The Dolphin Tavern
44 Red Lion Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1R 4PF
The Dolphin Tavern is very much a locals’ pub and boasts an interior that is functional rather than fashionable. On one of its walls you can see a battered old clock, the hands of which are frozen at 10.40 pm, much as they have been for almost 90 years. It was at this precise moment on 9 September 1915 that a Zeppelin bomb crashed onto the pub and reduced it to a smouldering heap of twisted rubble. Three customers were killed and several others were seriously injured in the tragedy.
The clock was dragged from the ruins, and when the pub was rebuilt, it was placed on the wall as a permanent memorial to that night when death and destruction rained down from above. And, every so often, as the staff are tidying up after another day’s trading, their attention is drawn to the clock. As they gaze upon its face, they hear a ghostly, mournful whistling that grows lower and lower, until all is quiet once more.