EVEN in these days some of the pleasant country pubs serve, in
effect, as the Parish Council hall, and occasionally even as a “town
hall”. In how many saloon bars, over a friendly pint, is council
business discussed and settled? We shall never know, but the
central fact is a part of social history.
It is thus all the more pleasant to be able to record the fact
that there is one inn in Greater London which serves as the q,icial
council meeting-place. The Municipal Buildings of Barnes Council
were blitzed, a fact which is universally regretted, but holding the
regular meetings in The Bull Inn doubtless has its compensations
when the time for official disputation is over.
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The Bull Inn has a history quite apart from that. Before it was
rebuilt it was one of the old coaching-houses. Even in I937 coaching
horses were stabled there. Many Londoners will remember the
coach known as the Greyhound, which used to make the daily
journey from the Berkeley Hotel, Piccadilly, to Hampton Court.
The Bull Inn was the ﬁrst stop for a change of horses, which were
kept in the original stabling at the back of the premises.
The only part of the original inn which has been preserved is
the ﬁne old sign. It still hangs outside, bearing the date 1696.
Another important part of this pleasant inn is Sally, as you can
see for yourself. Of exceptional size and appearance, Sally is the
devoted pet and companion of the manager of the house.
To be fully appreciated, Sally has to be seen. The formation
of the head is Dalmatian, with a mixture of that breed’s markings
with those of a bull terrier. The legs and chest, too, are those of
a bull terrier, as well as the colouring. Still another complication
is that she is the size of a bull mastiff. Altogether, Sally is a remarkable
Sally Security Guard
Sally is in charge of security at The Bull Inn; so much so, that
neither manager nor staff has the slightest qualm about the
safety of property.
Some of the regulars swear that by rights Sally ought to be
employed at an art gallery. It is undoubtedly true that she has the
strongest possible objection (which she does not try to disguise) to anyone as much as touching the collection of sporting prints andother framed pictures on the walls. Even Sally’s master is included
in this embargo.
But Sally is not wholly intolerant about art. She does, I am
glad to say, allow a customer to look at them.
Sally has all the feminine fussiness about her appearance. She
declines to start the day’s work until her teeth, eyes and mouth
are washed in the bathroom. She insists on comfort, too, just as
she does on appearance. To sleep with a blanket wrapped round
her is right, she feels, and she won’t dream of sleeping until this is
duly attended to. One detects a strong fund of common sense about
All the same, I have it on the strongest authority that the
rumour that she is to be co-opted to the Council is entirely without
foundation. I am allowed to quote Sally on this point. It is just the
sort of rumour, she feels, that gives a dog a bad name.