THE BLYTHE HILL TAVERN
The Blythe Hill Tavern, as featured on the cover, has just joined an elite list of fewer than 300 pubs spread across the entire country: CAMRA’s National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors.
This recognises pubs whose interiors haven’t changed much in over fifty years or have features or rooms of national significance. The BHT was refitted, probably in the 1920s, and its layout reminds us how things were very different then, with separate rooms appropriate to a more hierarchical society. There are still three rooms arranged round the servery. The only major change has been the loss of the off-sales, now incorporated into the public bar on the right-hand side.
The survival rate of the fittings, such as the panelling and the benches with their attractive carving along the tops, is remarkable. Interwar fireplaces also remain, notably that in the saloon (left) with a lovely grey-blue tile surround. Heritage apart, this is a delightful, friendly pub for a drink with an awesome range of real ales and ciders. And card-carrying CAMRA members get a 10% discount! All round, what could be better?
The full address is 319 Stanstead Road, SE23 1JB. The nearest stations are Catford and Catford Bridge.
Geoff Brandwood (CAMRA Pub Heritage Group) with cover and above photos by Michael Slaughter LRPS
THE OLDE MITRE
Pubs which are included on CAMRA’s National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors are presented with certificates to mark their inclusion. Most commendably, CAMRA’s East London and City branch have started a programme of replacing those certificates which have been lost over time for some of their best known pubs.
The Olde Mitre is a Grade II-listed building hidden in the alley between Hatton Garden and Ely Place (EC1N 6SJ). It features extensive wood panelling in both bars and the snug. There has been a pub on this site since 1546 although the current building dates from the 18th century. The replacement certificate was presented with due ceremony to manager Judith Norman and her team. This popular Fuller’s pub has seven handpumps with two regular and five changing beers. The photo shows, left to right, bar staff Elisa, Francesco and Giovanni, manager Judith Norman and ELAC branch secretary Andy Kinch
THE BLACK FRIAR
This busy Nicholson’s pub stands on a sharply triangular site opposite Blackfriars station. It was built in 1871/2 but what makes it so special is the remodelling from about 1905 which created the exquisite facade and specular interior in the now very rare Art Nouveau style. Friars in marble and brass carouse their way around the pub’s interior and exterior and the grotto (dining area) is clad in matched Italian marble topped with Romanesque ceiling gold leaf. A sight to behold! The pub has ten handpumps with three regular and seven changing beers. The photo shows, left to right, bar assistant manager Joanna Pereira, Andy Kinch and assistant manager Ali Yavuz.
Andy Kinch (Photos courtesy of John Pardoe)