The pub is named after John Shakespeare, William Shakespeare's father. He was what we would now call a property developer especially around Victoria, where he would live Monday to Friday. The gardens opposite were originally called Shakespeare Gardens but were renamed Grosvenor Gardens when John sold them to the Duke of Westminster's Grosvenor Estates. The Shakespeare pub started life as a hotel providing accommodation for weary travellers on the coaching routes south from Victoria. The Landlady in the early 1800's was allegedly murdered in the pub and an area of the basement was used for dog fighting where the original flagstones are still visible.