A historic pub interior of regional importance
Listed Status: Not listed56 Kew Bridge Road
Tel: (020) 8560 8484
Real Ale: Yes
Real Cider: Yes
Lunchtime Meals: Yes
Evening Meals: Yes
Nearby Station: Kew Bridge
Station Distance: 150m
Public Transport: Near Railway Station (Kew Bridge) and Bus Stop
View on: Whatpub
The Express dates from about 1870 and much of the original layout and fittings survive. There are two bars at the front, either side of the central entrance. The bar back is original and so are the counters, although that on the right was cut back in 1994 to access a rear room. The left-hand room has a fine marble-surround fireplace and fixed seating. The room behind was remodelled in a Tudor style in 1932. Look for the little peep-hole in the door to the serving area. Apparently this was used to call for drinks when the room was in use for private functions.
Recently lightly redecorated with no changes to the original fittings - a model example on how to bring a pub up to the high standards liked by customers but respecting the historic interior.
The Express was rebuilt in mid-Victorian times and old photographs show three original entrances. Now the sole, central doorway leads into a lobby with a mixture of Victorian and (perhaps) 1930s glazing. The right-hand room retains its original bar fittings but it was a much smaller room. There were some rearrangements in 1994 when they removed a partition that created a tiny private bar on the right hand side, which was accessed from the now disused right hand door; part of the partition has been re-sited onto the right hand wall. Also, the bar counter was cut short by about 18 inches so the right hand part of the bar back fitting now has no counter in front of it; and a small piece of wall removed to give access to the tiny private parlour with a marble fireplace situated behind the servery. The doorway to the former landlord’s parlour has a fascinating double-sided clock over it, surrounded by brown painted and gilt glazing bearing the name of the pub. This decoration suggests a date of about 1870 and, if so, then perhaps we have here some of the earliest surviving pub fittings in London. Note the large ceiling rose painted green.
The left-hand room has a fine marble fire surround fireplace, original fixed seating and original counter. The third room behind was remodelled in Tudor style in 1932 judging by the date scratched on a ceiling beam and has a 1930s brick fireplace. This room has seen the most recent change with fresh fixed seating and partitions with good but modern stained and leaded panels. Look for the little peep-hole in the door to the serving area. Apparently this was used to call for drinks when the room was in use for private functions, for example, meetings of the brethren of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes whose horns still hang proudly over the door to the front bar. The initials RA incised twice on the beams are of Robert (Bob) Aldington whose family acquired the pub back in 1882 and still own it to this day. Draught Bass has been on sale here for many years - note the illuminated sign on the exterior - and it is still the biggest selling real ale in the pub.