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The Old Dr Butler's Head pub

The Old Dr Butler's Head pub, Mason's Avenue, Moorgate, City of London EC2V. Founded in 1616.


Dr. Butler was a fraud. He failed to qualify at Cambridge and practised some pretty outrageous 'cures'. For epilepsy he would fire a brace of pistols near his unsuspecting patient, to scare the epilepsy from them, or in cases of the plague, plunge the poor soul into ice cold water. Another treatment was to drop patients through a trapdoor on London Bridge into the Thames.

His lack of qualifications did not prevent the 'Doctor' from becoming physician to King James I, or from selling his popular medicinal ale. This was available only from taverns which displayed Dr. Butler's head on their signs. This is the last one remaining. The original pub was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666, but was rebuilt and has been renovated several times. The dark panelled interior, hardly lit by gas lamps, has a wonderful Dickensian atmosphere.

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Taken on July 3, 2009