Pub Blog

A stroll around the heritage pubs of Maida Vale

Maida Vale is a well off residential area in north west London known for its streets of mansion blocks. It’s also home to Little Venice, the canal basin on the Regents Canal famous for multiple narrowboats and waterside cafes and pubs. What the area is less well known for is its collection of exceptional Victorian heritage pubs. This short walk takes in four pubs, all well worth a visit to see the extravagant steps brewers and entrepreneurs took to ensure their pub outdid their neighbours in style and elegance.

Translucent Style: Cut & Etched Glass in Pubs

Cutting, etching and embossing glass was perfected by the Victorians and put to excellent effect in many of the hundreds of pubs they built towards the end of the 19th century. Almost all Victorian and Edwardian urban pubs had decorative translucent glass and although most of it has been torn out, much still remains. Etched glass was still popular in the 1920s and 1930s, although the intricate art nouveau patterns had given way to simpler geometric designs. Pubs continue to add etched glass windows today, often to replace glass that was removed in the clear glass craze of the 1990s and early 2000s, and sometimes to replace original glass with modern copies.

Harry Redfern’s Carlisle Legacy: the ‘model pubs’ of the State Management Scheme

One of the key proposals of the Carlisle State Management Scheme was to reconstruct existing pubs and build new pubs to an ideal agreed by the various interests behind alcohol reduction. The scheme needed an architect and the person chosen was Harry Redfern, who was to oversee the programme until the early 1940s. Redfern’s pubs were revolutionary and became a huge influence on the ‘improved pubs’ movement that was taking off across the country in the inter-war period.

Britain’s ancient pubs (or are they?)

The pub guide on this website has a category called Ancient Pubs. When I added it I was thinking about the very oldest pubs and I’d assumed that it would include those dating from maybe the 1100s up to the 1400s. Like most people, I was ready to believe claims made by pubs like “dates back to the twelfth century”, or “over 800 years old”. And why not, as these claims are repeated without question in dozens of pub guides from the early 1900s to the present day.

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