A historic pub interior of national importance
Listed Status: II8 Dorset Street
This tall four-storey building of 1791 houses a Victorian interior of great interest thanks to the unique survival of a pair of small drinking boxes attached to the counter on the left-hand side. This is a perfect example of how, in times gone by, Londoners liked to drink in intimate, cosy surroundings. Four or five people in each and they are full. A very doubtful claim that they were intended for pawnbroking transactions is probably a late 20th-century explanation for features which have become inexplicable with changed drinking traditions (that is not to say, of course, that a few dodgy deals may not have taken place therein over the years). Screwed to the counter tops are two much-worn brass plate displaying the prices of liquor such as rum at 15 shillings (75p) a gallon. The existence of three entrances in the frontage is clearly suggestive of other internal subdivisions now long gone.
A tall four-storey building of 1791 which houses an interior of extraordinary interest. What is now unique is the survival of a couple of small drinking boxes attached to the counter on the left hand side held in place with a couple of cast-iron stays screwed to the wall. They are a perfect illustration of how, at the end of the nineteenth-century, pubs, especially in London, were divided up into tiny spaces for different groups and classes of people. It is claimed that these boxes here were used for pawnbroking but whether there is any justification for this seems rather questionable. This was probably a late-20th-century explanation for features which can become otherwise inexplicable with the changes in pub layout and drinking traditions.
Beyond the boxes is a small room with old dado panelling and old bar counter but the pot shelf is modern. On the counter top is a very interesting feature - a worn brass plates screwed to the counter and which display the prices of of liquor - evidently old with rum at 15 shillings (75p) a gallon! There is another on the counter alongside the snugs. The side walls are completely panelled and the bar counter and bar back fittings are Victorian - it is a pity that most of the lower shelves have been replaced by a couple of fridges. Note on the bar-back a tap marked 'Old Tom', an extremely popular gin, which once drew gin from an overhead barrel. The pot shelf is modern but in style with the rest of the interior. The existence of three entrances in the shop front are clear evidence that there were other internal subdivisions which have now gone.