- Created on Friday, 28 February 2014 12:28
- Written by Christine Beech
My pint with Charles Dickens.....
Just think, last week I had a pint with Charles Dickens, and possibly even Shakespeare! Well maybe a slight exaggeration, but where other than good old London town can you frequent the drinking-holes of the famous and great from yesteryear and find that they still serve excellent beer and food?
I'm talking about Britain's famous pubs of course- these aren't just bars by a long way, they are woven into the fabric of history and the everyday lives of Britons. Where do people meet friends, take colleagues for lunch, join in a quiz or enjoy a club meeting? Always down the pub.... often sitting in a building where if the walls could talk they would have some amazing tales to tell.
The George Inn in Southwark is maybe the most amazing British pub of all, and it was here I found myself popping in for lunch and a pint last week when I was in London and marvelling at the fact that I was sitting in the bar where Charles Dickens used to enjoy a coffee. The George is the only remaining galleried coaching Inn in Britain and sits hidden in a courtyard not far from London Bridge, a secret oasis just yards from the skyscrapers and corporations of the financial heart of the City of London.
Here drinkers step back into the world of horse-drawn coaches and can choose to sit in the Parliament bar, which used to be the waiting room for passengers, or choose the Middle Bar, where Charles Dickens used to enjoy a coffee when the Inn was also a coffee-house. The galleried rooms upstairs were the bedchambers for the weary passengers making their way up to London , perhaps from the coast and even France. The Inn you can see now is relatively new, re-built in 1676 after a fire destroyed much of Southwark- the original inn was shown on a map of the area in 1543! This has lead people to speculate that maybe Shakespeare drank there, as the Globe Theatre was very near... there is no actual proof of this however. When you are sitting in the ancient rooms you can imagine it might just be true...
The most amazing thing of all for me? Step outside the door of the George, look up into the sky and you are transported back to the 21st century and the Shard rises into the clouds like a dagger pointing to the heavens. The juxtaposition of old and new in London is brilliant, surprising, shocking,thrilling, and makes you feel alive like nowhere else on Earth.
Level; CEF B2
Pint- a standard measure of beer in britain
to frequent- to go somewhere often
yesteryear- a very old-fashioned term for the past
drinking-holes slang for bars
woven into the fabric metaphor for part of , connected to
to pop in ( British English) to go in
to marvel - to be amazed by
courtyard a yard where caoches used to load and unload goods and passengers
bedchamber- old-fashioned term for bedroom
to speculate- to guess, wonder ( also gamble)
to transport- to carry
juxtaposition placed together side by side