A stout and well established riverside pub in Strand-On-The-Green, the Bull’s Head looks uncompromisingly across the water to its more prosperous neighbours in Kew. The Kew Railway Bridge crosses the Thames just along the bank.
It has been business since at least 1722, the date of its oldest surviving license to serve alcohol. The likelihood is that the pub goes back considerably further than that and indeed there are stories, possibly urban myths, that Cromwell planned part the Roundhead campaign of the English Civil War within it.
Nowadays Strand On The Green is an upmarket stretch of riverside property and The Bull’s Head has risen with the economic tide. The pub was full of rather well to do customers, who I would guess were all locals, the lunch time I visited. Overall it has definite gastro-pub tendencies, but a hint of the original tavern remains, albeit in more gentrified style. A bunch of young rugby type bucks loudly recounting the previous night’s escapades worked their ways through rounds of beers. Older couples, talked over wine and a plate of food. A very serious-looking small girl, dressed as a fairy coloured in a drawing next to an empty pudding bowl as her father read the sports pages and then silently looked out of the window at the low river.
I picked up a pint of what turned out to be very acceptable Abbott Ale and took it outside to drink as I watched river life flow by. A bunch of lads who were wearing fancy dress and turned out to be on a charity pub crawl, downed their pints with much merriment and speed. One of them insisted I take a picture or two of him before they upped and left. They were heading for Wandsworth and planned a pint in every pub along the river. Considering their state at the Bulls Head that may have proved too ambitious, but I applaud their endeavour.