Thinking allowed — 07 February 2017
The last Blue Posts

Have you noticed the preponderance of pubs named the Blue Posts? A simple tally shows at least five plus, as is inevitable in London nowadays, there are others which have closed to allow yet more ’executive apartments’ to be built.

For many years it was thought that while barber/surgeons sported a red and white striped pole outside their premises, a pair of blue posts denoted that this was a sedan rank.

A comparison between the demise of blue posts pubs and London cabs has to be made here. Sedan chairs were usurped by Hansom cabs; no doubt the blue posts were discarded at this time, as now the black cab is, with breathtaking speed, being overtaken (physically and metaphorically) by Uber.

So how many blue posts pubs are, or were, in London?

Cowcross Street (now called Jacomo’s); Berwick Street; Rupert Street (closed to build flats above the pub); Kingly Street (now a gastropub); Hanway Street (closed); Old Bond Street (called Two Blue Posts, possibly closed); Newman Street; and Bennet Street which has the following sign hanging above this St James hostelry featuring a sedan chair and two brilliant-blue bollards:

Although the existing ’Blue Posts‘ replaces one which was destroyed during World War II, a pub of this name, on this site, was mentioned by the Restoration dramatist George Etheredge as early as 1667.The poet Lord Byron lived next door in 1813. The ‘Blue Posts’ (two azure painted poles) once stood in the tavern’s forecourt and served as an advertisement for a fleet of sedan chairs which used to ply for hire in Bennet Street.

 

The first rank for Horse-drawn cabs according to Matt Brown at the Londonist was the brainchild of Captain John Baily in 1634 and was situated on the Strand near Somerset House.

Unlike the old sedan ranks with their tiny blue posts this nascent rank was next to a 100ft maypole, no wonder they usurped the sedan chairs.

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