The Dirty Duck, Stratford-upon-Avon

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The Dirty Duck
The Black Swan
Black Swan public house on Southern Lane, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire.jpg
TypePublic House
LocationWaterside Stratford-upon-Avon
Coordinates52°11′26″N 1°42′17″W / 52.190685°N 1.704784°W / 52.190685; -1.704784Coordinates: 52°11′26″N 1°42′17″W / 52.190685°N 1.704784°W / 52.190685; -1.704784
OS grid referenceSP 20225 54645
Built15th century
OwnerGreene King
Listed Building – Grade II
Official name: The Dirty Duck Public House
Designated25 October 1951
Reference no.1207384
The Dirty Duck, Stratford-upon-Avon is located in Warwickshire
The Dirty Duck, Stratford-upon-Avon
Location of The Dirty Duck
The Black Swan in Warwickshire

The Dirty Duck, also known as The Black Swan, is a pub located on Waterside in Stratford-upon-Avon, England.


It has existed as a pub since 1738 and has been known as The Black Swan since 1776, although it may have been given this name earlier.[1]

However, the pub is more commonly known as The Dirty Duck.[2][3] It is unclear where this name originates from. One reason could be that it was given this name by brewery families who played darts in the pub.[4] Another reason could be that actors nicknamed it The Dirty Duck.[1] It is the only pub in England which has a licence under its two names.[4]

The pub was originally three buildings dating from the 15th century before becoming a single property.[1][5] One of the buildings became a pub in 1738. A house next door was integrated into the pub in 1866 and in 1937 the pub was extended into a third property.[1] The building has a Grade II listing, meaning it is of 'special interest'.[6]

One of the former managers is Ben Shepherd, father of actor Simon Shepherd.[7]

Royal Shakespeare Company connections & notable clientele[edit]

The Dirty Duck is located close to two Royal Shakespeare Company theatres, namely, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and the Swan Theatre and is frequented by actors performing at the theatres and theatre critics. It is also a popular pub for theatregoers. As a result, it has become intrinsically linked to the RSC, described by The Telegraph as "the unofficial licensed extension of the Royal Shakespeare Company".[8]

Inside The Dirty Duck, there are many photos of well known actors who have performed at the RSC theatres and visited the pub including Judi Dench and Richard Burton[9] and many of the photos have been signed.[4] There is also a table signed by Judi Dench.[8] Peter O'Toole broke the world record for the time it takes to drink a yard of ale there[7] and Kylie Minogue once pulled a pint during a visit.[8] Other notable visitors to The Dirty Duck include Laurence Olivier and Richard Attenborough.[4]

Actor Len Parish, who was a member of Frank Benson's acting company, wrote a poem in the pub called Stratford Ale.[1]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Morris, Sylvia. "Stratford's alehouses: the Dirty Duck". The Shakespeare blog. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  2. ^ "River Walk" (PDF). Retrieved 8 May 2017.
  3. ^ Young, Graham (23 April 2009). "Dirty Duck, Waterside, Stratford-upon-Avon". birminghammail. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d "The Dirty Duck / The Black Swan Restaurant and Bar". Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  5. ^ " - The Dirty Duck". Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  6. ^ Historic England. "The Dirty Duck Public House (1207384)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  7. ^ a b Coveney, Michael. "Stratford, as you like it". Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  8. ^ a b c Arnot, Chris. "UK Pub Guide: The Dirty Duck, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire". Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  9. ^ Gethin, Anthony. "Stratford-upon-Avon: all the town's a stage". Retrieved 30 December 2015.