One star - A pub interior of special national historic interest
Listed Status: Not listed40-42 Asylum Road
Tel: (020) 7639 2823
Nearby Station: Queens Road (Peckham)
Station Distance: 400m
Public Transport: Near Railway Station (Queens Road (Peckham)) and Bus Stop
View on: Whatpub
A rare back-street survivor in an area of London where most pubs have long since been snapped up by the property developers.
This is a remarkable survivor, clinging on in an area where dozens of back-street locals have disappeared over the last two decades. More than that, it has retained its multi-roomed interior, and its central servery is still in its original location.
It is named after the Licensed Victuallers’ Asylum, which formerly occupied grand buildings just to the north of the pub. In contrast to contemporary connotations, this site was not a place where distressed pub landlords were hidden away; instead ‘asylum’ is used in the older sense, meaning sanctuary.
It was rebuilt in the late 1930s of brick with faience on the exterior ground floor, with two storeys and rooms in the roof above. There are three doors on the Asylum Road side – the left one leads to the pool room; the middle one gives access to the private quarters upstairs; and the right hand door was blocked up in the 1970s. The main entrance on the Meeting House Lane side leads to the large bar on the right and another door on the Kings Grove side also leads to the larger bar on the right.
Originally there were four rooms, two of which have been combined. A door to the small left-hand room is long gone, replaced with an arched doorway. Originally, the small rear room (now a pool room) could only be reached either from an external door, or via a shared gents toilet. This changed in 2008, however, when a narrow arch was cut into the wall allowing access from the large bar, and the toilets were redesigned so that they no longer gave access to the two rooms. The pool room retains its original bar counter with inlaid top, but was shorted slightly in 2008 at the time of the other changes.
The bar back fittings are original – but modest - with two rows of mirrors and above them a row of fielded panelling.
Two old hand-pumps on the bar have not been used for around two decades. A warning to anyone thinking of visiting: every inch of the walls and the woodwork, including the fielded wall panelling to dado height, the overhead beams and the wood beneath the counter, has all been painted grey.
Rebuilt in the late 1930s of brick with faience on the ground floor – two storeys and rooms in the roof above. It is named after the nearby Licensed Victuallers’ Asylum. In contrast to contemporary connotations, this site was not a place where former pub landlords were hidden away; instead ‘Asylum’ is used in the older sense, meaning “sanctuary”.
When built the pub had four small rooms and today there are still three with some doorways cut in dividing walls so you can easily walk around all the rooms.
There are three doors on the Asylum Road side – the left one leads to the pool room; the middle one is access to the private quarters upstairs; and the right hand door was blocked up in the 1970s. The main entrance on the Meeting House Lane side leads to the large bar on the right and a wide doorway cut in the 1960s leads to the small bar on the left. Another door on the Kings Grove side also leads to the larger bar on the right.
The small pool room retains its original bar counter but in 2008 this was shortened by about two feet as the markings on the floor show. The bar back fitting is the original with two rows of mirrors and above a row of fielded panelling. The bar retains its original inlaid top. Prior to 2008 there were ante rooms for the ladies and gents toilets situated on the rear wall of this room and there was a way to access this room from the large bar by walking through either of the toilets. The panelling on the rear wall near the doorway gap created in 2008 was made to match the original fielded panelling on the dado, all of which is painted black.
The small bar also retains its original curved bar counter with doors for servicing beer engines and the front painted black (top was replaced in the mid 1990s) and fielded panelling to dado height also painted black.
The large bar retains its original bar counter with doors for servicing beer engines and a front painted black (top was replaced in the mid 1990s). The original bar back remains having two rows of mirrors and above a row of fielded panelling. Originally there was a partition with a low door in it for cleaners which was situated close to the gap in the counter for staff but it was taken away in the mid 1980s. There is a brick fireplace (age?) painted red.