Whitbread started brewing in Finsbury in 1742 and became very successful. By the late 1800s, they needed more stabling for their horses than they had room for at the huge Chiswell Street brewery. These ‘overflow’ stables in Garrett Street were built in 1897, especially constructed to bear the weight of the large shire horses that pulled the beer delivery wagons. Internally, there were shallow steps and ramps so that the horses could walk up this multi-storey stables!
By the late 1800s over 50,000 horses were transporting people around London every day – just imagine the manure and waste produced….
The last Whitbread shire horses left these stables in 1991. The building was used as a builders’ merchants until recently, but is now empty with future use unclear, although hopefully protected by its Grade II listing.
For more fascinating stories in Old Finsbury and St Luke’s, look out for my next walk in the area.