The first pub on the site probably originated during the Wars of the Roses in the 1460s and was called The Hostel.
Although the claimed date of foundation is indeed 1545, previous to that date there have been testimonials on the site of a pub called “The Red Cow”, a reference to the barmaid working at the time.
The notorious Judge Jeffreys was caught outside the ale house as he tried to escape disguised as a sailor on a collier bound for Hamburg after the Glorious Revolution, in the same year, which overthrew King James II. Presiding over the Bloody Assizes after Monmouth’s unsuccessful rebellion against James II, Judge Jeffreys had taken great pleasure in sending hundreds to their execution, and in abusing their attorney’s, which was a costly mistake as one of them recognised him resulting in his capture!
In 1766 the pub became known as Ramsgate Old Town.
In 1811 it had again took on a new identity known as Town of Ramsgate. The reference to Ramsgate became about after the fishermen of Ramsgate who landed their catches at Wapping Old Stairs. They chose to do so as to avoid the river taxes which had been imposed higher up the river close to Billingsgate Fish Market.
Ramsgate harbour of 1850 features in the pub sign and is also etched on the mirror near the entrance to the pub.As for the Wapping Old Stairs next door, they also have a bloody history.
After a renumbering exercise, the pub acquired its current address in 62 Wapping High Street. Its previous address was given historically at various times as both Reardon Path and Anchor & Hope Lane. To this day Town of Ramsgate is the only historical Pub left on the High Street, where up to 20 other pubs were on the map at the beginning of the 20th Century
1946 to 1980s
After escaping destruction in the raids during World War II, a few extensions were built between the ‘50s and the ‘80s, according to planning records, resulting in the current layout with a cosy riverside terrace. You can notice a few pictures on the wall, dating back to 1958, of a pub with two distinctive areas: the Public Bar at the front and the Backroom Lounge at the back. There is currently no separation and the bar follows along a very narrow room to the back garden.
Local residents Janet and Peter Biddle became Landlords, followed in 2022 by their daughter Sonia and her husband Bruno Cernecca who happily took on the family business. The values of delivering quality and reasonably priced products together with efficient and attentive service are now still the main foundations of their family business principles.
If you visit during low tide, you can still see the post to which condemned pirates were chained to drown as the tide rose. The Stairs were made famous in Rawlinson’s cartoon and Dibden’s poems. John Banks came here, with Captain Bligh to inspect the Bounty before purchasing it for the ill-fated voyage to Tahiti.
More happily, many returning sailors were met by their sweethearts on the Old Stairs at the end of a voyage. The silent question that must have been on many sailor’s lips is answered by a verse on the wall of the pub.
“Your Polly has never been faithless she swears, since last year we parted on Wapping Old Stairs.”
The Town of Ramsgate has got to be my (and my husband's) favorite pub in the area ( if not in all of London). Fabulous food, ambiance, and the friendliest of staff!
A lovely, welcoming, cosy pub with helpful staff that greet you with a smile, a brilliant river view and terrace for those warm summer days, and just generally a chilled-out and friendly place to relax and enjoy a beer.
I think this is my new favorite pub. Staff are super friendly. Food is delicious. I wish this pub was my local so I could visit more often!
What a lovely welcome! Great food with the warmest welcome, the pub is full of history. Great food with amazing staff, you cannot go wrong. Thank you!!!
Had a lovely meal and drink. Bruno the owner and staff are very friendly. Historic pub next to Wapping Old Stairs.
We are open every day! (Monday to Saturday 12 noon to 11pm and Sunday 12 noon to 10:30pm). We have a delicious menu with plenty of homemade classics and a special menu for lighter lunch options on weekdays. You can also try our specials on the board: something different for any taste! Kitchen is open every day 12 noon to 4 pm and 5pm to 9pm.
We love dogs and yours are very welcome to join you but they need to be well behaved and quiet for the enjoyment and respect of others, they must also be on a lead and remain on the floor at all times.
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