A historic pub interior of regional importance
Listed Status: II615 London Road
The White Lion is a real mixture of the old and the new (not always easy to tell apart, thanks to Tetley’s respectful refurbishment work of the 1980s). It is chiefly interesting, though, for what survives of an early twentieth century remodelling by the Sheffield brewers Duncan Gilmour & Co, who acquired it in 1900. A richly-tiled central corridor, with its original service-opening, leads between the old front bar and smoke room and past two (part-altered) glazed snugs, to a vast modernised former concert room at the rear. The pub's historic merits earned it recognition, in 1989, as one of Tetley's select-group of 'Heritage Inns'.
The White Lion is a real mixture of the old and the new (not always easy to tell apart, thanks to Tetley’s respectful refurbishment work). It is chiefly interesting, though, for what survives of early C20th. remodelling by the Sheffield brewers Duncan Gilmour & Co, who acquired it in 1900 when they purchased the Lady’s Bridge Brewery and 15 of their tied houses.
A richly-tiled central corridor, with its original service-opening, leads between the old front bar and smoke room and past two (part-altered) glazed snugs, to a large modernised former billiards room at the rear. The pub's historic merits earned it recognition, in 1989, as one of Tetley's select-group of Heritage Inns – the plaque is situated on the front left of the building. The pub advertises itself as Est 1781 when it stood some distance back from the road. Between 1877 and 1884 the front was brought forward to the road.
Plans from 1902 (Edmund Winder, Architect & Surveyor, Sheffield for Messr's.Duncan Gilmour Ltd.) show the existence of a small tap room, a third room on the right side of the corridor. Beyond this room is a kitchen and pantry. 1902 sees these two rooms becoming a billiards room. The following year sees the abolition of this tap room (E.Winder for Messr's.Duncan Gilmour Ltd.). 1908 saw the creation of the current bar area and the associated standing area in front of the bar (Edmd.Winder, Architect). In addition, the current entrance vestibule was created.
The pub is of red brick with side pilasters terminating in consoles each incorporating a lion's head. It was remodelled externally in the 1920’s and has a green glazed brick dado. Two large front windows contain colourful stained and leaded panels – note on the right hand side, the ‘N’ in Windsor Ales is the wrong way round.
All along the passage is a dado of mainly cream and blue-green Art Nouveau tiles and the existence of shelves confirm this is still a popular place to drink. On the front left side is a leaded glazed screen/partition with a hatch counter. Front left latch door has a frosted panel with etched wording Gilmour’s Windsor Ales & Stouts around a picture of Windsor Castle with Bar below leading to the public bar. Note the figure 1 (a requirement of licensing magistrates) is not situated at the top of the door but just above the latch. The tiny room retains its original bar counter. Note the cupboard in the counter front: there are a lot of these seen in London pubs but are virtually unheard of elsewhere in the country. The bar back fitting is modern as is the fixed seating.
On the front right a door with Duncan Gilmour & Co’s Windsor Ales & Stouts and Private Smoke Room frosted and etched panel and three door protectors leads into a small room. The smoke room retains the 1920’s fixed seating all around the room, a baffle by the door, and has a Victorian-style tiled, cast and wood surround fireplace.
On the second right is a door to a tiny snug with modern fixed seating and plain glass windows in the top, side and back for supervision. A number of original frosted and etched panels taken out by Tetleys in 1926 (Edmund Winder & Co. For Messrs Duncan Gilmour & Co.Ltd.) were found in the cellar and have been refitted in fresh positions throughout the rear part of the pub. Opposite the snug note the door to the servery has the wording Bagatelle Room.
1929 (Wm.C.Fenton for Messr's.Duncan Gilmour & Co.Ltd.) shows the installation of a bar at the front of the large rear room, now designated as a Lounge. This lounge has four areas. 1979 saw a reconfiguration of the toilets, the gents coming in from out of the cold (Shepherd Fowler & Robinson for Joshua Tetley & Sons Ltd.) as corridor space to the left of the concert room was utilised. The most recent changes (1994) saw the opening out of the rear left games room, the installation of a modern bar and the loss of the rear right bar (Phoenix Architecture & Interiors Ltd.).
The key changes since the 1920’s are: 1. the Bagatelle room on rear left is now a modern bar. 2. expansion at rear forms a large opened-up area. 3. some changes to rear snugs – the far one is opened-up, glass replaced walls 'for supervision' and some seating is modern.
The White Lion illustrates the development from an C18th.beerhouse to a pub-cum-hotel in the early C20th. It retains much of its 1920’s planning and fittings. The pub became an Asset of Community Value (ACV) in December 2016.