Crocker's Folly

Greater London North West - St John's Wood

A historic pub interior of national importance

Listed Status: II*

24 Aberdeen Place
St John's Wood

Tel: (020) 7289 9898



Lunchtime Meals: Yes

Evening Meals: Yes

Nearby Station: Marylebone

Station Distance: 950m

Public Transport: Near Railway Station (Marylebone) and Bus Stop

Bus: Yes

View on: Whatpub

This pub-cum-hotel, designed by architect C.H. Worley, went up in 1898–9 at the height of the great London pub-building boom and was one of the most opulent around. It had a restaurant on the second floor and a concert room on the first. The large left-hand room was a billiard room while the right-hand space was originally divided into five compartments including a ladies’ bar. The space in between was called the saloon and has a marble counter, a remarkable marble fireplace, and richly treated ceiling. Until 1987 it was known as the Crown Hotel (the name appears on a clock in the servery), but took its present title thanks to a wondrous myth. The story went that the entrepreneur responsible, Frank Crocker, thought the Great Central Railway, then making it’s way into London, would end up by his new venture. In fact, it terminated a mile away at Marylebone. Ruin, disaster, despair, and he threw himself to his death from an upper window. In reality the destination had been approved back in 1893 and Frank actually died a natural death in 1904 at the tender age of 41. The building reopened in 2014 after ten years’ closure and is now more of a restaurant than a traditional pub.

Crocker's was a show-case Victorian pub, built in 1898-9 in an elaborate, eclectic style to the designs (Oct. 1897) of architect C.H. Worley of Welbeck Street for the entrepreneur Frank Crocker. No expense was spared to fit it out and it served also as a hotel and restaurant, conveniently placed near Lord's cricket ground. The front entrance leads into a spectacular 'grand saloon', as it was known (now the 'Marble Room'), which is set up for dining. Here the highlights are a superb marble fireplace, marble counter and an ornate ceiling. On the left is a large room (now 'Lord's Dining Room'), also used as a restaurant but, when the pub opened, this was a billiard room, accommodating two full-size tables: there was a platform for thirty people to watch the play. The ceiling is another tour de force. When the hotel opened the restaurant was on the second floor and there was a concert room on the first floor.

In the right-hand part, now serving as the bar, there were originally five separate compartments, all screened off from one another. One of these was reserved for ladies only. The fittings are essentially original although the L-shaped servery has been cut back on the return. From its opening until 1987 the pub was known as the Crown Hotel - which name appears on the clock in the bar-back. The name change arose because of a wondrously exaggerated story that Frank Crocker built this grand establishment to serve the Great Central Railway's new terminus. In fact this ended up at Marylebone over half a mile away. Ruin, despair and suicide! In fact, Marylebone was a-building at the same time as the Crown and Frank died of natural causes at the tender age of 41 in 1904, a much-liked and respected member of the community.

Following ten years' closure Crocker's reopened in 2014 after restoration as a high-quality restaurant and bar - if you want to view the Marble Room and Lord's Dining Room you are recommended to visit between 12 and 5 Monday to Friday.

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