A historic pub interior of national importance
Listed Status: II*Dagenham Road / Rainham Road South
This remarkable survivor is one of the best and most complete inter-war interiors in the country. It is an estate pub, built in 1937 in a free Neo-Classical style for G. A. Smith & Sons, wine merchants and off-licence proprietors (their name can still be seen on adjacent premises, now, sadly, a scrap metal dealers). There are two separate and very different bars – the Oak Room (right) and Walnut Room (centre) plus a large Music Room on the left can be divided off by a folding screen. The Oak Room forms the public bar and is a fine exercise in ‘Brewers’ Tudor with imitation beams and exposed joists, Tudor arches and oak veneer wall-panelling. The Walnut Room is more opulent and the abundant use of the eponymous wood gives it an unusual character: it has prominent fluted columns supporting a joist across the front. Columns also frame the stage in the Music Room which has a backdrop of delightful stained glass. The Eastbrook was unlisted until 2009 but when its importance was recognised by CAMRA, its application to English Heritage promptly resulted in a Grade II* grading. For an authentic taste of the East London, try the seafood stall on the pub forecourt (Fri-Sun) or the pie and mash shop just to the east (till 4pm).
For quality and completeness this is the finest 1930s pub in this book and, indeed, one of the best anywhere. It was built in 1937 for G A Smith & Sons, wine merchants and off-sales proprietors, whose name is still in evidence, notably on the former off-licence (now a scrap metal dealer's). The architecture makes considerable play of panels of brick alternating with render, and hipped roofs with pantile coverings. The left-hand projection (explained inside) makes the building decidedly asymmetrical. There are two separate bars known as the Oak Room (right) and the Walnut Room (centre) plus the left-hand projection which was called the Music Room – hence the stained glass depicting a variety of instruments and framed by wooden Tuscan columns. The room size can be varied by a folding glazed screen. There is another such screen to the elegant Walnut Room, named for the wood used for the counter (note its distinctive circular decoration) and the high-level screen above. Don’t miss the Art Deco-style mirrors in the bar-back with their wavy decoration. More columns frame the front area.
The Oak Room (so-called for obvious reasons) is plainer and played public bar to the Walnut’s saloon. Here the style is ‘brewers’ Tudor’. So we have beams cased in to imitate sturdy timbers, exposed joists, Tudor arches in the servery area and much wall panelling. The counter and bar-back fittings are original but perhaps the most remarkable survivors are the half dozen glass and metal light fittings. In all, this is a truly remarkable survivor which will repay the trek out to see it. Grade II* listed in 2010 following an application by CAMRA.