Two star - A pub interior of outstanding national historic interest
Listed Status: Not listed499 Old York Road
Tel: (020) 8870 2537
Real Ale: Yes
Lunchtime Meals: Yes
Evening Meals: Yes
Nearby Station: Wandsworth Town
Station Distance: 50m
Public Transport: Near Railway Station (Wandsworth Town) and Bus Stop
View on: Whatpub
Two-roomed Young’s street-corner pub with magnificent, colourful painted mirrors depicting birds in water landscapes, and a stunning frieze in the former billiard room.
The striking, green-tiled exterior of the Alma (named after the famous Crimean War battle) animates the modest Wandsworth street in which it stands. Unfortunately the interior has suffered at the hands of successive refurbishments over recent years. However, a few gems survive here, including several sumptuous back-painted mirrors depicting birds in their watery and foliate landscapes. These dominate the right-hand wall of the opened-out main bar area and continue up the staircase. (Sadly, one of the mirrors in the main bar area has recently been cracked and temporary film has been applied over it.) The alcove towards the back of the main bar area is a particularly inviting and intimate space with its fine fireplace and yet another back-painted mirror.
Also on the walls of the main bar area are coloured mosaic roundels bearing the name of the pub, an unsual and rare feature. The woodwork throughout the pub is of a high quality, reflecting its c.1900 date and the rear, former billiard, room (now a restaurant area) has a deep, highly decorative frieze with foliage and naked youths.
The Alma, now a smart dining pub owned by Young’s, has the vestiges of a truly sumptuous decorative scheme from around 1900. The pub is right opposite Wandsworth Town Station from which the name can be seen writ large in the parapet: it commemorates the Crimean War battle of 1854 and was no doubt built shortly afterwards. The ground floor has vivid green tiling of about 1900. Inside, the large servery sits in the middle of a now wholly opened-up area. The outstanding feature is a series of back-painted mirrors with flowers, foliage and birds (mainly herons considering their next meal): the mirrors even line the stairs to the upstairs function room.
In an alcove there is a lovely fireplace with another painted mirror above (note also the original gas-light fittings). The other notable decorative feature is a series of three mosaic roundels surrounded by flecked grey marble frames and bearing the name of the pub. The woodwork is high-quality work: note the bar counter furthest from the main road – it’s on a truly gigantic scale. (now a restaurant). Some etched glass also survives in the lobby on the corner and to the former billiard room at the rear. Here there is a deep classical frieze of swirly foliage and naked youths.