FORMER PUBLIC HOUSES

This article first appeared in the Summer 2019 edition of Ladbroke News, the Ladbroke Asssociation newsletter.

    All the pubs in our area date from early-to-mid Victorian times and most were erected as part of the development of the area. Most were predictably along main arteries or market areas – Kensington Park Road, Portobello Road, Ladbroke Grove and Clarendon Road – and happily most have survived, although some in a sadly altered state. At least five, however, have closed, although leaving a ghostly reminder of their presence as the buildings still exist and retain clearly their pub shape.

The Clarendon Hotel

    Perhaps the best of these buildings is the Clarendon Hotel, on the corner of Clarendon Road and one of the spurs of Portland Road. It has magnificent Corinthian pilasters and tall Georgian-style sash windows.  It was completed around 1846 and was probably erected by William Reynolds, a builder and surveyor, who was responsible for many of the houses in Clarendon Road. Reynolds established himself as the licensee and took out various mortgages on the building before going bankrupt in 1848.  The building continued as a public house and hotel, under a succession of different publicans, until 1919. In the 1920s it became the Quest Social Centre, which it remains to this day, providing day care for the elderly.  It was nearly demolished in the 1970s to build modern housing, but was saved by being given a Grade II listing in 1976.

 

The former Clarendon Hotel

 

The Codrington

    There were no fewer than three pubs in Kensington Park Road, all dating from the 1860s and all of which have closed. The Codrington was probably named after Admiral Sir Edward Codrington (1770-1851), who commanded a ship at Trafalgar, led the fleet at Washington and Baltimore in the American War and commanded the combined fleets of Britain, France and Russia at the battle of Navarino. It was on the corner of Kensington Park Road and Elgin Crescent and is now an estate agent. The pub-like shape of the building can however still be seen.

The old Codrington pub, early 1900s.

 

 

The same building today

 

The Arundel Arms (later Blenheim Arms)

   On the other side of the road, on the corner of Blenheim Crescent, there was the Arundel Arms (later renamed Blenheim Arms), which closed only recently (in about 2000) and is now the E&O Asian fusion restaurant. Again the pub-like shape of this corner building can still be seen clearly.

The former Arundel Arms

 

The Grasshopper

    The charmingly named Grasshopper at 216-218 Kensington Park Road was unusual in not being on a street corner, but its handsome double frontage still reveals its origin. It seems to have closed around the time of the First World War.

The former Grasshopper

 

Others

     The Portobello Road still has lots of pubs, but four fewer than in its heyday.  The Freemasons Arms at No. 76 was destroyed by a bomb during the blitz; the Oxford at Nos. 90-92 closed in the 1930s and the Portobello Tavern at No. 138 closed in the 1920s, but both retain their public house type façades; and the Duke of Sussex at No. 272 was demolished to make way for the construction of Westway in the 1960s. Some of the other pubs in the Portobello Road are so changed that one wonders whether they can still be called pubs. The Ginstitute took over the old Colville at No.186  and it is now the Distillery, devoted entirely to gin. The new landlords restored the façade with great success to reflect its Victorian pub ancestry, but destroyed the magnificent first floor Victorian pub dining room. The former Golden Cross at No. 240, subsequently Shannons or the Market Bar, is now a sushi restaurant, although its ground floor does still does have a popular bar. The old Portobello Gold at No. 95 has gone distinctly upmarket and is more restaurant than pub, although again it retains its ground floor bar.