Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:


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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Greater London Authority
Hackney (London Borough)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
TQ 34898 84122

Reasons for Designation

Public house of the 1850s with a very fine interior of c.1900 or slightly earlier. It has bar fittings and glazed screens, but is most noted for its complete surviving tiled walls, with pictures signed by W B Simpson and Sons of St Martin's Lane, one of the leading pub interior decorators.


735/0/10147 MARE STREET 21-OCT-03 165 The Dolphin Public House

II Public House. c.1850, perhaps with earlier core, remodelled c.1900 or slightly earlier on ground floor. Stock brick with white painted quoins and dressings, roof hidden behind parapet. Square, broadly symmetrical plan with projecting staircase and former pothouse at rear.

Five-bay frontage of three storeys, having heavy cornice and frieze under parapet with balustrade and urns. Windows are sashes without glazing bars, in aediculed surrounds, those to first floor under alternating round-headed and triangular pediments with brackets. Granite pub frontage with timber windows comprising large opaque panes under smaller round-headed toplights, with main window a tripartite composition and with doors at either end.

Interior has central bar with central bar back decorated with dolphin on end, c.1900 much remodelled. A plan of 1931 shows the surrounding area divided into four, with a public bar and saloon at the front to left and right, and to the rear a dining room and a lounge, with lantern lights over. The dining room survives behind a timber and glass screen decorated with dolphins in coloured glass; the lounge has been partly incorporated into the saloon area and partly subdivided into ladies lavatories, set behind later timber panelling. A pothouse shown on the plan behind the lounge, with to its left a staircase; this survives, with elaborate C19 turned balusters. Bars have boarded ceilings with Jacobean style mouldings in timber superimposed. Blockwood floors with tilework to side in saloon area. Tiled side walls, with repeated pattern of birds and foliage in blue with blue surrounds set over brown and green dado. These extend into the Ladies lavatory, subdivided from the former lounge. Best of all, at the entrances on either side are painted panels set over more elaborate coloured tiled dados. The large picture in the saloon shows Airon with his lyre summoning a dolphin to his rescue. Both pictures were painted by W B Simpson and Sons of St Martins Lane. Screens at either entrance of timber with coloured glass representing dolphins.

W B Simpson and Sons were noted decorators and suppliers of wallpapers and tiles, who expanded their trade from wealthy drawing rooms to the pub trade in the late nineteenth century. They were responsible for many tiled pub interiors in East London, of which the finest surviving example is the Princess Louise in High Holborn.

Included as a very fine surviving public house interior of c.1900, notable for its tilework and coloured glass, set within a mid nineteenth century building which retains a distinctive and little-altered Italianate style façade.

Sources Mark Girouard, Victorian Pubs, London, Yale University Press, 1984, pp. 120, 158-60. Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, Buildings of England, London North, 1997 Hackney Building Inspector's Records, vol.126/234, 1931


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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