What with the Ship and the Jolly Sailor, I wondered what the nautical connection with South Norwood was, it not being remotely close even to the Thames, let alone the sea. It turns out to have been a stopping over point on the canal that passed through from Southwark's docks down to Croydon, and what with exaggeration being the spice of life, bargemen turned into jolly sailors and barges into ships. In its heyday, during the testing of a vacuum-powered train system intended for use on the Underground, the influence of the Jolly Sailor was such that it gave its name to the local rail station, now plain old Norwood Junction in a sure victory of boring common sense over silly romanticism. Whether or not its reach has reduced over time, this is still the red-and-white throbbing organ at the heart of South Norwood: lively, friendly, traditional, and very local. Once you get past the rather garish decor and the immediate alarm that you aren't local enough to fit in, the atmosphere settles down to that of a very good pub that knows the needs of its punters. Some real ales, Sky TV and a pool table.
Reviewed by Fred Flange, Nov 2007