This has been a local landmark since 1910, when the two neighbouring inns combined. The Dolphin & Anchor is thought to date from 1649, while The Anchor is first recorded in 1768.
This J D Wetherspoon pub takes its name after the building’s former existence as two separate establishments. The Dolphin and the Anchor amalgamated in 1910 after centuries as rivals, separated until the 19th century by a small shop.
Apart from commercial competition, which caused arguments about the Anchors poaching of the Dolphin’s coach passengers, there were also political differences. Liberal supporters met in the Dolphin, while the Anchor was a Tory house.
The Dolphin was the older and larger of the two hostelries, first mentioned by name in 1649, although a stone dated 1519 was found during renovations. The name may derive from the arms of the 16th century Bishop of Chichester, Richard FitzJames.
The Anchor, at one time the Blew Anchor, is first mentioned in 1716, although both it and the Dolphin were rebuilt in 1768. However, both were preceded by the George, recorded as being on this site in the 15th century.
The story of the Dolphin’s chaise-driver, who drove into the river and drowned one stormy night in 1808, was told by his great-grandson, HG Wells, in his 1934 Experiments in Autobiography.
Amongst the Dolphin’s guest was another literary giant, Doctor Samuel Johnson, who was accompanied by his friend and biographer, James Boswell.
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