496-498 High Road, Woodford Green, Essex, IG8 0PN 0208 504 2435

AboutThe Travellers Friend


Our history is first recorded in the 1841 census as a “beer shop” owned by a Mr Edward Mansell. This is the pub’s first paper record although we are aware it is highly likely this now historic ‘Off Licence’ was selling alcohol before this date.

In 1853 the beer shop, now owned by the brewers Larchin & Co. began to offer stables and lodging. It was not until at least four refusals of a license up to 1862 that Mr Edward Burr Cole attained his licence and is recorded in the 1871 census as a ‘Licensed Victualler’. This we know is how the ‘beer shop’ became a ‘public house’.

During the 1920’s the pub was remodelled internally, much of its appearance which remains today. For a year during 2016/17 the pub was given the biggest makeover in its history, restoring many of the original features with the addition of a purpose built function room and restaurant.

Customers are welcomed to read in more detail our history from records taken from the Essex Records Office some of which are framed on our walls. Read about the true crimes that have been committed over the years!



According to the Oxford English dictionary, a ‘Spiv’ is “A man, typically a flashy dresser, who makes a living by disreputable dealings.”

During the Second World War it is generally acknowledged this is when the pub got it’s now infamous nickname. There was certainly a demand for rations, stockings, chocolate, petrol, pretty much anything and ‘The Spivs’ were welcomed. (think Del-boy & Arthur Daly)

Restored in the pub are the original ‘snob screens’ behind which it is said, many a deal was done!

The name stuck.


AboutThe Owners

The pub is owned and managed by two local families, The Randall’s and The Zacharia’s.

Scott (Randall) saw great potential in a deteriorating, badly run pub whilst Andrew (Zacharia) saw the opportunity for a restaurant, his father having owned the well-known Venus Steak House in Bethnal Green.

The rest, as they say, is history.