Vernon Yard, W11

Place Name

Admiral Edward Vernon (November 12, 1684 – October 30, 1757) was one of the great naval heroes of the Georgian era. It was as a Vice-Admiral in 1739 that he won much acclaim by capturing the then Spanish colonial possession of Porto Bello (now called Portobelo and located in modern Panama) during the War of Jenkins’ Ear. This nine year long conflict was sparked after Robert Jenkins, a captain of a British merchant ship sailing the Caribbean Sea, had his ear severed by Spanish sailors who boarded his ship at a time of peace. Vernon’s victory was the cause of much celebration across the country and explains how Portobello Road got its name. Vernon was also known among the men in his naval squadron as Old Grog, probably not as a term of affection. For it was Vernon who is said to have introduced grog, rum diluted with water. The term evidently coming from his wearing coats made of grogram cloth. The terrace of houses in Portobello Road that backs onto the mews was originally called Vernon Terrace, and the mews was likely to have served these houses.

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