Three star - A pub interior of exceptional national historic importance
Listed Status: Not listed99 Union Road
The kind of pub which once was commonplace all over London but which now is scarce: an unassuming establishment with three small rooms all served by a central servery.
Originally named the Prince of Wales, this was built by Young’s in 1936 to service the Springfield council estate. A detached three-storey pub, it is remarkable for its little-altered interior. Small vestibules, each with two sets of double doors, lead into rooms on the left and right side of the pub. The central servery still occupies its original position and the curving bar counters and free-standing bar-back are largely original. This narrow wooden bar-back is double-sided and designed to service both left and right rooms. Attractive but modest, it has four mirrored bays on either side. A lower cold-shelf was built into it, probably in the 1960s or 1970s. Of interest behind the bar is the “Helicon bottle transfer unit”, a 1936 survivor which was once used to carry bottles up from the cellar. The two buttons on it no longer function.
All three front rooms have unpretentious wood-surround fire-places that are original but with modern hearths (and are blocked up in two of the rooms). There is wood panelling on the walls to dado-rail height, currently painted a steely blue. A doorway – door removed – leads from the left-hand room into the rear room, which is served by a small bar counter. A sliding door connects the rear room with a short corridor that leads to the back of the right-hand room (door still present).
Decor is delightfully traditional: frosted glass in some windows, net curtains, banquettes (not original) and small round drinking tables and stools. The right-hand room has a dart board – an increasingly rare sight in London’s pubs. The toilets are intact but their inter-war tiling has been painted a steely blue.
This pub is a rarity as a small pub in an urban setting still to retain its three separate rooms. It is therefore a must for serious students of pub design as a near-intact survival of a basic inter-war estate pub. The facilities perhaps have less immediate visual appeal than more elaborate and comfortable pubs, and the space can feel rather cramped. Running TV sports coverage inevitably affects the atmosphere of the small rooms.
A three-storey brick pub with faience on the ground floor re-built by Youngs Brewery in 1936 to replace a pub of the same name and address but on a site 80 feet away built in 1846 and leased by Young + Bainbridge in 1859. It was built to serve the Springfield Estate (built by London County Council between 1935 and 1955 which was developed to the plans of architects Louis de Soissons and George Grey Wornum). The brewery sold off the pub in 1993 and it retains a little altered interior of three small rooms.
The front left main bar retains the original curved bar counter with the front painted black, original four-bay bar back with the right-hand bay being just a bevelled mirror panel. The only change is the insertion of a cold shelf possibly in the 1960/70s, which is a rare survivor and means no lower shelving has been lost to fridges. This small room has an original wood surround fireplace painted black with a modern hearth, original dado panelling painted a grey-blue, but the fixed seating is modern.
A doorway leads to the rear small bar which retains the original small bar counter with the front painted black, original wood surround fireplace (now blocked-up) painted grey-blue as is the original dado panelling. Look into the servery and you will see a hoist to move bottles from the cellar and return them for what we now call recycling. The gents’ off this room and the ladies off the right-hand passage are intact but the inter-war tiling has been painted light blue. There is a sliding door between the rear bar and the right-hand passage which leads to the third bar.
Accessible from the right-hand front doors is another small bar which retains the original curved counter with the front painted black, original four-bay mirrored bar-back fitting – again, the only change is the insertion of a cold shelf possibly in the 1960/70s. The room retains an original small wood surround fireplace (blocked-up) painted black, dado panelling painted a grey-blue and an original corner upholstered bench.