Silver Cross Tavern

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Template:Use dmy dates Template:Use British English Template:Infobox building The Silver Cross Tavern is a pub on Whitehall in London, England. It was first opened as a licensed pub in 1674 after having previously been a brothel.


The Silver Cross Tavern was first licensed and opened as a pub in 1674 as "The Garter" after having been a licensed brothel beforehand. It was initially owned by William Waad, son of politician Sir William Waad, who then sold it to Joseph Craig in its first licensed year. Craig had also bought a number of buildings near the Silver Cross Tavern; however, the Silver Cross was not incorporated with the other buildings which became known as Craig's Court.<ref name=see>Template:Cite book</ref> The pub was subsequently acquired by the Earls of Harrington.<ref name>Template:Cite web</ref> In 1861, it was leased from the Earl of Harrington by the Earl of St Vincent, being referred to as The Silver Cross. In the 20th century, the pub was owned by TJ Bernard, who sold it to Taylor Walker Pubs.<ref name=tp>Template:Cite web</ref> Because of its location near British government buildings and Trafalgar Square, the pub is frequented by members of Her Majesty's Civil Service and tourists.<ref name=see />

In 1999, the BBC claimed that the Silver Cross Tavern was the only legal brothel in the United Kingdom, although not currently in operation as such,<ref name=bbc>Template:Cite web</ref> on the basis that a royal licence granted by Charles I was never revoked.<ref name=bbc />


A building on the site that was part of "St Katherine's Hermitage" was initially constructed in the 13th century with lead-lined walls. The tavern has undergone a number of rebuilds, with the last one occurring in 1900. The pub has a wagon vaulted ceiling. Shortly after opening, the pub had a plaster ceiling installed in the bar area when King Charles I lived in Whitehall. In the Victorian era, the building had a new façade built. It was subsequently renumbered as 37 Whitehall and is the red tiled facade building at the far right or west end of the structures from Craig Court. In the 1990s, the pub was expanded into numbers 33-35 which themselves had been combined by previous occupiers the last after the pizza restaurant next door was closed and the pub took over the premises.<ref name=tp /> As part of the expansion number 31 at the corner with Craig Court was incorporated.Template:Cn