A historic pub interior of national importance
Listed Status: II*6 Oxford Street
Tel: (020) 7636 8324
Real Ale: Yes
Nearby Station: London Charing Cross
Station Distance: 1050m
Public Transport: Near Railway Station (London Charing Cross) and Bus Stop
View on: Whatpub
Built in 1892 in a florid Flemish Renaissance style by well-known pub architects Saville & Martin for Baker Bros Ltd, who owned a chain of London pubs at the time of the great London pub-building boom. There is a great deal of decoration to admire, especially in the rear part although it’s a pity about the skylight, ruined by crass modern glass. The right-hand wall has mirrors by Jones & Firmin and also paintings by Felix de Jong & Co. These depict three of the four seasons (did/does the fourth, Winter, lie behind the boxed in work beside the entrance?). In between Spring and Summer is a lovely painted and gilded mirror. There are tiled panels between the paintings and mirrors, and a tiled frieze runs round the tops of the walls. The left-hand wall is lined with carved mahogany panelling with large mirrored sections. In the ceiling are six painted roundels of mythological scenes. The present, long, single space no doubt had some divisions originally.
Right by Tottenham Court Road Tube station, this is the last-remaining pub on whole length of Oxford Street and is busy morning, noon and night. It was built in 1892/93 in a Flemish Renaissance style to the designs of architects Saville & Martin (who also designed the Punch Tavern, EC4) and occupies a narrow plot which no doubt reflects a long history. The pub now consists of a long, single space which is the result of the amalgamation of at least two rooms from the original Victorian pub. Note there are two distinct parts to the ceiling - the front one has a series of four painted roundels of Classical subjects and a modest frieze; the rear part has a frieze, skylight and two more painted roundels.
There is a good deal of decoration to admire here, especially in the rear part where there is a tiled frieze with swirling foliage, an ornate mahogany-surround fireplace, mirror and mahogany panelling, and a skylight (which has been ruined by unbelievably inappropriate modern coloured glass). Down the right-hand wall is a series of paintings which feature women representing three of the four seasons (number four has been lost at some stage). There are three back-painted mirrors with ribbons, cherubs and cornucopia by Jones and Firmin who reintroduced this technique for decorating glass in the 1880s and some plain mirrors . The left-hand wall is lined with carved mahogany panelling with large mirrored sections and small bevelled mirror sections at the top. Between the paintings and back-painted mirrors there are panels of encaustic tiles depicting flowering urns by Millington, Wisdom and Co, Art Tile Painters of Shaftesbury Avenue. Also more tiling on the dado of the front section of the pub.
The bar counter looks like the original one but is not parallel to the wall so it may have been moved (possibly into a former passage that gave access to the rear section?). The present window frontage is a later addition - it could be that the fourth painting is situated on the right hand wall just inside the front door and now covered by modern panelling? Downstairs, now only accessible from the rear left of the main bar, is a room now the Astoria Restaurant which has a modern bar counter and bar back.
It was built on the site of a pub called the Flying Horse and in 2015 it changed its name to the Flying Horse after more than a century as the Tottenham.