Horns, The, Kennington

Venue Type & Location


Site Name: Horns, The, Kennington
Location: London
County: London (city-county)
Location Type: Town - in town at determined location


  • Address: Corner of Kennington Road and Kennington Park Road, Lambeth, London. For a current map,
    Click Here.

  • Alternate Names: Green Man and Horns; Surrey Hotel and Tavern; Horn Public House and Assembly Rooms.

  • Audience Composition: As yet, the only information that has been found about patrons of the Horns in the mid-19th Century is the following description (by J. Ewing Ritchie) of participants in Discussion Clubs at venues of this sort. Ritchie writes: “there are many third and fourth-rate literary men - a class, I fear (I speak of the minors), the most braggart, lying, and needy under heaven - men who are going to do wonders, but who never do - whose success, if such a term may be applied to their career, arises simply from their power of brag, and from the possession of an enviable amount of self- esteem. Then there are briefless barristers, but too happy to have an opportunity of airing their dictionaries, and tradesmen, and clerks, all fancying that there is no need why they should hide their talents under a napkin” (reproduced on The Dictionary of Victorian London Website).

  • Performance Space Description: The Horns was a long-standing Lambeth tavern which, by at least 1826, had “a large assembly-room attached to it” (Allen, quoted in Sheppard, British History Online). Specific information about the nature of the performance space has not yet been found.

  • Typical Fare: In 1858, Ritchie noted that the Horns hosted a weekly Discussion Club during which individuals debated contemporary issues in a spirited (and rather drunken) fashion. By 1879, Charles Dickens Jr. included the venue amongst his list of places where benefit concerts were held. Finally, another description suggests that the tavern’s assembly room was “occasionally appropriated for Horticultural and Floral exhibitions; and also used for the delivery of lectures, both scientific and amusive” (Brayley, quoted in Sheppard, British History Online).
  • Performance History

  • A tavern seems to have existed on the Horns’ site as early as 1725. According to Sheppard, in the 18th Century, this building was the site of Manor Court meetings, “a focal point of activities in the neighbourhood, and must also have drawn much custom from the public meetings and executions which brought crowds to Kennington Common” (reproduced at British History Online).

  • But for a dark spell in the 1830s-50s, the venue retained its prosperity throughout much of the 19th Century.

  • The assembly room attached to the Horns was destroyed during WWII. The tavern itself was demolished in the 1960s. The Department of Social Security Offices now stand on the site (see image at right).

    Please see the 'Bibliographic Sources' link at right for a complete listing of materials (both primary and secondary) from which the above information was compiled.

    Beth Marquis

  • Troupes at Horns, The, Kennington

    Events at Horns, The, Kennington

    Event Date Venue Location Troupe
    Minstrel Show 3 June 1846 - 3 June 1846 London, London (city-county) Ethiopian Serenaders (1846-48)
    Minstrel Show 10 June 1846 - 10 June 1846 London, London (city-county) Ethiopian Serenaders (1846-48)
    Minstrel Show 21 January 1847 - 21 January 1847 London, London (city-county) Ethiopian Serenaders (1846-48)
    Minstrel Show 16 April 1847 - 16 April 1847 London, London (city-county) Ethiopian Serenaders (1846-48)
    Minstrel Show 14 May 1847 - 14 May 1847 London, London (city-county) Ethiopian Serenaders (1846-48)
    Minstrel Show 17 May 1847 - 17 May 1847 London, London (city-county) Beyadere and Female Serenaders

    Bibliographic Sources

    • Dead Pubs Society Website. 03/28/2008 (http://www.deadpubssociety.org.uk/index.php/The_Horns)
    • Dickens, Charles Jr. Dickens's Dictionary of London. Reproduced on The Dictionary of Victorian London Website. 03/28/2008 (http://www.victorianlondon.org/publications/dictionary.htm)

      Entry on "Concerts".

    • Dictionary of Victorian London Online. 07/27/2008 (http://www.victorianlondon.org/)

      (Under List of Minor Pleasure Gardens)

    • Howard, Diana. London Theatres and Music Halls 1850-1950. London: The Library Association, 1970.
    • Ritchie, J. Ewing. The Night SIde of London (1858). Reproduced on The Dictionary of Victorian London Website. 03/28/2008 (http://www.victorianlondon.org/publications3/nightside.htm)

      Section on "Discussion Clubs".

    • Sheppard, F.H.W. (ed). Survey of London. Vol. 26 Lambeth: Southern area (1956). Reproduced at British History Online. 03/28/2008 (http://www.british-history.ac.uk/source.aspx?pubid=368)