The Old Three Colts pub, Bow

Site of Old Three Colts pub on Old Ford Road , Bow

Kim Durrant wrote in to ask why he can’t any information about The Old Three Colts pub at 450 Old Ford Road. He said his great grandparents worked and lived in it for a few years. Their names were Harry and Alice Burr.

I did a bit of research and found it was in existence from 1792 to 1948. Maybe it was a victim of WW2, which would place it just about beyond living memory.

1870 Street Directory showing Old Three Colts
1870 Street Directory showing Old Three Colts, Old Ford Road, Bow

I found The Old Three Colts in the 1870 Street Directory (above) at the time when St Stephens Road was called Three Colt Street. Depending which street directory you look in, it was about four doors along from St Stephens Road on the south side of Old Ford Road. It was towards the right side of my top photo. Just above the entry you can see George Brown, beer retailer. He’s the first licensee the Eleanor Arms. Looking though the street directories it’s only recently that the Eleanor was listed as a pub. It always appeared under the name of the beer retailer. Can anybody tell me why? It’s the same situation in the 1939 street directory below.

1939 Street Directory showing Old Three Colts
1939 Street Directory showing Old Three Colts, Old Ford Road , Bow

The building the Eleanor occupies is a 1930s rebuild. There’s a Bow Heritage Trail plaque about where the Old Three Colts was for the Gunmakers Arms. But that’s just to confuse you. The Gunmakers Arms was on the west side of St Stephens Road.

Alan Tucker


  1. My late grandfather (who emigrated to Australia in the 60s) grew up in that pub. His father was Philip Rosenberg who you see listed in the 1939 street directory above. My grandfather told me the name and address of the pub he grew up in so when I moved to London I went to visit but realised it was no longer there. I previously also looked it up here –

    Would love to see a photo if anyone has one.

    1. but what years your parents sold old three colts bow ?depends when the pub old three colts demolished? do you have photo of old three colts bow pub ?
      kind regards

  2. You say “I did a bit of research and found it was in existence from 1792 to 1948”. It existed into the 60s as my parents were the landlords in early 60s; maybe the last ones.

  3. Re your question about beer retailers and pubs. I would hazard a guess that a beer retailer (unless it was like an old off licence) was what outside London was called a beer house. These places were licenced only to sell beer, whereas a public house could sell alcohol of all forms: Beer, wine, spirits, etc. Beer houses, as a form of retailer, are actually older than pubs and centuries ago many would have brewed their own drinks. I know of a village in Sussex with less than a thousand inhabitants in the mid-19th century but it had eight beer houses.

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