One star - A pub interior of special national historic interest
Listed Status: II49 Great Russell Street
Tel: (020) 7242 8987
Real Ale: Yes
Lunchtime Meals: Yes
Evening Meals: Yes
Nearby Station: London Charing Cross
Station Distance: 1150m
Public Transport: Near Railway Station (London Charing Cross) and Bus Stop
View on: Whatpub
Some late Victorian fittings survive here, such as the bar counter and the ornate bar-back with one of the original mirrors.
As the name suggests, this pub is right opposite the entrance to the British Museum. It claims a long history stretching back into the 18th century and was originally known as the Dog and Duck but changed its name with the arrival of the museum. The building we see today is a rebuilding of 1855 by the architect, William Finch Hill. Big changes took place in 1889 with a refitting by Wylson and Long for the then landlord, George Blizzard. The ornate bar-back and tapering counter survive as does one original mirror in the bar-back advertising Watney’s Imperial Stout (the other mirrors are from later). The four outside doors show how the interior was divided up in former days. You can still see the names ‘public bar’, ‘private bar’, ‘saloon’ ‘luncheon' and 'buffet’ in the door and window glass. In fact there were five bars in all: they became three in 1935 and these, sadly, became one in the 1960s. The square panelling of the ceiling adds much to the character of the pub. There are two panels of stained glass at the rear of the pub.
The fireplace at the far end still retains its magnificent furnishing on the chimney breast, the design matching the bar-back and containing bevelled mirrors and ornate wooden pillars and pilasters, but the fireplace itself has either been removed or hidden behind cabinets. The tiling surrounds are relatively modern.