350 years ago this week, Samuel Pepys, a member of the English Parliament and a naval administrator, began keeping his now-famous diary. He started his chronicle on January 1, 1660, writing: “Blessed be God, at the end of the last year I was in very good health, without any sense of my old pain, but upon taking of cold…. My own private condition very handsome, and esteemed rich, but indeed very poor; besides my goods of my house, and my office, which at present is somewhat uncertain.” (The full text is available at ProjectGutenberg.org.)
Pepys’ diary includes accounts of major events of the era, such as the Great Plague of 1665 and the Great Fire of London in 1666. The diarist is thought to have watched the city burn from the Anchor pub (34 Park Street ; 44 207 407 1577) on the south side of the River Thames. “When we could endure no more upon the water, we [went] to a little alehouse on the Bankside…and there staid till it was dark almost and saw the fire grow,” recalled Pepys.
Still serving pints to thirsty travelers and locals alike, The Anchor has a prime riverside location next to Shakespeare’s revitalized Globe Theatre. A sprawling beer garden offers patrons spectacular views of the City of London and the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral.
[Photo of The Anchor: ©Flickr/Ewan-M]