Huq MP,  Jonathan Moses, Daniel Rosbottom, Bernd Schmutz, Neal Shasore, Bob Stanley, Timothy Smith, Eleanor Suess, Isy Suttie, Jonathan Taylor, Luke Turner, Lily Waite, and Jaega Wise, and with a preface by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

Edited by David Knight and Cristina Monteiro
Designed by Studio Christopher Victor
Published by Open City

Financial Times Books of the Year 2021

Feature in The Guardian, September 2021

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