A historic pub interior of national importance
This pub is currently closed (since 19/12/2020)
Listed Status: IIRandlesdown Road
Tel: (020) 7138 1084
Real Ale: Yes
Lunchtime Meals: Yes
Evening Meals: Yes
Nearby Station: Bellingham
Station Distance: 50m
Public Transport: Near Railway Station (Bellingham) and Bus Stop
View on: Whatpub
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. Built of brick with tall brick chimneys it has two storeys plus attic and a 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 2018/9, 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 (shown on the original plan as Public Refreshment Room), 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 counter top. The bar back has a new top with fridges below and new insertions above. The original glazed screen above remain. Some of the former cinema seats can be found here. To the rear of the servery on the public bar side the original publicans office remains formed by full height screens with leaded glazing and still retaining its door. Of the gents’ at the rear of the public bar only the original floor to ceiling glazed white bricks and terrazzo floor remain (the three large original urinals have been removed). The former passage at the rear with its dado of fielded panelling is now doubled in size.
A leaded glazed partition wall separates the public bar from the saloon bar on the right – the doors within it are folded back. The saloon bar is shown on the original plan as ‘lounge and smoke room’ at the front and a dining room at the rear. This spacious room retains its entrance lobby screen with leaded transoms and original doors, original 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. The pot shelf over the counter is modern work. Original fielded panelling to picture frame height on the walls remains. 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, both have original terrazzo floors but otherwise modernised. A distracting feature however are the stainless-steel heating pipes suspended from the ceiling in both rooms.
Beyond the screen at the rear of the smoke room is what is now the Function Room shown on the original plan as lounge and recreation room. This 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”. This 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, 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 large off-sales (described as outdoor service and order office on the original plan), now converted into the “Milky Way Bar & Café”; it also acts as the ticket office for the new cinema. Currently only non-alcoholic drinks are available here. Only the original serving counter remains.