The Sun – 120 Askew Road, London W12

Posted on by Steve Sayce

The Sun – 120 Askew Road, London W12

‘The Sun’ was one of the oldest pubs in the Borough and was included on a list in 1716. Although there may well be some confusion with another establishment in the Borough with the same name ?

On 13th March, 1715 at the ‘Kings Arms’ in Fulham, the first annual list was made for 1716, it contained the names of 25 persons licensed to keep alehouses in Hammersmith, but apart from three exceptions, it omitted their names…’Sun, ‘Bull ‘ and ‘The Ship’.

thesun1

(The above is of an old postcard from my collection and must be over 100 years old (certainly pre-1913). Interesting to see how the pub had once looked and also that there is an emblem of the sun either side of the entrance)

The Hammersmith archive suggests that there was a pub on the site in 1717 and later that century became a coffeehouse for some time. In 1900 the address was given as ‘118 Askew Road’ but in 1913 became number 120 ? The picture shown above in comparison to the one shown below would suggest that the building was renovated and extended during this period.

thesun2

(The above pic is from the 1930’s)

My family lived in Willow Vale during the early part of the War and later moved to Rylett Road, which is a few minutes’ walk from ‘The Sun’. My Dad served locally in the ARP before joining the Royal Fusiliers. He once told me that their wheelman had previously been a getaway driver for a London Firm. I don’t know if he was on duty that terrible night in 1940 when the pub was hit during an air raid.

It was on 25th September 1940, that the pub received a direct hit just before closing time. Julie Farley told me that her family lived round the corner in 2a Bassein Park Road at the time. Her Dad, whilst on leave, and it was also his 21st birthday, helped save/recover some of the people from the rubble.

Recently Caroline MacMillan passed on the following story to me: ‘A few years ago I caught the bus from Heathrow on a Friday evening and asked the driver if he could drop me at the end of Askew Road. Due to traffic problems he was diverted and took me up Askew Road and offered to take me to Wendell Road (though not sure how a double-decker full of people would cope with the turns ?) I told him that outside ‘The Sun’ would be fine. He then told me that his father lived locally and went in after the bomb fell to help dig people and bodies, out of the debris.’

There are various accounts of casualties and survivors. One story goes that the only survivor was an elderly resident lady member of staff who was behind the bar and fell flat on the floor as the bomb exploded. Undaunted, she apparently was at the Town Hall within a week to collect her jewellery which had been found among the debris and stored until she was well enough to collect it. Elsewhere it is suggested that the lone survivor was a pet canary ?

During my recent visit to the Hammersmith archive, I was referred to a booklet titled: ‘The Spirit of the Londoner’ – a listing of the fatal casualties in the former Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham: 1940-1945 by John Hook. Twenty one people are listed as killed including: ‘Claude Sparkes, 55, and Gladys Sparkes, 37, of the Sun Inn’.

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(Strangely in the above pic, ‘Perton’s Builders Supply Stores’, shown on the left, looks to be virtually unscathed ?)

A new establishment was opened in 1960, but eventually closed in 2010. A couple of years ago, Bernard Lambert informed me that a sign had gone up saying: ‘Russell Lewis Development – Commercial Premises’. Then last month Bernard told me that although the building hadn’t been demolished, it was covered in scaffolding and tarpaulin.

Whatever is erected on the site, I hope that one rumour is definitely true, that a plaque is put up to commemorate the victims of that terrible night in 1940.

Steve Russell



13 Responses to The Sun – 120 Askew Road, London W12

  1. Steve Coombes says:

    Hi Steve enjoyed reading the article on the Sun, I know my uncle has researched the pub including the bombing, it will fill some gaps in for him. I can’t see it re-opening as a pub will go the same way as the old Travellers rest, and now see Askew Arms closed last time i passed.

  2. Kerrins says:

    Great article research and pics Steve.

    I remember the time that new establishment opened in 1960. I was living in Ashchurch Park Villas in those days. If my memory is correct back then it was a Charringtons house.

    Another bit of history bites the dust. I passed the premises last week. It appears that it is partly demolished but still covered in Scaffolding and Tarpulin.

  3. ESSEXUrs aka Colin Woodley says:

    I think Pertons Building Supplies was saved as there was only a single storey section adjoining it!
    Having been involved (with Steve and Kerrins) in some of the research for the article it should be noted that the local newspapers had no reference to the event of such sadness. Probably the victim of censorship.
    Great article and pictures.

  4. Linda Lappin says:

    In 1963 I was working in the flower shop across the road and did the flowers each week for the pub. I now live in Warrington and was surprised to see Warrington ales across the front of the pub. It’s a strange world

    • jake kelly says:

      if you look closer linda,it says charringtons,as were many pubs in the area,including the my old haunt the goldhawk

  5. steve robinson says:

    Steve, it is a beautiful piece but I am blind drunk and I come from south east London. So what can I possibly say about a bombed pub at Askew Road? They destroyed New Cross as well.

  6. Steve Lewington says:

    Really interesting piece, my dad who lived in sr elmo rd, heard that when the rescuers where digging the bodies out of the pub most of them where still standing

  7. steve robinson says:

    It’s an interesting and really well-researched piece Steve. I appear to be sober now and apologise for previous comment.

  8. Steve Russell says:

    No worries Steve, glad you found it interesting mate

  9. Ian says:

    Great article & nice comments.Remember sunny evenings sitting in the huge garden at the back for a drink after work with workmates. Happy days

  10. Kerrins says:

    I walked past the site yesterday..Almost completely demolished. One side wall left standing.

    Another bit of pub history gone. I dont know what the occupancy of the replacement building will be but Im sure its commercial premises.

  11. John Howard says:

    I have been asked by the architects of the new development on the site of the Sun ( 8 flats over retail) to compose the words for a plaque to the memory of those who died. All assistance appreciated. This article has got me off to a great start.

  12. Stupot says:

    The picture shown above in comparison to the one shown below would suggest that the building was renovated and extended during this period.

    Those two pictures are clearly not the same building. The distance between the windows is completely different. The chimney is different too. The first building is much wider. I would suggest you check your sources for those photos.


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