A historic pub interior of regional importance
Listed Status: II55 Orsman Road
This drinkers’ pub is one of many built between the wars by major East End brewers, Truman’s, in this case, to serve a 1930s housing estate. The ground floor is faced with mottled blue and brown tiles that were then very popular for pub frontages. It is quite small and originally consisted of two narrow bars either side of a servery plus a ‘home sales’ compartment (now disused, of course). The public bar is on the right (on the street corner), the saloon on the left. In the 1950s or 1960s an extension was added on to the saloon though it seems they couldn’t quite get the tile match right.
The interior is characteristic of Truman’s house style. Note their characteristic lettering advertising their oatmeal stout, Eagle ale, etc. on the woodwork and typical brick fire surrounds with small relief panels – the leaping stags found here also prance about in other Truman’s pubs – and mirrors in the overmantels. The chequered spittoon trough found here is another frequent arrangement. The social (and price) distinction between the two sides is mirrored in the bar counters – commonplace matchboarding for the public bar and a more elegant streamlined effort in the saloon. Happily the toilets in both halves of the pub have not experienced modern refits and the tilework still appears as it did to those answering the call of nature seventy years ago.
This drinkers’ pub is one of many built between the wars by major East End brewers, Truman’s, in this case, to serve a 1930s housing estate. The ground floor is faced with mottled blue and brown tiles that were then very popular for pub frontages, but in 2015 those above the dado were painted a deep red by a production company for a film about the Kray twins! Above the corner door is a tiled panel with the wording 'The Stags Head' and a stags head protruding from them. It is quite small and originally consisted of three bars, the public bar is on the right (on the street corner) was originally two small rooms and the narrow saloon on the left either side of a servery plus a ‘home sales’ compartment (now disused). In the 1950s or 1960s an extension was added on to the saloon though it seems they couldn’t quite get the tile match right.
The interior is characteristic of Truman’s house style. The bare wood floored public bar still retains the top section of wooden partitioning attached to the ceiling indicating it was originally two small rooms. The original bar counter of vertical panels with a checkerboard spittoon trough around the base remains. However, the small piece of bar counter at the rear is a later addition (no trough around it) and the rear snug may not have had a counter, possibly a hatch instead? The bar back fitting is the 1930s three sided one i.e. facing both bars and the off-sales with some modernisation - the mirrors look modern as does the wording at the top which includes 'Ben Truman'; there is a dumb waiter on the left hand side. The dado panelling around the whole room looks modern and there is a 1930s brick fireplace with a small relief panel of a leaping stag, all painted black. The intact gents' has inter-war floor to ceiling tiling but the ladies has been modernised.
A doorway leads to the rare partitioned off-sales where the bar counter front is modern and the exterior door is no longer in use.
An original door leads to the wooden floored saloon bar which has a bar counter of a more elegant streamlined style with three horizontal strips and another checkerboard spittoon trough around the base, There are two 1930s brick fireplaces each with a small relief panel of a leaping stag - which is found in other Truman’s pubs – and bevelled mirrors in the overmantels. Note the 'London Bridge Station' clock above the front fireplace. All the way around the room the walls are panelled to picture frame height with Truman's characteristic lettering advertising Oatmeal Stout, Eagle Ale, Imperial Stout, Truman's, and also 'London - Trumans - Burton'.
Off to the left a couple of doorways leads to a music room with no old fittings but there are two unusual settles, parts of which came from wooden barrels. What is now the ladies was the gents until c.2010 and is intact since built with its ante-room holding the sink, a section with the former urinals (now boarded over) and the WC all with floor to ceiling inter-war tiling; what is now the gents' (was the ladies') has been modernised.