LOCATION Bishopsgate Institute, 230 Bishopsgate London, EC2M 4QH
EXHIBITION DATES 7 January to 31 March 2013.
TALK Eddie Johnson & Robert Elms, 30 January, 7.30pm

An exhibition of more than 50 photographs from Eddie Johnson's archive, many of which are included in the book, will be accompanied by audio recollections at Bishopsgate Library. During the run of the show, author Eddie Johnson will be in conversation with broadcaster Robert Elms to look back upon a lost world of the East End. Legendary independent East End bookstore, Newham Books, will be selling signed copies of 'Tales from the Two Puddings' at the Bishopsgate Institute Talk and Q&A on 30 January 2013.

Puddings Gang


Eddie will be a guest on Radio 4's Midweek, hosted by Libby Purves, broadcast on Wednesday 19th December at 09.00am and again at 21.30. Tune in!

PILLAR BOX RED 'Redux 2012 Version' By Tim Pope

Now presenting the 'Redux 2012 Version', in honour of Eddie Johnson, former publican, Matt's dad, who has proudly completed his first book at the age of 80 - "Tales from the Two Puddings". It's available for sale at You can also hear Eddie talking about some of his capers in the pub game there, too. "I paint my lips pillar box red - it reminds me of the country where I was born and bred."


It's probably fair to say that along with the London 2012 Olympic Games came an attempt to rewrite Stratford's history, with one Minister stating that the Olympic Park had replaced 'an urban wasteland'.

I hate to call a member of the Government a liar, but the displaced businesses and uprooted communities that used to occupy the area would probably disagree with him.

The book is written by Eddie Johnson, who took over as licensee of the Two Puddings pub in 1962 and went on to become one of the longest serving pub landlords in London's history. Told in the conversational style of those 'across the bar' encounters, the book invites you to settle onto your bar stool with a pint in hand and listen to Eddie regale you with nostalgic stories about the characters that inhabited the area.


It has been pretty cold lately but I spent a few warm hours on Wednesday 5th December in the Stratford Picture House, where Matt Johnson compered an evening talk with his dad, Eddie, and uncle, Kenny. This was part of the promotional round for Eddie's book, "Tales from the Two Puddings". Eddie read passages from its pages and both he and Kenny talked about the heyday of the pub in the 1960s before answering questions from the audience.


London launch event of 'Tales from the Two Puddings'
Wednesday, 5th December 2012 at 6.30pm Fifty First State Press are proud to present, in association with Stratford Picture Houser and Newham Bookshop, an evening with Eddie Johnson to talk about his new book, Tales From The Two Puddings.

Eddie was the landlord of the celebrated Two Puddings pub in Stratford for nearly 40 years and is the father of Matt Johnson of the band The The, who will be hosting the Q&A at this event.

In 1962, exactly 50 years before the Olympic Games rolled into Stratford, the Johnson family took over the Two Puddings, the most notorious pub in the area.

Due to the combination of its cream-tiled walls and the volume of blood spilt, it was also known locally as the 'Butcher's Shop'. It became one of London's busiest and most fashionable pubs of that era, attracting a large, colourful cast of disparate characters including renowned actors, writers, singers, musicians, champion boxers, infamous gangsters, television personalities and World Cup-winning footballers.

After the show Eddie Johnson will also be signing copies of his book bought at the event.

The Picture House is situated very near the old Theatre Royal. Click here for a map with directions The cinema will charge a small admission fee. This amount is solely for the cinema to cover their staff and expenses for the evening.


Stratford doesn't appear much on the rock'n'roll map of fame. The Beatles recorded bits of their Penny Lane video in and around Angel Lane and Iron Maiden first flexed their muscles at the Cart & Horses, but if you wanted to dig up any more nuggets of pop history then you pretty much had to have been there - until now.

Thanks to Eddie Johnson's "Tales from the Two Puddings" a truer picture of how things swung this side of the border in the sixties has emerged. Did you know for instance that Clyde McPhatter sang 'On Broadway' on Stratford Broadway one night? He was just one of the performers to grace the small stage at the Puddings. Others include The Who, Small Faces and David Essex.

Owing, in large part, to Eddie's brother, Kenny, the centre of Stratford was rocking most weekends when the brothers were at the helm of the pub. Live acts and early (not to mention innovative) discos helped attract a large and lively crowd, and with it came all the mayhem you would expect. The stories of the pub, and the people who worked and drank there fill the pages of Eddie's very entertaining memoir.

Eddie was the featured 'Listed Londoner' on BBC Radio London's Robert Elms show on October 29th.


Eddie Johnson book signing Saturday 20/10/12 at 1pm at East London's finest independent book shop.
Newham Books
745-747 Barking Road
London E13 9ER



NEWHAM RECORDER : Eddie's time as landlord at Stratford's Two Puddings
by Kay Atwal, Chief Reporter

Friday, 31st August 2012

Wines are not the only things that improve with age. The recounting of memories, it seems, also benefits from the passage of time. Eddie Johnson's memories of life at The Two Puddings are contained in Tales From The Two Puddings


Fifty years ago the Johnson family took over the Two Puddings pub in Stratford, East London. Over the next four decades it became one of the city's most fashionable pubs, known for its music nights as well as its famous, and infamous, patrons. Now a lost East End gem, this book looks back at its colourful history.


TimeOut 'Serving time' article PDF

TimeOut article

BEFORE LONDON 2012 - Painter Allan Williams talks to publican Eddie Johnson


A recollection by Barrie Keeffe


Just out of school and starting work as a trainee reporter on the Stratford Express weekly newspaper The Two Puddings - sitting majestically across the Broadway - immediately became my first "regular" pub at lunchtimes and after work (especially on pay day which was, curiously, a Thursday) but it was also on my menu Sunday nights for its live bands.

I remember great nights with The Crazy World of Arthur Brown (Fire) and several with Screaming Lord Sutch in Jack the Ripper mode. Sean Buckley and the Breadcrumbs was the regular bill-topping act but this was the Swinging Sixties and so a lot of new groups, as then called, played and it was always easy to spot their influences - from the poor-man's Rolling Stones and The Kinks to, god help us, The Dave Clarke Five. Occasionally Eddie the gaffer would casually hint at a surprise this coming Sunday, a big name group currently in the charts and who had selected The Two Puds this Sunday to try out some new material. Eddie never actually lied - he somehow inspired rumours that circulated so successfully the next Sunday was always packed to bursting point.

One Sunday night in the summer of love 1967 - with Scott McKenzie's Mama and Papas sounding "If You're Going To San Francisco Be Sure To Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair" constantly on the juke box - Eddie, with that distinctive mischievous twinkle in his eye, let us overhear him wondering aloud to his wife whether Sunday's band would actually make it over from California, what with their drugs reputation would they get the necessary visa? Then louder, so the entire pub could hear: If they don't make it I suppose we could get Sean Buckley to do "Francisco and Flowers in Your Hair" instead. The story spread like wildfire about this big-name group coming from California to the Puds (before the Palladium and a national tour) next Sunday- some reckoned it was the Mamas and Papas, others the Beach Boys. "Better get here early to be sure to get in," Eddie would say, grinning.

It swung it for me - at last I got a date with Carole who'd I'd been pursuing 'cause she was a great Mamas and Papas fan: Scott McKenzie never got a mention in the rumours and no-one knew what he looked like - which was a bonus for the impersonators who were supposed to be the genuine article. Planted right at the front of the stage to me Scott McKenzie seemed to bear an astonishing likeness to Ray Davies who's been on a month ago, not to mention Herman of Herman's Hermits.

But the floral shirts looked genuinely West Coast and the music had the place buzzing as it built to the climax. "Now," announced Scott, who wasn't Scott, " since we're all celebrating flower power here's some real flower power for you all tonight." And the musicians hurled into the audience a dozen bags of Self Raising Flour that burst as soon as they hit anyone with huge snowstorms of white flour.

Carole shrieked and stomped out looking like a ghost and ranting that her new Mary Quant dress was ruined and it had cost a fortune. There was a lot of laughter when we got on the 25 bus and it continued until Forest Gate where Carole got off and told me to stay on and she never wanted to see me again after this humiliation.

So much for my first Sunday night in 1967's "summer of love...