A FASCINATING exhibition is pouring over the rich past of public houses in Rayleigh.
Rayleigh Town Museum is celebrating its loved and lost inns with the exhibition “Rayleigh Pubs” which runs until October 21.
Rayleigh boasts a proud plethora of public houses, all of which have rich histories dating back centuries.
Although a few have vanished over the years, many of the building endure to this day, including The Elephant and Castle, positioned at the intersection of Castle Road and the High Street.
Among the displayed photographs, one captures another favourite, The Travellers Joy pub, at the junction of London Road and Downhall Road.
This site once housed a prison, known as Gallows Mead or Hangman’s Field.
The pub, constructed in 1957, stands where the prison once did, with a photograph from around 1915 depicting the former prison before its demolishment and transformation into a happier site of social and historical occurrence.
The Chequers Pub, situated on the High Street and roughly occupying the current location of the Factory Shop, was unfortunately demolished in the early 1960s.
The pub featured an archway for horses and carts and a yard with several small cottages behind it.
The Paul Pry pub, which is still active in the community, is named after a popular character from a famous play which premiered in London in 1825 and continued in popularity until the 1870s.
Although rumours of Paul Pry being a Tudor era peeping Tom character are entirely false, the character Paul Pry was an interfering busy-body who would conveniently leave his umbrella behind as an excuse to go back and eavesdrop – hence the pub’s umbrella logo.
Rayleigh Museum’s ‘object of the month’ is a ‘Paul Pry’ mug, which you can see in the display to embellish your understanding of the pub and the character’s legend.
There is much else to enrich your understanding, including photographs, artefacts and newspaper cuttings from all of Rayleigh’s pubs, including list of publicans.
Visit the museum to find out more, which is open Wednesday Friday and Saturday 10am to 4pm with free entry to members of the public.
REPORT BY SOPHIE SLEIGH-JOHNSON
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