Dolphin

Greater London East - Hackney

A historic pub interior of national importance

Listed Status: II

165 Mare Street
Hackney
E8 3RH

Tel: (020) 8985 3727

Real Ale: Yes

Nearby Station: Hackney Downs

Station Distance: 1150m

Public Transport: Near Railway Station (Hackney Downs) and Bus Stop

Bus: Yes

View on: Whatpub

Although altered internally, the great thing here is the amazing wall-tiling, installed perhaps in the 1890s by W.B. Simpson & Sons who tiled many a London pub. The star feature is the right-hand wall which lined a former corridor (see evidence of it on the floor). There are blue and white tiles with pairs of birds and swirling Arabesque patterns, but near the entrance is a vast tile panel depicting the legend of Arion, a young Greek who, having been captured by murderous pirates, was saved from death by a friendly dolphin. On the other side, a panel by the entrance depicts Diana the Huntress: then come more blue and white bird-and-foliage panels. The servery fittings seem original although the superstructure on the stillion in the centre seems modern. At the rear-left is a separate room although its panelling seems modern. Other screenwork shows how the front part of the pub would have been divided into separate drinking spaces.

The exterior of this inner London pub belies the riches within. Much has changed since around 1900 when it was refitted but the wall tiling is a very special survival. It is by W. B. Simpson and Sons who tiled many a London pub. The star feature is the right-hand wall which lined a former corridor (the floor footprint can still be easily seen).There are blue and white tiles with pairs of birds and swirling Arabesque patterns but near the entrance is a vast tile panel depicting the legend of Arion whose misfortune in being thrown overboard by avaricious sailors and then saved by a friendly dolphin is narrated in an inscription.

On the other side of the pub an entrance panel depicts Diana the Huntress; then come more blue and white bird-and-foliage panels.

Other magnificent displays of tiled paintings can be found at Café Royal, Edinburgh, Scotland; Mountain Daisy, Sunderland, Tyne & Wear; General Havelock, Hastings, East Sussex; Central Bar, Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland; Rose Villa Tavern, Hockley, Birmingham; St James Tavern, Soho, London W1; and Golden Cross, Cardiff, Glamorgan, Wales.

As for the other fittings, the counter is largely of c.1900, as is the central stillion. There is a separate room at the rear-left although its panelling seems modern. Other remaining screenwork shows how the front part of the pub would have been divided into separate drinking spaces.

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