Sort file:- Greenwich, February, 2023.

Page Updated:- Thursday, 16 February, 2023.


Earliest 1726-

(Name from)

Plume of Feathers

Open 2020+

19 Park Place (Park Wall 1866)(Mays Hill 1823Pigot's Directory 1823)


020 8858 1661

Plume of Feathers 1900

Above photo, 1900, showing the pub extreme right.

Plume of Feathers

Photos taken from by Matt Martin, in March 2007.


This is said to be the oldest pub in Greenwich and can be dated back to the 1600s. Steve Mortimore says the building was built in 1691 and was called the "Prince of Wales" until 1726.


Canterbury Journal, Kentish Times and Farmers' Gazette, Saturday 24 October 1891.

Found drowned in The Creek.

On Thursday last, W. J. Harris, Esq., one of the Coroner's for Kent, held an inquest at the "Coal Exchange Inn," touching the death of Edward Smith, age 58 years, whose body was found in the Creek on the previous mourning. Until recently the deceased had kept the "Plume of Feathers" public house at Greenwich, but, during the fortnight previous to his death, he had been staying at Faversham. He was a native of this place, though he had not resided here for a long period, and it is stated that he was a grandson of the late Mr. John Smith, who, many years ago, occupied Perry Court.

Mr. F. Brett was chosen foreman of the jury, and the body, which was lying at the rear of the premises, having been viewed, evidence was taken as follows.

John Haywood, licensed victualler, Clifton Street, Frindsbury, (pub not yet identified but supposed Ramsgate area) deposed that the deceased, Edward Smith, was his father-in-law, and his age was 58. He was a licensed victualler and kept the "Plume of Feathers," Greenwich. Witness last saw him alive 3 weeks ago, and then understood him to say that he was going to Faversham to see some friends.

Mr. John Gregory, waterman, of 9, Water Lane, Faversham, stated that at 6 o'clock on Tuesday evening he saw the deceased leaning over the rails of the bridge of the sluice gates. Witness passed the spot in about an hour, and deceased was still there, though it rained very hard. Witness spoke to him, but he did not reply, and witness thought he belonged to a foreign ship lying in the Creek. Deceased attempted to walk, but was in liquor and could not go straight. Deceased went in the direction of the "Coal Exchange," and witness did not see him afterwards.

Thomas Inge, labourer, employed at Messrs. Whittle and Co's wharf, stated that about a quarter past six o'clock on Wednesday morning he went along the wharf and saw something black in the Creek. On going a little nearer he saw a hat beside it in the water. He fetched a boat hook and secured it to the sleeve of the coat, and then found it was the body of a man in the water. Witness called assistants and the police were sent for. P.C. Acton came, and witness assisted in getting the body out and bringing it to the "Coal Exchange." The man was quite dead, and the body stiff and cold. There were no marks of violence upon it. From the position of the body, witness was in opinion that deceased must have fallen into the Creek at the Town Wharf, overnight.

Police Constable Acton disposed that at 6:15 the previous morning he was sent for and went to Messrs. Whittle and Co's wharf, where he saw the deceased taken out of the water, and recognise the body as that of a man who had been lodging at the "Recreation Tavern" for a fortnight or more. He searched the body and found no marks of violence upon it; he was of opinion that the body had been in the water some hours. Witnessed took some money and keys from the pockets, as well as two letters from deceased's daughters. Witness had the body removed to the "Coal Exchange."

Inspector Fowle informed the Coroner as a matter of fact that the deceased had lodged at the "Recreation Tavern" for a fortnight and two days, and during the greater part of the time had been drinking heavily.

The Coroner said there could be no sort of doubt that the cause of death was suffocation by drowning, and the question for the jury to decide was how deceased became drowned. There was the fact that he was not sober at the time, and as the public had access to the wharf it was very easy for him, in the state he was then, to have stepped into the Creek without intending to do so. There was no evidence to point to any intention of suicide.

Mr. Marsh, one of the jurymen, said deceased was at his eating house a fortnight ago, and he acted in such a strange manner that he did not believe he was accountable for his action.

The Coroner reminded the jury that deceased was upon the night in question the worst for liquor, and had no control of his legs.

The Foreman observed that the night was very rough, and deceased might of mistaken the turning to the wharf for the road over the bridge.

The coroner remarked that there was a possibility of it being an accident.

The jury returned an open verdict of "Found Drowned, and the Coroner said he thought that was the best verdict to return under the circumstances.

From their web site accessed 25 March 2018.

Who would have thought that just a few generations ago the landlord of the Plume of Feathers had a servant? But there she is, good old Elsie Bunyan, aged 29, in the 1911 Census. Name: Elsie May Bunyan. Sex: F. Relationship to head: Servant. Occupation: Domestic.

But times change and with it does Greenwich’s oldest pub. Today most people would say the Plume of Feather ‘is a traditional boozer that is nicely tucked away by the park’. That’s its charm and that’s the way us locals like it. And it’s all thanks to Lord Romney.

The pub was built in 1691, and was ideally situated on the busy Dover Road as travellers left Greenwich. Coaches and carts would pass through the gatehouse of the Queen’s House (possibly paying a toll there) and on their left would be the perfect place to stop off before they headed towards Kent. It’s likely that as well as being an inn, livestock, such as cows and sheep, were also kept here. Samuel Travers map of 1695 describes the area as simply, ‘Freehold Lands in the Lordship of East Greenwich and some Lands belonging to Lady Biddulph and Others within the manor of West Comb.’

But as traffic increased Lord Romney, the Park Ranger at the time, decided the original road was not big enough, so in 1699 he built a new one (with some other men obviously) about 100 metres to the north. It’s the Romney Road you still use today as you head towards Woolwich and beyond. But for a few years the pub enjoyed being right there on the ‘main’ road.

William III and Mary II were on throne when the pub first opened for business. On 12 July William III’s troops defeated Irish and French troops who were supporting the Catholic James II in the Battle of Aughrim as part of the War of English Succession. At that time there was no National Debt (it only came into effect in 1694) or even a Bank of England (same year). The population of London as a whole was only 550-600,000. Greenwich Observatory was there (1695) – but what is now the Old Royal Naval College was not because although Mary II commissioned Christopher Wren to build the then Royal Hospital for Seamen in 1692/3, it was only started in 1696.

Clive Asslet, in his book Greenwich Millennium, describes the scene at the time the pub was built: “Greenwich… had… been making every effort to transform (itself) from impoverished fishing village into neat little suburbs. At the beginning of the eighteenth century the Seamen’s Hospital was edged by a surf of higgledy-piggledy timber-fronted houses tumbling into mean streets and around odd little inlets and courts.”

Evidence of the pub appears in the Greenwich Parish rate books in 1717 when John Isaacs (possibly the landlord) was paying rates of 10 shillings and 8d. Licensing records reveal that the pub was at that time called the "Prince of Wales." Widow Jane Whitall took over the pub a few years later and by 1726 had changed the name of the pub to The Plume of Feathers.

The Plume of Feathers is, of course, the heraldic badge of the Prince of Wales. Although the use of three ostrich feathers can be traced back to Edward, the Black Prince, who probably adopted it after it appeared at the wedding of his parents, Edward III and Philippa of Hainault, by the time of the Widow Whitall it was firmly in the preserve of the Prince of Wales. Today the Plume insignia makes regular appearances in our lives as it is used by numerous military regiments, the Welsh rugby team and the Surrey County Cricket Club to name a few. And every time you use an old-style two pence piece the Plume will be staring you in the face.

The Whitall (or Wheatall) family – Jane, Stephen and Charles – were landlords until 1770 when the licence was transferred to John Bendell, with the rateable value for the pub at the time being 12. Just before this Charles Whitall had bought a small cottage, part of the terrace to the west side of the pub, and it’s likely the two properties were knocked into one. When the cottages on the site of 21 Park Vista were demolished in 1952 it was found that the beams ran through to the pub (the previous end cottage that had been bought in 1770).

It’s possible, like many pubs of today, that the Plume changed its name from time to time. For instance, a sketch map of 1792 refers to it simply as the Feathers Inn, with land to the east of it marked as ‘Tribunes reserved for the use of James Taylor Esq and servants of Park Place’. Over the years the pub has been owned by various individuals, the Beehive Brewery, the Hoare Brewery, the Watney Brewery, Truman’s Brewery, Courage Supply Line, and Scottish & Newcastle.

In 1884 Greenwich’s meridian was adopted by the world as the prime meridian of the world (except the French, who continued to use the Paris one until 1911) and in that moment the Plume of Feathers became the first pub in the Eastern hemisphere (or at least one of them). And to this day it continues to serve beer and food on its original site, which now sits on the edge of the UNESCO Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site.

The Rose family secured the licence of the Plume in 1980 and further significant changes were made to the pub in 1994 when the kitchen was extended, and the restaurant, which can seat 30 people, was built at the back. Today the Plume of Feathers can host 150 people and, when our infamous London weather allows, the garden another 50 people. Susan Rose and son James have been independent landlords since 1999 when they become free of the tie and were able to buy from various suppliers of their choice.

Today, this warm and friendly pub, adorned with original claygate fireplace and features, enhanced by maritime relics and historical paintings, continues to provide a feeling of being in a country pub while being in one of the world busiest and greatest cities.

What would servant Elsie Bunyon have made of it all we wonder?


As the information is found or sent to me, including photographs, it will be shown here.

Thanks for your co-operation.


From the By Marina Soteriou, 23 August 2011.

Greenwich pub goes for gold with their hanging baskets.

Plume of feathers locals 2011

Landlady Sue Rose in the black and white checked dress with customers from the pub.

A pub was third time lucky after it won gold at a gardening competition.

Plume of Feathers hanging baskets 2011

The famous hanging baskets.

The Plume of Feathers in Park Vista, Greenwich, won the gold award for the best hanging baskets and window boxes in this year’s Greenwich in Bloom competition, after previously bagging the bronze and the silver.

Landlady Sue Rose, who has worked at the pub for 32 years, said: “We were going for gold. The staff worked hard to win the prize, watering the flowers religiously. They have surpassed themselves. Lots of customers remark on the flowers and we are in a residential road so we want to make the pub as pretty as possible as people on the road do a lot to maintain their gardens.”

Mrs Rose, is due to collect her certificate a ceremony at Woolwich town hall, after finding out about the win on August 13.



Last pub licensee had WHITALL/WHEATALL Jane, Stephen & Charles 1726-1770

BENDELL John 1770+

SMITH George 1775+

HOLMES Ezekiel 1777+

WADE Henry 1779+

BATCHELOR Francis 1783+

TURNER John 1785+

GARRETT John 1789+

NICHOLLS Thomas 1794+

LACKINGTON Mary 1823-34+ Pigot's Directory 1823Pigot's Directory 1832-34

GEARY Thomas to Jan/1846 dec'd Kentish Mercury

GEARY Mary (widow) Jan/1846+ Kentish Mercury

PREECE William 1847-52+

BARTON M Mrs 1862+

BRIEN George 1866-67+

GOSLIN James to May/1869

CRANE James Frederick Charles May/1869-Mar/72 dec'd (age 30 in 1871Census)

CRANE Emma Elizabeth Mar/1872+

LEECH John 1874+

PORTER Charles 1881-82+ (age 30 in 1881Census)

FIFIELD Joshua John 1889+

SMITH Edward to Oct/1891 dec'd (age 58 in 1891Census)

LAWRENCE James 1896-1919+

LAWRENCE Herbert 1931+

PALMER Arthur Horace 1936-44+

???? 1962+

ROSE Jimmy 1978+

ROSE Susan 1980-99

ROSE Susan & James (son) 1999-2010+


Pigot's Directory 1823From the Pigot's Directory 1823

Pigot's Directory 1832-34From the Pigot's Directory 1832-33-34


Kentish MercuryKentish Mercury


If anyone should have any further information, or indeed any pictures or photographs of the above licensed premises, please email:-