Visitors to the British Museum who have absorbed enough culture would do well to visit the Museum Tavern across the street. Here they can absorb culture of a different kind, for example – a good selection of cask ales and some classic English pub cuisine, such as fish and chips, sausage and mash, meat pies or a traditional roast on Sundays.
The Museum Tavern was enlarged in 1855 and much of what we see today dates from then or a little later. Despite the removal of partitions that divided Victorian drinkers, much of the carved wooden fittings, etched and cut glass outer windows and some coloured leaded-glass detail remain. This cosy and elegant pub was the work of architect William Finch Hill and is probably his only surviving work, apart from the recently reopened and refurbished Hat & Feathers in Clerkenwell. Hill was well known for his music hall designs but alas these seem to have all gone.
In the early 18th century a pub called the Dog & Duck stood here, its name reflecting the hunting that took place on the surrounding swamps and ponds. The British Museum was built in the 1760\’s and the pub changed its name to suit. Past customers include J.B. Priestley, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Karl Marx.