Tag Archives: free houses

Public vs Free Houses

It’s not really feasible for me to continue much further without actually discussing the origins of the pub, and the terminology that surrounds their definition.

The use of the word “pub” as we know it largely developed during the 19th century, which isn’t to say that these establishments were new, or that there was no drinking culture predating the Victoria era. Quite to the contrary, in fact. Rather, before this time there was a greater variety of terminology, referring to many different kinds of establishment. “Pub” itself developed from the “public house”, which was but one type of institution (also known as an “ale house”), alongside the earlier coaching inns (which provided accommodation to travellers) and taverns (focused more on wine and food). Some of these survive in name, but very few still retain their original architecture. One such is the famous George Inn (Borough SE1, fig. 6) with its galleries facing a central court.

The George (Borough SE1)
Figure 6. The George (Borough SE1).

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