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Blacksmiths Arms

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Greater London South East - Rotherhithe

One star - A pub interior of special national historic interest

Listed Status: Not listed

257 Rotherhithe Street
SE16 5EJ

Tel: (020) 7231 8838

Email: downtownbsa@gmail.com

Website https://www.theblacksmithsse16.com/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/blacksmithsse16

Real Ale: Yes

Lunchtime Meals: Yes

Evening Meals: Yes

Public Transport: Near Bus Stop

Bus: Yes

View on: Whatpub

A three-room inter-war pub retaining many interesting features. 

Tucked away in a remote part of Rotherhithe, this is worth visiting for its well-preserved inter-war interior. A Victorian building, it was given a mock-Tudor makeover, both inside and out, in the 1930s. The attractive frontage is half-timbered at first and second floors, while the ground floor frontage is decorated with brown tiles which date from around 1990. The comfortable interior has retained three rooms, all wood-panelled to picture-rail height. Remarkably all interconnecting doors are still present. Two of these (leading to a rear room), as well as doors to the lavatories, are of the heavy mock-Tudor variety and still contain their original leaded glass. The other door – which separates right and left bars – is a folding door which may date from later than the 1930s refurbishment.  Other 1930s survivors include leaded windows above the interconnecting doors.  The heated foot rail around the base of the bar still functions, and in fact comes on whenever the pub’s heating is turned on. It must be one of the country’s few remaining functioning heated foot rails.

One of the few concessions to modernity is the modest bar back which has replaced an older one.  

Installed in a floorboard in the rear room is the “penny drop”. It’s an old brass plate with a small gap in it. The idea was that a hopeful customer would stand over it with an old penny in his mouth and attempt to let it drop into the gap. Success would earn him a free pint. A plaque beneath the bar counter in the left hand room marks the height of a flood in 1928. A photo of the Queen Mother is not a generic photo that does the rounds of other pubs, but is in fact an authentic record of a visit she paid to this pub in 1988. Apparently she was being driven past, liked the look of the place and, after her security staff had cleared things, popped in for a drink.

A late 19th century three-storey building with a classic Brewer’s Tudor half-timbered exterior above a glazed brick ground floor – the glazing looks modern. The interior is of three little-altered rooms with inter-war fittings – two narrow bars either side of a central servery.

The front right door leads into the right hand lounge bar with a carpet and wood panelling on the walls to picture-frame height. The bar counter is a classic inter-war one of fielded panelling but the modest bar back on the right looks modern. Originally it is likely that there was more screenwork in the servery.

There is a large part glazed full height screen separating the two bars and in it a folding partition but the folding doors are always folded back creating a wide gap. This bar has another inter-war fielded panelled bar counter, a disused door, wood laminate floor and the walls have fielded panelling to picture-frame height.

Another full height part-glazed screen separates the rear dining room from the front two bars still with doors from them. The dining room has fielded panelling to picture-frame height all around the walls and a bare wood floor. There is a hatch to the servery but the bar counter front of it looks modern and there is a plain skylight.

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