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21 August 2009

Drink in the Founders Arms

Sure it's not the best pub in London, and on some days it's not even really pleasant, but the Founders Arms is worthy of a place here given the arrogance of being such a blatant tourist trap, whilst also managing to be a pleasant enough spot, and serving nice ales with brilliant views. You shouldn't be able to have it all ways.

Your author tends to be a bit fussy about pubs. Generally it should have history, have an original interior and not be too busy. The Founder's Arms basically passes on none of these counts. However, it does seem, at least, to have a little bit of history, as rumour has it it was built on the site of a foundry where the iron work, and possibly the bells, for St Paul's were forged and cast. (Removed as per Dominic's comment below). However, it is saved by its brilliant views to St Paul's and the City, and its outside space by the river, which offers sunshine in summer and blankets and patio heaters in the winter. In the heart of tourist land and an excellent staging post for a wander from Bankside to somewhere more central, its easily earned a place in your author's heart despite its boring appearance, bland interior and patchy food.

For more information, visit the rather basic website at http://www.foundersarms.co.uk

^Picture courtesy of rjw1^


  1. I agree with you on all points. I had walked past this pub many times before I finally went in as had been put off by its outward appearance. It does have fantastic views though and as part of a walk along the South Bank a good spot for a break.

  2. A relatively recent planning application (for a certificate of lawful use of land adjacent to the A4 premises 12/AP/3902) reveals that the pub and surrounding walkways etc., that comprise a public highway, north of Falcon Point (flats and commercial units) were built on former industrial land. A Young's historical guide - Forever Young's by Helen Osborne - records that the Founder's Arms (and the nearby Prince William Henry in Blackfriars Road) were 19th century pubs bought freehold and leasehold respectively in 1956. The 'new' Founder's Arms was built in 1979 and opened in 1980 by the Dean of St Paul's Cathedral. The pub was behind Founder's Wharf. There was no evidence of a foundry on the site of the wharf or the old pub, though there was one further east near Falcom Wharf. The Worshipful Company of Founders presented the Founder's Arms with a bell cast at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. The pub is also referred to as the Founders Arms.

    1. I saw The Founders Arms being built whilst I was a full-time barman working in The Prince William Henry from 1982 to 1986, so I can't agree that it was built in 1979 and opened in 1980.