Tree named pubs of London

Posted by Harry Wood on 30 May 2016 in English (English). Last updated on 1 June 2016.

It’s London Tree Week. I saw someone tweeting at OSMLondon asking “Can you help identify tree named pubs In London?”. Why yes I believe we can! We’ve always specialised in pubs. We even used to have a tree named pub “The Mulberry Bush” as one of our OSMLondon regulars.

This seemed like fun, so I went ahead and did it. Here’s the tree-named pubs of London on a map.


My method was maybe a bit old these days. See this bash script which fetches the London metro extract, uses osmosis to get pub nodes, then pub ways, then merge pub ways and nodes, then uses osmconvert to get centroids on the ways, then convert to CSV. Then grep to filter ‘Bush’, ‘bush’, ‘Tree’ and tree’ (but not ‘Street’) [Update: I’m now also finding tree type names. See comments below], to result in treepubs.csv. After that I fiddled with the CSV to make it a javascript array, and loaded that into my leaflet marker array example, and loaded in the treepubs as markers. Job done.

I found that to be the easiest way to do it, having done similar things before (This old blog post describes similar osmosis/osmconvert steps for example) …but there’s probably many different much easier ways of pulling up a map of tree-named pubs in London (or at least getting as far as the csv output). So that’s an exercise for the reader.

I’m quite sure we should be able to do a single Overpass API query to get the pubs of London (as centroids for ways).

I once saw a talk by people from Tableau (GIS software) Visualising the Great British Pub with OpenStreetMap data and Tableau which was all about mapping pub names. They could get it done that way for sure.

Pub names are always fun, but we should probably look to do something more directly related to London Tree Week. We have a lot of trees mapped in London. Maybe we should visualise this. Make a dedicated tree mapping app or something. No doubt London’s tree data is still skewed towards Southwark where we’ve got them all imported. Tree mapping party anyone?

Comment from Harry Wood on 30 May 2016 at 17:03

Oh I completely forgot we regularly go to a pub called “The Monkey Puzzle”. That’s should really count as a tree named pub, which raises the question, what words/phrases for tree species names should be listed out to get a more complete list including names like that. I guess if we include “Oak” then that’s going to hit upon a whole load more pubs!

Comment from Firefishy on 30 May 2016 at 17:31

You also forgot “Penderel’s Oak” ;-)

Comment from Harry Wood on 1 June 2016 at 00:24

Blimey. Are we actually just drinking in tree-named pubs?? :-)

Ok ok. Something must be done about this. I’ve refined the grepping and re-run it to include some tree types: grep -Ei "\btree|\bbush|\bAlder\b|\bApple\b|\bAsh\b|\bAspen\b|\bBeech\b|\bBirch\b|\bBlackthorn\b|\bBuckthorn\b|\bCedar\b|\bCherry\b|\bChestnut\b|\bCrab apple\b|\bCypress\b|\bDogwood\b|\bElder\b|\bElm\b|\bEucalyptus\b|\bFir\b|\bHawthorn\b|\bHazel\b|\bHemlock\b|\bHolly\b|\bHornbeam\b|\bJuniper\b|\bLarch\b|\bLime\b|\bMaple\b|\bMonkey puzzle\b|\bOak\b|\bPear\b|\bPine\b|\bPlane\b|\bPlum\b|\bPoplar\b|\bRowan\b|\bSilver Birch\b|\bSpindle\b|\bSpruce\b|\bSycamore\b|\bWalnut\b|\bWhitebeam\b|\bWillow\b|\bYew\b"

That’s taken us from 105 tree-named pubs up to 221. Of these 74 are “Royal Oaks”

Comment from stev on 1 June 2016 at 12:35

I’m a big fan of tree mapping - so would be up for a mapping party or even trying to visualise tree trees by type! I think it would be an interesting app and possibly get some publicity, I have tagged some species where possible! This is hard work though for those of us who aren’t botanists.

Comment from Paul Berry on 1 June 2016 at 13:54

What about hostelries named “The Green Man”? While this isn’t a tree per se, it’s a figure very closely related to all things sylvan, and there are plenty of pubs named after it. I believe one of these pubs lends its name, in turn, to one of the major road junctions of NE London.

Comment from mmd on 5 June 2016 at 10:27

I’m quite sure we should be able to do a single Overpass API query to get the pubs of London (as centroids for ways).

Since you asked: -> returns the same list in CSV format


Comment from Harry Wood on 6 June 2016 at 14:06

Thanks mmd. I was hoping someone would post that :-) That’s good to have for future reference. I did actually start out trying to do this with Overpass, but wasn’t sure how to do it exactly, and also I gave up because it was timing out. I see you’ve got a longer timeout set there too, so it works!

An advantage of this, is that it retrieves a proper boundary around London too. I guess that’s part of what makes it take quite a long time though. My approach with osmosis just did a London bbox (although you can do polygon boundaries with osmosis).

I feel bad for the overpass server though sometimes, making it do these biggish queries. It feels kinder to do big data-crunching on my own machine.

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