The Greyhound Hotel, Carshalton
“There are two good inns at Carshalton: the Greyhound, kept by Mr. Hoystrop; and the King’s Arms, by Mr. Brown. The Greyhound is one of the pleasantest inns in the county.” So wrote John Hassell in Picturesque Rides and Walks, with Excursions by Water, Thirty Miles round the Metropolis (Volume I, 1817).
Not everyone was so admiring. In his Narrative of the History of Greater London (1882), Edward Walford quotes an anonymous local poet thus:
“There’s the Fox and Hounds, whither hunters resort
When they’ve done a day’s murder they call Christian sport.
There’s a drab-coloured Greyhound, the principal inn,
Where the swells take their wine and get rid of their tin.”
The Greyhound Hotel sits opposite Carshalton Ponds, a few doors down from the ancient All Saints church and the implausibly named Anne Boleyn’s Well. The inn was known as the Greyhound as early as 1700 though most of the present group of structures dates from the pub’s enlargement around 1840, when it was a widely advertised centre for Surrey field sports. The pub sign nowadays depicts a racing greyhound – and has done for the best part of a century – but the hares originally chased hereabouts were real ones.