A historic pub interior of national importance
Listed Status: II*1 Grand Parade, Green Lanes
One of the grandest products of the great late-Victorian pub boom, the Salisbury was carefully restored to its original glory in 2003. Two of the bars surround an island servery of epic proportions; this has a fine counter and an original bar back with delicate Art Nouveau painted details. A doorway marked Saloon Bar leads to a lavish room comprising a superb wide corridor with splendid mosaic floor, mirrors, woodwork and plaster – very special. The billiard room at the back (now a restaurant) retains its beautiful skylight.
One of the grandest of all pubs built during the great pub boom in the closing years of the 19th century. After years as a run-down pub it was given a careful refurbishment in 2002-3 which has returned it to its former glory. The Salisbury went up in 1898-9, the promoter being John Cathles Hill, a self-made builder and developer who is said to have made the designs himself. He was also responsible for developing large swathes of housing nearby. The Salisbury is a companion piece to Hill’s similarly splendid Queen’s in Crouch End, N8, and the plans of the two pubs are very similar indeed. It is a three-storey (plus attic) pile which totally dominates its corner site. It is built of stone on the ground floor and has contrasted red brick and limestone on the upper floors. Particular features to note are the Larvikite (a flecked, black stone from Norway) columns which carry turrets above and the crown which tops the highest part of the building. The rich ironwork over and the mosaics and tiling in the generous porches give a foretaste of what to expect inside.
On the right, entering through the doorway marked 'Saloon Bar' one comes into the most lavish room consisting of a superb wide corridor with splendid mosaic floor; this space is reminiscent of drinking lobbies so popular in northern pubs (note also the couple of recesses for rather more private drinking). Although it has lost its skylight, the alcoves, plaster, mirrors and woodwork still make it very special indeed. At the rear the former billiard room retains its beautiful skylight decorated with vines that is now used as a restaurant and function room. The remainder of the pub is taken up with two bars surrounding an island servery of epic proportions. Originally there would have been more drinking areas within the large L-shaped bar on the corner with a vast island servery. The counter is a fine one with small, deep panels and wavy pilasters. It should be noted that the gantries sitting on the counters are modern additions. Behind is a largely original back fitting which bears pretty, delicate Art Nouveau painted details. Elsewhere, the decoration in the surviving etched glass is more typical of such work in late Victorian pubs.
Also look out for a series of unusual mirrors-cum-pictures which are found at several points in the pub. The only really unfortunate change at the Salisbury has been the intrusive creation of the toilet area between the two other rooms. The major and sumptuous addition in 2003 was the black and white marble floor in the corner bar: also the superb mirror (by Cakebread Robey & Co.) by the right-hand entrance which had been stolen, was replaced with a modern copy. The grade II* listing recognises the special importance of this grand and interesting public house.