US Stamps and History

You might want to bring a few American stamps with you when you come to the UK. It could happen that you need to renew your driver’s license, for which you will need a self-addressed stamped envelope. This happened to me, and after a bit of dedicated Googling, I found a London surprise.

The Mayflower Pub, in Rotherhithe, London sells American stamps. (They will also politely tell you that you cannot use them in the UK, at which point you just smile and nod nicely).

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This is a great little pub that claims to mark the spot from which the Pilgrims departed London in the Mayflower on their way to Southampton, before setting off for the New World. You can stand at the window overlooking the Thames and imagine the large ship sailing off.

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And just outside the pub are a set of stairs that bring you down to the river’s shore.

 

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It also claims to be the oldest pub in London.

 

None of this is exactly true. The Pilgrims at the time were living in the Netherlands, and they sailed directly from Leiden (on the ship Speedwell) to Southampton and met the Mayflower there. They then proceeded together on the voyage, and only boarded the Mayflower a month or so later, after realising the Speedwell’s fault of taking on water could not be repaired.

The pub, despite looking very old and decorated to make you think it is 17th c., actually dates from the 1950s, when the pub was renamed the Mayflower.

But who cares? It has a delightful spot on the river, you can have a nice drink and think about how you’ve reversed the journey from your American campuses!