The White Swan

The White Swan pub
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Venue : The White Swan, 108 Fetter Lane, London. EC4A 1ES
Reviewed : December 2007 Telephone : 020 7242 9696
Owner : ETM Group
Pub Website : TheWhiteSwan
Facilities : Gastro Pub

The White Swan describes itself as a 'Pub & Dining Room', which I feel is a very good description. Upstairs is a chic dining room where dinner for two with wine will come in at £65. Downstairs is a traditional pub, with a bar and a varied arrangement of delightful seating areas, rich in natural wood and traditionally styled. If you are looking for that English beer in a traditional pub setting with excellent food at a pretty decent price, then, this is a good choice.

When Fleet Street was the newspaper capital of the City, journalists or printing operatives populated the many pubs on Fetter Lane, including The White Swan. It was described then, in 1973 by Timothy M. Richards and James Stevens Curl in their book 'City of London Pubs' as "a modern building with pseudo-traditional interior furnished with patterned carpets and wood-grained laminated plastic. The sole allusion to the name is a stuffed swan in a case on the wall." - how things have changed!

Although there is no definite agreement to the origin of the name Fetter Lane, perhaps is comes from the sixteenth century name given to the lane of Fewtors Lane, derived from the Norman French work fewtor, meaning an idle person (a worthless fellow). The lane did have a reputation as the meeting place of the City's down-and-outs and loafers who would idle time there.

Turn right from The White Swan and you come to the junction of Fetter Lane with New Fetter Lane and here you will find a statue to the journalist John Wilkes (1727-97) by James Butler (1988). Wilkes became a Member of Parliament in 1757 but regularly attacked the government in his weekly journal ‘North Briton’.

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