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Lord Nelson

Pub Heritage Group have recently carried out a regrading of Real Heritage Pubs - click here for full details

Greater London South East - London

Three star - A pub interior of outstanding national historic importance

Listed Status: II

386 Old Kent Road
London, Old Kent Road
SE1 5AA

Tel: (020) 7701 8510

Nearby Station: South Bermondsey

Station Distance: 1350m

Public Transport: Near Railway Station (South Bermondsey) and Bus Stop

Bus: Yes

View on: Whatpub

The Lord Nelson retains some of the most spectacular mirrorwork in the country, a most unusual projecting bar counter, and an arcade containing the servery.

Pride of place goes to a large painted and gilded mirror of the great admiral receiving the surrender after the battle of Cape Vincent in 1797 from some Spanish sailors. There are two more vast mirrors behind the servery but one is cracked and the other is covered up. The maker was a James Carter of Gray’s Inn Road and they date from around 1888. The details include grapes, kingfishers, vases of fruit and foliage trails.

There is also what is probably a unique feature in a pub - an impressive timber arcade striding across the servery with two bays sitting on top of the Victorian counter and a third spanning a walkway between the counter at the back and the curved counter projecting to the front - but now unfortunately painted grey. The narrow screen above the arcade, and above the servery mirrors have wonderful detail including coloured panels advertising all manner of drinks - champagne, finest old brandies, liqueurs, ports and sherries - the list goes on.

The serving area has an extraordinary shape and projects out into the main bar. This is because it serviced a whole variety of small compartments, reminders of which are preserved in the door glass (perhaps of the 1950s) proclaiming ‘public bar’ and ‘saloon bar’. At the rear is another room entered through an archway. It too has its own outside vestibule entrance with fine Victorian decorative glass (also proclaiming ‘saloon bar’). This room also has its own counter screen, like that in the main bar.

The Lord Nelson was once magnificent - even now it retains some of the most spectacular mirrorwork in the country. Pride of place goes to a large painted and gilded mirror of the great admiral receiving the surrender after the battle of Cape Vincent in 1797 from some shifty, swarthy Spanish types. There are two more vast mirrors behind the servery but one is cracked and the other is largely covered up. The maker was a James Carter of Gray’s Inn Road and they date from around 1888. The details include grapes, kingfishers, vases of fruit and foliage trails.

There is also what is probably a unique feature in a pub - an impressive timber arcade striding across the servery with two bays sitting on top of the counter and a third spanning a walkway between two counters. The screen and bar-back have wonderful detail including coloured panels advertising all manner of drinks - champagne, finest old brandies, liqueurs, ports and sherries - the list goes on.

The serving area has an extraordinary shape and projects out into the main bar. This is because it serviced a whole variety of small compartments, reminders of which are preserved in the door glass (perhaps of the 1950s) which notes ‘public bar’ and ‘saloon bar’. At the rear is another room entered through an archway. It too has its own outside entrance with fine Victorian decorative glass (also proclaiming ‘saloon bar’). This room also has its own counter screen, like that in the main bar, which has a fine old clock over a doorway.

Full Description