In 1962, exactly fifty years before the Olympic Games rolled into Stratford, East London, the Johnson family took over the Two Puddings, the most notorious pub in the area. Due to a combination of its cream-tiled walls and the volume of blood spilt, it was also known locally as the ‘Butcher’s Shop’. Within a few short years, it had become one of London’s busiest and most fashionable pubs, its hugely popular music nights acting as a magnet for a large and colourful cast of disparate characters who would regularly descend upon the premises, including renowned actors, writers, singers, musicians, champion boxers, infamous gangsters, television personalities, and World Cup-winning footballers. By the time the Puddings closed its doors for the last time, nearly four decades later, landlord Eddie Johnson was the longest serving licensee in London. Tales from the Two Puddings is a poignant, at times hilarious, look back upon a lost world of East End eccentrics, local villainy, vindictive policemen, punch ups, and practical jokes, all now lying buried beneath the concrete blocks and sterile shopping centres of the ‘new’ Stratford.
‘Just out of school and starting work as a trainee reporter on the Stratford Express weekly newspaper The Two Puddings – sitting majestically across the Broadway – immediately became my first “regular” pub. I remember great nights there with The Crazy World of Arthur Brown and several with Screaming Lord Sutch in ‘Jack the Ripper’ mode.’
Barrie Keeffe – Author of The Long Good Friday
‘Lots of West Ham players drank in the Two Puddings. I was a regular and even met my wife Sandra in the upstairs disco there and we’re still very happily married after nearly 44 years. I’ve got some very happy memories of those days but also remember that you didn’t take liberties with the Johnson brothers. They were proper boys!’
Harry Redknapp – Football manager and ex West Ham United player
‘Tales From The Two Puddings is a brisk and plain-spoken act of witness to the life of a territory whose history is under threat from boosters and land thieves. Here is a remembered and experienced truth, not a fable cooked up by a quango of computers. Valuable, funny, gleaming with recovered memory shards.’
Iain Sinclair – Author of Ghost Milk