The Raven came into existence in 1839 and it didn’t surprise me to learn that it was originally a stable block. Formerly known as ‘The Raven Tavern’, the name is supposed to be linked to the old Ravenscourt Manor House and the park. The Manor House was at one time surrounded by a moat fed by the Stamford Brook and then demolished after suffering severe damage by incendiary bombs in 1941. The pub is situated almost opposite Stamford Brook Station and on the Hammersmith and Chiswick border.
A few months ago the pub was featured in the local Gazette’s weekly series, ‘Pub Quiz’. I was particularly interested in the final question put to the landlord. It asked him for an historical fact about the pub:
‘We used to have a maternity hospital at the end of the road and when the child was born, traditionally the father used to come in here and sign a book. We still have the old entries from the 1940’s.’ I don’t know why he described it as being ‘down the road’, but as I was born in Queen Charlotte’s, I later planned a visit. Eventually myself and Bernard Lambert (Kerrins to the Indy R’s message board), popped in to investigate. The staff were happy to oblige, but pointed out that they had to be cautious as at least one of the books had been stolen because they contained various famous and well known names.
Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols, Zak Starkey and American Jazz singer, Marion Montgomery’s daughter Abigail were all born in Queen Charlotte’s. The list also includes Daniel Radcliffe, Emily Franke, Mischa Barton and Dame Helen Mirren who portrayed the hospital namesake in ‘The Madness of King George’. We gingerly turned the pages, but the nearest entry was the day after I entered this world. Dad may well have had a pint in ‘The Sun’ or the ‘Queen of England’ after I was born or maybe he just went home ?
There was a good choice of real ale and Bernard settled as usual for a Club Orange. The staff were friendly and the tapas looked tempting, but we settled for a sandwich. With the framed rugby shirts on the wall, this gastro pub must of been quite different to the 1970’s as Bernard recalls:
‘In the 1970’s myself and a lot of friends and R’s supporters used to frequent the Raven, but I always thought that it was somewhat small and cramped. I seem to recall a low ceiling in one of the bars. None the less it was a decent boozer I suppose.’
However qprjd did indeed have a quiet celebratory pint in the Raven after his son Adrian was born in Queen Charlotte’s in 1974. He says that he was never a regular as he lived in Priory Road, off Acton Lane. Further memories come from ‘sixties’ who remembers:
‘Having been born a little later than the 40’s, and not having been born in either Queen Charlotte’s or Hammersmith Hospital, this leaves me with the Raven, which was our regular pub from the very late 60’s through to probably the mid-70’s. It was a very Rangers pub in those days. Although with Queen Charlotte’s and the Royal Masonic hospitals nearby and with attached nurses homes, there were other distractions as well !!!’
(The above drawing is by Joan Bloxham and dates from the 1920’s/30’s)