The original Crooked Billet Alehouse located in the marshes at Creekmouth, was first mentioned in 1719 and it, along with the Gunpowder warehouses, was the only building in this lonely and isolated part of Barking before the arrival of the Lawes factory in the 1850’s.
Coming and Going
During the time of the Barking fishing industry, this was one of the best situated of all the Barking “Alehouses”. Here the fishermen had their last drink before embarking on the long and intrepid voyage to the fishing grounds in the North Sea. This was also the place they had their first drink on their return from sea. The old Crooked Billet with its weather boarded walls was replaced by the present building in 1925
Who’s the Guvnor?
One of the first recorded ‘licensed victuallers’ was a Mr Robert Berrycloth, in 1826. He was followed by William Kirk, his wife, Hannah Ward and several children, in 1851. He remained the ‘Guvnor’ for around 16 years, before the pumps were given over to Henry Coates. The longest running family of licensees was the Stubbs’ family. Three generations of the family ran the pub for nearly 60 years. Sadly, the last ‘Guvnors’ of this historic pub were Michael and Ellen McLean. They had to move on to another pub when the brewery sold The Crooked Billet and it was revamped and renamed The River Club, to be used as a “gentlemen’s club”.