The Princess Louise public house

From Historic England entry:

“Date first listed: 15-Jan-1973

Public house. Mid C19. Interior 1891 by William B Simpson and Sons who contracted out the work. Yellow brick with stone and terracotta dressings.

EXTERIOR: 4 storeys 4 windows. Double-fronted public house ground floor facade of red granite columns and pilasters (with masks on the capitals), carrying entablature flanked by modified consoles. Central bow window with arched and lozenge lights flanked by wide entrances. Recessed sash windows with moulded stone heads, enriched impost bands, bracketed sills with cast-iron window guards to 2nd and 3rd floors. Entablature with dentil cornice and rosettes in frieze. Parapet.

INTERIOR: good interior with decorative, polychrome tile work, gold embossed glass by R Morris & Son, stained glass and original mahogany bar fittings by WH Lascelles and Co. In centre of bar, 4 cast-iron Corinthian columns carrying patterned ceiling with moulded cornice and polychrome tile frieze decorated with urns and swags. Staircase with elaborate wrought-iron balustrade between ground and 1st floor. 1st floor bar with good fittings and Art Nouveau dado. Interesting contemporary gents WC in basement with marble urinals and retaining some tiled walls and fittings. Included II* as a rich example of a Victorian public house interior.”


“The 1870s building seems to have been remodelled in the 1890s, whence the sumptuous display of tiling (by W.B. Simpson & Sons) and mirrors, which give the building a sense of fantasy and gaiety. The layout worked with a bar at the front and corridors down each side giving access to a series of drinking spaces, separated by glass and timber screens. These wrapped around a peninsula-style servery from which staff could reach customers in all parts. The screenwork had gone by the late 1960s (and perhaps long before that). Then in 2008 a remarkable thing happened. Owners, Samuel Smiths of Tadcaster, Yorkshire, put them back. Some surviving etched glass panels provided a model for authentic replacements and the discovery of a plan in the Crown Estate archives confirmed the Victorian layout. The lovely mosaic floors are of 2008 showing, along with the screenwork, that skilled craftsmanship is still alive and well. Your tour must also include the gents’ downstairs with three spectacular urinals which are second only to those at the Philharmonic in Liverpool: ladies are welcome to view if they aren’t in use! Three other classic London pubs with small drinking spaces are the Prince Alfred, Maida Vale, Barley Mow, Marylebone and the Argyll Arms, Soho.”

From Wikipedia:

“A snob screen is a device found in some British public houses of the Victorian era. Usually installed in sets, they comprise an etched glass pane in a movable wooden frame and were intended to allow middle class drinkers to see working class drinkers in an adjacent bar, but not to be seen by them, and to be undisturbed by the bar staff. Pubs with surviving snob screens include Princess Louise, Holborn, London.”

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