Derelict West and South West London Pubs
HAYES, UB3- THE BLUE ANCHOR
This pub had been empty since 2008 , and failed to get a buyer despite a reduction in its price by nearly half in 2010. According to local press, street drinkers and drug users had gained access to the derelict building. The decaying pub suffered a fire in 2010 and another one in July 2013 which virtually destroyed the building.David Brough, chairman of the Hayes Town Partnership, said it was a disaster waiting to happen.
An anonymous comment on Beer In The Evening in 2006 gives a less than glowing review: "Good pub if you 18 and want a punch up. Everytime I been in here there has been trouble. When driving past you notice fights spillng onto the street and road stopping you driving on. Avoid at all costs. "
Demolition of the remainder of the pub is now underway.
The Surprise, Pimlico, SW1
This Victorian pub on the busy Vauxhall Bridge Rd closed down in September 2014 & the lease is still on the market as a pub though the interior is pretty trashed.
When open the two bar pub had a mixed reaction and sometimes nicknamed "The Shock" and described by one reviewer online as "like something from a Dickensian slum. Back bar full of homeless hostel dwellers" and another said "unless you are a local or have a riot shield don't even think about going in". Though generally it was an average place to stop by for a reasonable priced pint and play pool, darts or cards with Sky Sports on the screen. A few old boys, some local casual lads & the odd stray tourist made up the clientele rather than suits, hipsters or students.
Freddie Foreman, a former south London gangster and associate of the notorious Kray twins used to drink at The Surprise and mentions the pub in his memoirs when he used his scarf to tie a bookmaker to a chair and then placed him in the path of a tram in the street outside only pulling him away in a split second before the tram made contact. Later that evening the pub got raided by police resulting in Freddie injuring a policeman.
In 2010 a 15 year old boy was stabbed one afternoon after school by a 20 strong gang at nearby Victoria Station. The police retrieved one of the murder weapons - a samurai sword - in a bin outside The Surprise Pub. I recall reading about the pub in the paper a few years back in a report involving organised violence between football firms. I cant remember the name of the associated teams but the pub was chosen as it was quite near to Victoria but far enough to be away from match day police.
Derek writes to Derelict London "The Surprise pub was the location of a meet between chelsea and west ham firms about 5 years ago,think this is the one your referring to,as you said away from the ground and police.The same day another arranged meet between the two took place at the white ferry pub nearby in sutherland st. Didnt have anything to do with it but know someone who knows someone so to speak. Great site,keep on keeping on"
Prince of Wales - Maida Vale, W9
This pub was closed by the police late in 2014 following an alleged prolonged sexual assault that occured on the premises. Previous incidents that concerned the police in recent years was a fight outside the pub one St Patricks Day and another in 2012 when the landlord was hit in the face with a beer glass and required 15 stitches.
There is currently a campaign by the local community to prevent the premises being converted into a betting shop a fate recently suffered by the Prince of Wales down in Rotherhithe.
The Brewery Tap - Wandsworth Sw18
On Wandsworth High Street beside the former Youngs Brewery is the closed down and currently derelict but Grade 2 listed Brewery Tap. On the information board outside is an old poster which reads:
"Beer was first brewed in this site back in 1581. Humphrey Langbridge was the brewer and innkeeper back then and the building was known as The Ram Inn. Later Queen Elizabeth 1st is said to have stopped off here on her way to Windsor to refresh her horses and who knows maybe sample the beer.
Since the early days both The Ram Inn and the brewery have changed unrecognizably and Young's reputation for fine beers has attracted visitors from all over the world. Re-named the Brewery Tap in 1974 the pub has continued to serve the best old fashioned draught traditional ales as well as taking 100s of visitors through the back door to see how they're made.
The pub may have changed in its appearance but you can still enjoy the same warm friendly pub atmosphere, good home cooked food and refreshing real ale as first served by Humphrey Langbridge all those years ago under the sign of the Ram."
Well I'm not so sure whether Elizabeth 1 really did sample the beer but its true that the late Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother poured herself a pint of Youngs when visiting the Queens Head in Limehouse in 1987!
The Battersea Bar (previously The Chopper) , York Road, SW11
Originally named The Chopper (after the nearby heliport) this pub is due for demolition to provide "a mixed use development comprising flexible shop/financial and professional services/cafe/restaurant/drinking establishment uses and 29 flats within a new 5-storey building."
This late night bar provided English & Caribbean food and djs and the old poster on the wall outside describes a friday night as the "afterwork jam for mature adults"
This bar was in the local news due to the unsolved case of an 18 year old shot dead during a gang dispute outside the bar in 2006.
South Lambeth, SW8 - The New Portland Arms
This recently closed neo Georgian style public house dates from 1933. The Wenlock Brewery sign is that of a now defunct Shoreditch brewery dating back to 1893 that was taken over by Bass in 1961 & brewing under the wenlock name ceased a year later.
BRENTFORD - THE NEW ENGLAND (previously known as Duke of York)
This large old pub & restaurant popular with Brentford FC fans closed in 2006 & is due to be redeveloped into a hotel. Now described by the local press as a crime hotspot and listed as a 'high priority area' by police after being blamed for attracting criminals responsible for a spate of car fires in 2008. There was a fire in the building in 2009 & neighbours are concerned that a fire could easily spiral out of control due to the amount of rubbish inside the grounds.
In 2010 two men who entered the building via a hole in the roof were searching for scrap metal when they discovered the decomposing body of a man hanging behind the bar. Where the man was found there were many empty beer cans and it is suspected he may have been living in the derelict pub.
To quote some old advertising blurb: "What sets the New England apart from many other venues is the theme we employ. From the subtle decor through to the exciting food, customers can enjoy a classic taste of The Big Country without the hype and razzmatazz usually associated with themed restaurants and bars. Taking our inspiration from the adventurous spirit of the Pilgrim Fathers who founded the very first colonies of the New World in 1620, we aim to recreate the simple and basic values to bring you a social and dining experience you won't forget."
BRIXTON SW9 - BRADYS (previously the Railway Hotel)
Opened in 1880 , the hotel’s distinctive six-sided clock tower was designed to be seen from passing trains as they ferried commuters over several bridges into central London. This place has a long association with music and dance - renamed Brady's in the 1990s, and continued to play an integral part of the local music scene, with bands like Alabama 3 regularly putting on shows. In the 1960s, Jimi Hendrix was reputed to have regularly jammed there after playing in the West End. The film 'Rude Boy' by the Clash features scenes shot in the Railway Hotel. Squatters took over for a while putting on shows until 2002.(see more of this pub in the Music section)
The building has recently been sold off to Mayfair-based ‘property consultants’. The building has been cleaned up and the ground floor looks set to reopen as something soom. The last that I heard was that it could be a Spanish restaurant.
NINE ELMS SW8 - BAR SW8
Originally a traditional boozer called The Bell and then renamed Bar SW8 and resyled more as a late night club/party venue. Closed down in July 2007 after a man across the road pulled a machine gun from under his coat and opened fire spraying bullets everywhere.The doorman of Bar SW8, Kolawole Babadiya, died, and another man who was hit survived. He was described as being unable to control the gun as it fired and it was only his "incompetence", according to police, that prevented more people being injured.At least 18 bullets were fired by the gunman, police kept an open mind as to the motive but believe the gunman may have been from a local gang and was firing at other gang members in the street. BBC Crimewatch featured this incident and a £20,000 reward was offered to bring Mr Babadiya's killer to justice but so far nobody has been charged with this crime. The pub now accomodates a 2nd hand furniture shop.
LADBROKE GROVE - THE COWSHED
This pub used as the exterior in the Al Murray comedy "Time Gentlemen Please"
A review on Qype says "The Cowshed is a proper filthy pub. It is grotty and dirty - it is your typical smelly old man’s pub. It’s always pretty empty and smells as though the smoking ban has never been taken into account. The benches are covered in leather which is so old it has been ripped and consequently patched up with gaffer tape."
The building is for sale with a £750,000 guide price.
BRIXTON SW9 - RUSSELL HOTEL
Tom writes: "It was being run by a very drunk old irish barman called John, who claimed to have been put there by the brewery to keep it open whilst they looked for a new owner. Any time we went in there there .John was pissed as a fart, hardly able to focus on the beer pumps. His moods tended to swing between jovial friendliness, anger and close to tears. One time a deaf couple came in and he mistook their speaking difficulties for drunkeness, refused to serve them as he thought they'd had enough already and shouted at them till they left. It closed a couple of weeks after that."
Now converted to a Tesco supermarket.
STAINES TW18 - THE CROOKED BILLET
Well known local landmark at the infamous roundabout of the same name. Now demolished & to be replaced by 39 flats....Once owned by Beefeater pub food chain.
Claire writes: "I knew this place well, it had been there for years. If I remember rightly, most of the food wasn't all that but the ice cream was quite nice! I lived in the Staines area between 1995 and 2000, and the pub closed a year or so before I moved back to London (sometime in the late 1990s). I still pass it regularly and the back of the building appears to have been quite severely gutted by fire - there are a number of very large holes in the roof. It has stood derelict for a long time, and it is only relatively recently that a demolition notice has appeared outside the pub. Not a bad place (a bit bland perhaps), but there were always much better pubs in Staines!"
ACTON - THE ALBION
I remember this as a quite an old school boozer. No gimmicks and no hassle as long as you didnt take liberties.....
STAINES - THE DOG & PARTRIDGE
Always a hotspot for a fight according to local police reports. Raided by the police prior to closure in July 2009. In a witness statement, Sergeant Duncan Shaun Brown said:
"As soon as we entered we were faced with hostility by the customers as well as the bar staff....A female working behind the bar said 'I think this is pathetic and against people's human rights.' This caused the customers to start adopting the same stance with many refusing to walk past the drugs dogs and insisting this was against their human rights." Sergeant Brown said a large number of customers were 'heavily intoxicated' and slurring their words and unsteady on their feet. He added a few customers were swearing at the police, and were told they would be arrested if they continued. He said: "Throughout this time the licensee and other bar staff were of very little use. From my point of view it appeared that they had no control of the premises and appeared to be condoning the actions of their customers by repeatedly stating that our presence was pathetic." The officers found cocaine in the toilets, and a small bag of the Class A drug in the car park. Sergeant Brown then added that all the officers left at the same time for fear of aggression if they stayed alone.
The above is nothing unusual in many boozers all over the UK but I had a look at a licensing commitee report on this place and there were numerous "incidents" here in the year leading up to closure. The pub has been demolished and replaced by housing.
Ali G, the fictional character created by comedian Sacha Baron Cohen claimed to attended "Da Matthew Arnold Skool" close to the Dog & Partridge.
KINGSTON KT1 - THE CAMBRIDGE ARMS
David Sydenham writes: "I used to live in a flat opposite the pub.It was a fairly rough pub on a main road going out of Kingston. Behind the pub are a couple of tower blocks which the police/fire brigade seem to be called out to on a regular basis. Not many people used to be in there, they tried to do the pub up and painted it the lovely red colour in the photo which made it look a lot worse. A couple of months after the ‘renovation’ there was a fire one night (early 2002 I think), which I took great delight in watching. It was boarded up for a few months before gypsies or ‘eco-warriors’ got into the pub and set-up a ‘second-hand’ shop with the usual car stereos and mattresses on sale. Its now been knocked down I’ve heard."
Now luxury flats..........
MORDEN - THE CROWN
This depressing looking place was a quite a friendly pub according to internet sources. However. Rob "Lurker" Taylor writes to Derelict London in response to this: "the now-closed Crown and ANY pub is Morden is/was full of c*nts,i grew up there.whoever told you it was a friendly place is lying. In the late 70s aged 16/17 i was a punk - impossible to go into a pub in Morden/Mitcham/Wimbledon without some small-minded middle-aged bigot handing out a slap. I will still not drink in Morden,it's full of idiots to this day.I have lived in places with a "reputation" such as New Cross and NEVER had any problems,but Morden and Mitcham are full of cretinous inbred vermin and always will be."
BRIXTON - THE ANGEL
This pub was featured on BBC in the 1980's in a TV report about West Indian immigrants coming to Brixton in the 1950's. It suggests that the Angel was an important part of Brixton's history, being the 'first pub to sell drinks to coloured people'
FELTHAM - CROWN & SCEPTRE
The Hounslow Chronicle says: "Punters visiting the Crown and Sceptre in Feltham will be served a different tonic from now on - the ailing pub is to become a doctor's surgery."
The venue has been the scene of fights, assaults on children and a rape allegation in the last few months and a man lost his eye in an attack in March in which a police officer was also assaulted. Police had had enough so applied for its licence to be withdrawn and owners Punch Taverns decided not to fight the application and sold up.
Neighbour Doreen Baker, 72, said: "It's such a relief to know it's finally shut for good. That whole corner had become a no-go area day and night and the racket they used to make there was just unbearable."
LOUGHBOROUGH JUNCTION SW9 - THE CROWN (aka The Muddy Duck)
BRIXTON SW9- THE NORMANDY (previously known as the Cowley Arms)
HAMMERSMITH - OLIVE TREE RESTAURANT & BAR
Previously the Duke of York described on one local website as " one of Hammersmith’s best loved restaurants since September 2005" and was certainly popular according to reviews which is a mystery that its closed down as its in quite an affluent area. Planning permission has been approved to convert the building into 5 flats. Alan Kelly, landlord of the Duke of York pub interviewed in The Independant newspaper in 1994, said he had lost several thousand pounds of stock stored in the basement due to widespread flooding in the area after cable tv contractor fractured a water main. Hundreds of the areas homes were flooded under 8 ft of water. Perhaps it was the buried Stamford Brook making a reappearance www.londonslostrivers.com
LOUGHBOROUGH JUNCTION SW9 -THE GREEN MAN
Brian writes: "Fond memories - the Green Man was my local, and a well mellow place to boot back in the late 80s. Perhaps because there was a good old-fashioned late night fighting pub a couple of hundred yards down the road - brawls pretty much guaranteed every weekend - and the serious trendies hung out in Brixton proper. The sound system had a winning line in Trojan and other early ska, and Gus the landlord was a particularly genial man. I was told once after a few bevvies that ex T Rex bongo player Mickie Finn lived just down the road before he died. As far as I can recall the Green Man shut in about 1990 - the rumour was that Gus had to leg it back to Jamaica at fairly short notice for some reason."
Richard from thecabbiescapital.co.uk writes to derelict london: "My sister lived on the Loughborough Estate for many years and had her hen do at The Green Man. It was a wild night, with great music supplied by David Rodigan - ex Capital Radio DJ, when Capital dared do something a bit off piste like reggae!!"
WANDSWORTH - THE ROYAL OAK
Sorry to see this one boarded up I as used to drink in here a few years back. Great boozer though had its ups and downs in recent years. Quite handy for a late drink. The last time that I was here was for a gig by Grand Valley Speedway a few years ago. Closed down and was for sale as a pub for a while
but now converted into flats.
Some more dead pubs in South West and West London:
Adrian Pitt writes to Derelict London: "The George in Sunbury was a bit of a dive,well a big dive, best part was the poem in the gents. "There is not paper in this hall, so with my bum I wipe the wall"