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The Great Spoon of Ilford

Read about one man’s long journey from Norwich to London!

114–116 Cranbrook Road, Ilford, Essex, IG1 4LZ
This is named after the famous Elizabethan actor Will Kemp, who danced his way from Norwich to London in 1600. Kemp successfully completed the 80-mile route in nine days. He stopped in Ilford for refreshment, where the measure of ale was known as a ‘spoon’ (about two pints). A ‘great spoon’ was even more refreshing!

A sculpture of Will Kemp as he stopped off in Ilford for a spoon of ale. 

An illustration and text about Will Kemp.

The text reads: Will Kemp danced his frolic dance for bet, from London to Norwich, in 1600. He writes “many good fellows being there (at Stratford and Langton) met, and knowing how well I loved the sport, had prepared a bear-baiting; but so unreasonable were the multitude of people that I could only hear the bear roar and the dogs howl; therefore, forward I went with my hey-de-gaies to Ilford, when I again rested, and was by the people of the town and country there about very well welcomed, being offered carouses in the great spoon, one whole draught being able at that time to have drawn my little wit dry; but being afraid of the old prverb, ‘He hath need of a long spoon that sups with the devil,’ I soberly gave my boon companions the slip.”

The “Long Spoon” at Ilford would appear, from a marginal note in the original narrative, to have been no spoon at all, but a jug holding above a quart.

Photographs of High Street, Ilford, c1918.

Photographs of Cranbrook Road, Ilford c1908.

Photographs of High Road, Ilford, c1912.

Photographs of The Parade, Cranbrook Road, c1908.

If you have information on the history of this pub, then we’d like you to share it with us. Please e-mail all information to: