Work in progress.. suggestions/additions and corrections welcome
The George stands at the corner of Great Portland Street and Mortimer Street, W1. It was first recorded on site in 1677, however the existing building is Georgian (and Grade II listed).
Its nickname was 'The Gluepot' - given by Sir Henry Wood, who would rehearse BBC orchestras at the Queen's Hall (on the site now occupied by Henry Wood House and the St Georges Hotel). During breaks in rehearsals and concerts his musicians, particularly the brass section, made their way to this house to slake their thirsts. Some were late in returning to their musical duties, where they were severely reprimanded by the Maestro, accused of staying too long "in that bloody gluepot". However the Queen's Hall was huge, with audiences up to 3,000 strong using 17 entrances, and it's entirely possible that various bits of orchestras also used Riding House Street exits to reach the Yorkshire Grey (qv) in Langham Street. The Queen's Hall was gutted in an air-raid in 1941. There had been an afternoon performance of Elgar's Dream of Gerontius, and that night a single incendiary bomb put an end to an already weakened building.
Broadcasting House had opened in 1932. Around the Second World War, Hugh MacDiarmid, WH Auden, Robert Graves, Laurence Durrell and Muriel Spark (sometimes collectively referred to as BBC Bohemia) were customers of The George. In 1939, Humphrey Searle remembers meeting Constant Lambert, Louis MacNeice, Alan Rawsthorne, Dylan Thomas, W.R. Rodgers, Michael Ayrton and more there.
The Yorkshire Grey in Langham Street has a plaque just inside the back door (on Middleton Passage) which says it dates from 1822. A review setting up the East Marylebone Conservation Area, however, dates the current building at around 1860. In terms of "star" customers, we have Arthur Rimbaud, French poet and libertine, who stayed at Number 25 over the road; and may well have brought Paul Verlaine round for a snifter. Later, Ezra Pound lodged in the building just across Middleton Passage, as evidenced in this excellent piece by James Campbell: So it is that the two fiercest street-fighters of modern poetry, one French, the other American, shared the same London local. Though not of course, at the same time. Shapesoftime imagines they did in another little gem here. The appetite for drink of Dylan Thomas (and the occasional need to hide from BBC producers) brought him here as well as to The George.
Recent customers have included Sir Tom Jones and Noddy Holder.