George Orwell is one of the prominent figures of 20th-century literature, and his most cherished contribution to the art form, 1984, was one of Tim Martin’s (the owner of JD Wetherspoon) inspirations for naming his pubs ‘Moons.’
The Moon Under Water is the pub featured in Orwell’s dystopian novel, and several pubs in Harrow bare the stain of the radical English man’s influence. ‘The Moon on the Hill’, ‘The Moon and Sixpence, and JJ Moons, just to name a few.
George Orwell wrote an article in the 1940s describing the requirements for his ideal public house. Tim Martin, a young, ambitious man, implemented Orwell’s theory as the framework for the Wetherspoon brand. Features like: no music, no darts or games and serving cheap food.
The measure of great art is how long it can endure. In recent years, the novel 1984 has had a resurgence. The bleakness worldwide forced many citizens to seek refuge in Orwell’s grim depiction of a totalitarian state. “If there’s any hope, it must lie in the proles” – George Orwell, 1984.
Sitting among these folks in the Moon on the Hill, Harrow, one does not get the feeling we are on the precipice of a revolution. Perhaps, an entertaining drunken quarrel is the best one can hope for, but a cohesive, working-class movement reforming the institutions of this country, seems doubtful.
It is unknown if George Orwell would have approved of Tim Martin’s portrayal of his theoretical public house, but struggling financially all his writing career, Orwell would have endorsed the notion of cheap alcohol and food.
Two Wetherspoon pubs on the outskirts of the Harrow borough, Colindale and Watford, are called ‘The Moon under Water.’ In these establishments, you will see a framed picture of Orwell’s 1940s article. Homage to an unwavering English writer that mercifully pursued the fragile concept of objective truth.