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Robin Hood and Little John (Poplar)

Locality
Coordinates 51.51006, -0.007412
Adm. div. Middlesex, now Greater London
Vicinity In Robin Hood Lane, Poplar
Type Public house
Interest Robin Hood name
Status Defunct
First Record 1841
A.k.a. Robin Hood and Little John beer-shop; Robinhood
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Robin Hood Lane, where the Robin Hood and Little John was probably located.
Robin Hood Lane where the pub was most probably located / Google Earth Street View.

By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2018-06-14. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2018-07-16.

The Robin Hood and Little John, also known as the Robinhood, was located somewhere in or quite close to Robin Hood Lane, Poplar. It is mentioned in summaries of cases at the Old Bailey in 1841 and 1876.

From the report of the case in 1841 (see Records below) we can conclude only that the Robin Hood and Little John beer shop (pub) must have been located in or close to Poplar, but if we make the reasonable assumption that the pub was also known as 'the Robinhood', the 1876 case helps us place it in (the vicinity of) Robin Hood Lane, Poplar. A policeman near "the Robinhood, Poplar" sees a man – soon to become the victim of assault and robbery – walking by in the company of another and followed at a short distance by two more who will soon attack him. On his way home from the Iron Bridge pub on what was then known as Barking Road but is now 447 East India Dock Road,[1] he is followed by these two characters who he rightly judges to have evil intentions, so he stops for a while at the shop of a Mr. Forsyth, who eventually walks with him, armed with a truncheon, to the lower end of Robin Hood Lane, from which point the victim proceeds alone to his home. According to the victim, the distance from Mr Forsyth's shop to his home is 600 or 700 yards (s. 550 to 650 m). At present Robin Hood Lane is about 250 m long, and the distance from the point where it meets Poplar High Street to the victims house at No. 278 is a further c. 175 m. Based on these figures, Mr Forsyth's premises must have been at East India Dock Road, 125 to 225 meters east of the point where it meets Robin Hood Lane. The Robin Hood pub was therefore on East India Dock Road or in Robin Hood Lane, and the name of course makes the latter the best choice.

Records

1841 - Proceedings of the Old Bailey (3)

[23 Aug. 1841:]
208. THOMAS PEARCE was indicted for unlawfully, maliciously, and feloniously assaulting Henry Deal, on the 4th of August, and stabbing and wounding him in and upon the left side of his body, with intent to do him some grievous bodily harm.

HENRY DEAL. I am a shoemaker, and live at Limehouse. On Wednesday afternoon, the 4th of August, between three and four o'clock, I went to the Robin Hood and Little John beer-shop, the prisoner was there when I went in—I remained there till between ten and eleven o'clock at night—between seven and eight we were in the parlour, the prisoner, my father-in-law, one Dixon, and Jewell and myself—the prisoner had some words with Thomas Dixon, and said he would punch his b—head in pieces —I replied, "No you won't, because he is not able to stand before you;" as Dixon was a cripple—I said if he hit him, I would hit him again, as he was not able to stand against him—he said he did not care for any man in Poplar who was 9 stone 3lb. weight—after this a wrangle took place between him and me, but it was dropped for some little time, and we afterwards went from the parlour into the tap-room—we still kept wrangling for some time afterwards, and all in an instant he jumped up, and swore d—his eyes if he would not have revenge on me—he got up, and made an attempt to hit me with his hand—I did not notice whether it was shut or open, but I kept it off with my left hand—I then struck him with my right hand, and hit him on the nose, which bled—I afterwards hit at him with my right hand, and I received a pain in my side—the prisoner struck at my side before I felt the pain—at the time I thought it was with his fist—I felt a little pain in my side—after that my father-in-law got up and said, "Don't strike him any more"—I said I would not—we were still quarrelling—I afterwards went out backwards to ease myself, and felt myself very sick—I then returned into the tap-room—he began still rather to wrangle—I drank out of the pot with my father-in-law—he and I went out the front way, and we had a few words out in the street—I went directly to my father-in-law's house, and when we came home I told him I felt rather queer in my side—I remained in an arm-chair, resting, until the morning (I did not live with him) between four and five o'clock I felt myself a great deal worse—I had no waistcoat on, and I looked down, and saw the blood on my shirt—I asked my father-in-law to look, and there was a wound in my side—I looked at it myself, and saw a hole in my side, and a hole in my shirt, and in the waistband of my trowsers—my father-in-law dressed, and went for a policeman—the parish doctor came down and looked at me—they took me to the hospital directly—I remained there until now—no body else had struck me a blow in the course of the day—when the prisoner struck me I felt the pain in the same part as the wound is—I had not got the wound when I went into the Robin Hood and Little John—I had not seen any thing in the prisoner's hand—I had seen him once or twice before.

Cross-examined by MR. BALLANTINE. Q. How many of you were there in the public-house? A. Five of us—my father-in-law was there—the other persons were not my friends—I had been drinking with Dixon before—Jewell was the fourth person, but I believe he was out the greatest part of the time—I found the prisoner in the house when I went in—he appeared then to have been drinking a great deal, he was not very sober then—he drank beer several times with my father-in-law—Dixon did not use gross language to him in my presence—at first, I had no idea I was wounded, and did not inform the prisoner of it—a bread-and-cheese knife has been found, which is supposed to have inflicted the wound—I do not know if he used it for bread and cheese—(produced)—this is the knife that was produced afterwards—I did not notice any eating going on during the time—there might have been, but I did not see any.

JURY. Q. What time did you leave the public-house? A. I suppose it was between ten and eleven o'clock—I did not discover the wound until after four o'clock the next morning—I was not very sober at night—I was in the morning when I looked at it.

ROBERT AYLIFFE. I am a City policeman. I saw the last witness on the morning of the 5th of August, and saw his wound—his shirt was all over blood with the cutting, and also the waistband of his drawers—I afterwards went to Robin Hood-lane, and there found the prisoner in a house—I took him into custody, and told him he was charged on suspicion of stabbing a man—I did not say what man—he said it was a bad job, he could not help it—I took him to the station, and took the prosecutor to the hospital.[2]

1876 - Proceedings of the Old Bailey (1)

[28 Feb. 1876:]
220. GEORGE FREDERICK STANHOPE (32), Robbery on Barnabas Riley, and stealing from his person a watch and pocket-book, his property.

MR. DOUGLAS conducted the Prosecution.

BARNABAS RILEY. I am a tobacconist, of 278, High Street, Poplar—on the 26th February, after 10 o'clock at night, I was at the Iron Bridge public-house, Barking Road, with a friend—I saw the prisoner there doing sleight-of-hand work and different kinds of tricks—I have known him by sight many years; he is what they call a sharper—he is not a particular friend of mine, but he made himself an acquaintance—I serve thirty or forty public-houses—I had had more drink than was quite right—I went out of the public-house, leaving him there, but he was very quick after me—he ran after me as hard as he could with a little man about 5 feet high—I ran into Mr. Forsyth's shop, and remained there till I got him to go home with me and bring a little bit of a truncheon—the prisoner had not spoken to me nor I to him—we had to go 600 or 700 yards to my house—we were talking, and I did not see the prisoner—Mr. Forsyth left me at the bottom of Robin Hood Lane, and I went on alone—I opened my side door with my latch-key, and as soon as I had done so the prisoner said "Ain't you going to bid us good-night, old chap?" and he threw me down with one hand and took my watch and pocket-book—my wife and my boy spoke to me at my door, but I did not go in; I ran to the police-station with as much strength as I had left—I could not speak, but I was told something—my pocket-book was returned to me next morning, but I have not seen my watch again.

Cross-examined by the Prisoner. I went to my friend to take me home, I being rather in liquor—I did not stop to see whether you were following us—if you stole my watch and pocket-book I cannot say how my pocket-book came to be found at the public-house.

HENRY DIXON. I am a labourer, of 12, Leicester Street, Poplar—on the night of the 6th January, between 12 and 1 p.m., I was standing with Lovesey outside Mr. Townsend's, High Street, Poplar; that is about a mile and a quarter from the Irion [sic] Bridge tavern—I saw Riley pass me, and saw the prisoner and a man with a black eye—I said something to Lovesey and took notice of them—I saw them cross the road—I followed them; they went to Riley's door, and both got close to the door—Riley went in soon afterwards, and then the two men ran away, and Riley came out and holloaed "Stop thief!" and they both ran towards Bow Lane—they might go that way to the Iron Bridge, but it is a long way—when Riley called out a policeman ran up, and I said "You are just too late"—when they ran away I was so surprised that I had not time to do anything.

Cross-examined. You were 20 yards behind Riley on the same side—I saw Riley's Albert chain hanging on his waistcoat; he was smoking a pipe—I might have got stopped myself if I had stopped you.

HENRY LOVESEY. I live at 6, Surrey Place, Poplar—I was with Dixon standing outside a beer-shop, and saw Riley coming along and the prisoner and another man following him behind—they crossed the road after Riley, who unlocked his door and went inside, and the moment he got inside he made some answer—the prisoner then said "Come on," and they ran up Poplar—I was only following them two or three seconds.

Cross-examined. His coat was open and I saw that he had a watch, and thought you were going to steal it—I did not run after you because the last I stopped in Poplar I got my nose broken, but I got a reward of 10s.

HERBERT KERSEY. On 27th February, at 7.25 a.m., I found this pocket-book just opposite the Aberfeldie Arms, in a field—that is near the Iron Bridge—I gave it to Riley, it was open—nothing was in it, but the bills were strewed about by the side of it; I picked them up and put them inside. B. Riley (re-examined). This is my pocket-book—Kersey gave it to me.

GEORGE QUANTRELL (Policeman). On 26th February, about 11 o'clock or 11.30, I was near the Robinhood, Poplar, and saw Riley and another gentleman—the prisoner and another man were following, 20 yards behind them, in the direction of Riley's house—I did not watch them as I had no suspicion—I have been looking for the other man, but have not been able to find him.[3]

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