The Bull and Last pub, Highgate
- Original hand pulled screen print
- 5 colours
- 30 x 40 cm
- Heritage White 315 gsm paper
- Edition of 50
The Bull & Last pub in Highgate was a coaching inn in the 18th century. It got its unusual name because it was the last stop on the coach heading north out of London. Apparently, the coach man would call out “The Bull and last” as they approached the pub - the last stop.
Highgate and the surrounding area had an established drinking culture in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. If you wandered into some of the public houses you might be asked for a fee to take part in the ‘Swearing on the Horns’ oath. This was a ceremony unique to Highgate and the oath involved committing to ‘merriment and debauchery’. The local landlord would be there to oversee the initiation. A man would hold a set of stag antlers and the individual would be expected to kiss or salute the horns with encouragement from regulars. Once the oath was taken, the oath taker became a ‘Free person of Highgate Village’, which would mean free drinks for him and his friends if he were to be found penniless but, if this was not the case, he would have to buy a round of drinks for the entire pub. I wonder if this tradition still takes place.
Signed and numbered on the front at the bottom.
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