Former Grave Maurice public house, 269 Whitechapel Road

1873-4, public house, closed 2010 and converted to shops and flats by 2014

The Grave Maurice in 1844
Contributed by stephen.r.harris on Dec. 21, 2016

On the Proceedings of the Old Bailey website we can read the account of the 1844 trial of Timothy Tobin and John McNally. The pair were found guilty of grievously assaulting a fellow customer after leaving the Grave Maurice pub. The account gives some colour to what the pub and its customers were like at this time, before it was rebuilt in 1874.  The pub was described as being large, with a Parlour and a Taproom. Customers on the night in question included John Hatfield, a builder's labourer nicknamed Long Jack, McNally, an engine driver or stoker who wore a paper cap, Tobin, who was wearing a glazed hat, and (possibly) Patrick Fining, who said he lodged nearby and had shared three pots of porter in the pub with friends and stayed behind to listen to a man sing a song when his friends left.  Serving in the pub were potboy James Davis and landlord Thomas Hill.

Local landmarks referred to in the case were the Blind Beggar pub and Gilass' butter shop on Whitechapel Road, and a pub at the corner of North Street (this must be the Queen's Head, North Street being a former name for Brady Street).

The former Grave Maurice public house, 269 Whitechapel Road
Contributed by Survey of London on Nov. 28, 2017

A pub called the Grave Maurice was present on this site by the 1720s on a lease dating from 1670. The name, probably commemorating Prince Maurice of the Palatinate, who fought on the Royalist side in the English Civil War, suggests seventeenth-century origins. Joseph Fairfax was the proprietor by 1730. After his death in 1749, his son, Robert Fairfax, followed and in 1754 married Ruth Ireland, the sister or niece of Samuel Ireland, who developed the property lying westwards after 1767, when other property of Ireland’s was auctioned from the pub.1

What had already been a large pub was rebuilt in its surviving form in 1873–4, possibly anticipating the arrival of the East London Railway. The proprietor was John Billinghurst of the George Hotel on the Strand, and his builder was Robert Mann of Kentish Town. The name and date are still prominent in the window aprons under the upper storey, amid polychrome brickwork that includes gauged arched heads in a double-storey arcade. There were additions to the rear in 1936, for Truman Hanbury and Buxton Ltd. The Grave Maurice is said to have been frequented by the Kray brothers in the 1950s and early 1960s. It closed in 2010 and by 2014 had been converted for two shops below flats.2

  1. London Metropolitan Archives, M/93/430; MR/LV/05/026; Land Tax returns: The National Archives, PROB11/1141/310: Ancestry: Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser, 24 Feb 1767 

  2. District Surveyors Returns: Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives, L/THL/D/2/30/171: information from Stephen Harris: Tower Hamlets planning applications 

Drinking in the Grave Maurice
Contributed by mbarrhamilton

The last time I remember going for a drink in this pub must have been in about 2005. Pubs in the area were closing rapidly but the Grave Maurice appeared to be desperately hanging on. The interior was delightfully gloomy and there was an air of dilapidation. The clientele appeared to be mainly of Irish descent and some form of billiards was being played.

A 'hospital' pub
Contributed by IsobelWatson

My memory of this place was before it had become allowed to become dilapidated, and in fact was quite well-cared for, if still (by the 1980s- 1990s) a bit old-fashioned. The walls had extensive wooden panelling - think inter-war; quite light in effect - and above a high-level shelf round the walls was ranged an extensive collection of ceramic plates.  It was extremely popular with off-duty Hospital staff; no criticism of them, but the consequent smoky fug (in those days) made it very unattractive to a non-smoker.

Whitechapel Road panorama in 2014
Contributed by Chris Redgrave

269 Whitechapel Road in 2016
Contributed by Derek Kendall

269-277 Whitechapel Road in 2016
Contributed by Derek Kendall

269-273 Whitechapel Road in 2016
Contributed by Derek Kendall

269 Whitechapel Road with van, December 2018
Contributed by Derek Kendall