A historic pub interior of national importance
Listed Status: IIRandlesdown Road
The Fellowship Inn is an ‘improved’ public house built in 1923-4 by F.G. Newnham, the house architect of the brewery Barclay Perkins and Co. It was built as part of the London County Council’s Bellingham Estate. Newnham also designed other pubs on LCC estates for the brewery including the Downham Tavern in 1930 – the largest public house in Britain but sadly now demolished. Due to pressure from the temperance movement the LCC was wary of building, or allowing brewers to build, pubs on their suburban estates so when it did agree they were designed along ‘improved’ lines with the provision of community facilities such as halls, games rooms and refreshment rooms, and referred to as ‘refreshment houses’. In c1926 an additional storey was added to the rear hall creating an upper lounge and refreshment area and in 1927 a children's room (a controversial feature of 'improved' pubs) was added in the lounge area. It is built of brick with tall brick chimneys and has two storeys plus attic and basement in a half-timbered ‘Brewers' Tudor’ style. The Inn’s sign was painted by Sir Arthur Cope, member of the Royal Academy.
The Fellowship and Star (formerly Fellowship Inn) is an ‘improved’ public house built in 1923-4 by F.G. Newnham, the house architect of the brewery Barclay Perkins and Co. It was built as part of the London County Council’s Bellingham Estate. It is built of brick with tall brick chimneys and has two storeys plus attic and basement in a half-timbered ‘Brewers' Tudor’ style.
After a wonderful restoration and sympathetic refurbishment to many parts of the building by the Phoenix Community Housing Trust in 2018 the pub now has the public bar re-opened in addition to the saloon bar on the ground floor. On the left-hand side is the public bar which retains a large entrance lobby screen, original dado of fielded panelling with modern wallpaper above, and a stone Tudor-arched fire surround, brick interior and wood surround fireplace. The bar counter is original but with a new countertop. The bar back has a new top with fridges below and new insertions above. The original glazed sections above remain. There is some fixed seating possibly from 1960s. A dumb waiter at the rear backs onto one in the dining room next door. A former passage at the back has been removed (see the tiled floor that remains). The gents at the rear retains its original floor to ceiling glazed white bricks and three large urinals.
On the right-hand side is the saloon bar which was originally a lounge and smoke room at the front and dining room at the rear. This spacious room retains its entrance lobby screen with leaded transoms and original doors, stone Tudor-arched fire surround, two dumb waiters, (the folding screen to the rear hall has been removed) ¬and a parquet floor throughout. The central servery bar counter is original but with a new top, and the bar back too is modern. A transom with leaded lights and carved Tudor rose decoration divide the servery. Behind the servery is a small panelled publican’s office with leaded glazing to the public bar. The screens and pot shelf over the counter are modern work. Original fielded panelling to picture frame height on the walls. (The ladies and gents off the saloon bar have original terrazzo floors but otherwise modernised.) The Ladies are at the back of the room where the screen to the Function Room was and the Gents have been moved from the front room to the rear room to where the Ladies were first located. A distracting feature however are the stainless-steel heating pipes suspended from the ceiling in both rooms.
The Function Room (was the original rear lounge); The rear ballroom has been totally modernised with new floor and a glass atrium roof. It still retains its original bar (though the front counter looks new) with glazed screen to the left-hand side and bar back both upper and lower. Look for the illuminated fitting above labelled “Courage”, “Fellowship Inn Discotheque” installed in the 1960s. Henry Cooper, the boxer, practised here in 1963 prior to his fight with Cassius Clay (later Muhammed Ali) and later it became a famous music venue in the 1960s hosting gigs by Fleetwood Mac and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers.
Downstairs (accessible now by a lift) is the old theatre/cinema now called the “Bellingham Picture Palace” has also been totally modernised retaining the wonderful art deco style with a sloping floor and plush seats. The small bar on the right-hand side remains with its original rolling shutter in place. The lower hall main entrance lobby retains its original doors and entrance screen and monochrome floor tiling. There is an Admission Box in the foyer which survives as does the cloakroom fittings. There is also a smaller lobby in the north-east corner.
On the lower level on Knapmill Street is the timber shop front of the off-sales, now converted into the “Milky Way Bar & Café”, and acts as the ticket office for the new cinema. Currently only non-alcoholic drinks are available here. Only the original serving counter remains. There are exposed RSJs and stainless-steel heating pipe on the ceiling which are a distracting feature.