Public house. 1923-4 with alteration to the rear hall c1926. FG Newnham for the brewery Barclay Perkins and Co.
Reasons for Designation
The Fellowship Inn, Randlesdown Road, Bellingham, an ‘improved’ public house built in 1923-4 by FG Newnham for the brewery Barclay Perkins and Co, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Degree of survival: the survival of most the original interior fittings and the original layout, as well as the largely unchanged exterior appearance, makes this a rare, virtually unaltered, example of a 1920s ‘improved' public house;
* Architectural interest: the building shows all the salient features of a typical improved pub of this era with its ‘Brewers' Tudor’ style, large bar areas, halls for entertainment, refreshment room, children’s room, off sales shop and ample kitchen facilities;
* Historic interest: built to serve the London County Council’s Bellingham Estate by one of the major improving breweries, the Fellowship Inn represents an early example of the LCC allowing a pub to be built on one of their estates and is illustrative of a change in social housing policy.
The Fellowship Inn was built as part of the London County Council’s Bellingham Estate in 1923-4. The Bellingham Estate was built on land acquired in 1920 and planned as a self-sufficient residential area laid out to resemble a traditional village, embodying the planning ideals of the turn-of-the-century Garden City Movement. The housing was largely completed by 1923, partly housing people displaced by slum clearance in Deptford and Bermondsey. Due to pressure from the temperance movement the LCC was wary of building, or allowing brewers to build, pubs on their suburban estates and at first was determined to have no pubs on its estates. The Fellowship Inn would appear to be one of the earliest such built. The large LCC Becontree Estate in Dagenham, for example, was virtually pub-free (other than existing licences) until 1928. When it was eventually deemed that the provision of a pub was acceptable, they were designed along ‘improved’ lines with the provision of community facilities such as halls, games rooms and refreshment rooms, and referred to as ‘refreshment houses’.
The pub was designed by FG Newnham, the house architect of the brewery Barclay Perkins and Co, one of the largest breweries of the period and which invested heavily in 'improved' pubs. The Fellowship Inn was the first in its chain of Anchor pubs. Newnham also designed other pubs on LCC estates for the brewery including the Downham Tavern (1930 - demolished) on the nearby Downham Estate and the Cherry Tree on the Beckenham Estate (1933).
A report on a prohibition debate in the House of Lords in an American local paper, the Spartanburg Herald of 6 July 1924, commented on the opening the previous week of the Fellowship Inn…’In an effort to evolve an ideal public house, a big brewery firm has opened a “fellowship inn” at Bellingham, which is the first of a group of inns intended to serve alcoholic beverages and to cater to the social wants of all classes and particularly of families. The Inn’s sign was painted by Sir Arthur Cope, member of the Royal Academy. Inside the inn there is a large hall where music, dances concerts and lawful games may be enjoyed. The inn has its own band and its own entertainments and customers sit at small tables in the continental café style, consuming tea, coffee or ale as they prefer. The opening ceremony of the inn was attended…by several society people as well as by county council officials who are watching the experiment of those new inns with interest. The cooks and waitresses of the new public house have been instructed at a school instituted by the brewery company…'
In c1926 an additional storey was added to the rear hall creating an upper lounge and refreshment area and in 1927 a children's room (a controversial feature of 'improved' pubs) was added in the lounge area.
Until the late 1960s the large hall at the rear of the pub was used as a music venue and was part of the London Jazz, and then blues-boom, scenes. In 1963, prior to his fight with Cassius Clay (later Muhammed Ali), Henry Cooper was reported in a Sports Illustrated article, dated 1 July 1963, to be living and training at the Fellowship Inn. It seems unlikely that this amounted to more than light training and there is no evidence that the pub was ever equipped as a boxing gym. Cooper's main training base was at the Thomas A Becket on the Old Kent Road. The lower hall was also apparently used as a cinema.
During the 1970s the former refreshment or games room at the rear of the pub hosted a disco but both this and the hall fell into disuse and disrepair.
MATERIALS: brown brick laid in English bond with hipped clay tile roofs and tall brick chimneys. The brickwork is exposed only to ground-floor window level with the upper part of the south, east and west elevations rendered with applied ‘half-timber’ decoration. The rear hall has red brick dressings.
PLAN: located next to Bellingham railway station, the Fellowship Inn is built on the embankment of the bridge taking Randlesdown Road over the railway line. The main part of the pub at the top of the embankment, fronts onto the north side of Randlesdown Road. The adjoining two-storey hall is situated at the foot of the embankment, off Knapmill Road, with its upper storey at the same level as the ground floor of the main pub range.
On the ground floor the building consists of a public bar to the west and saloon bar to the east (originally a lounge and smoke room at the front and dining room at the rear) with a central servery with an office behind. To the north is a large function room (originally the lounge/recreation room and forming the upper floor of the main hall) partitioned at its west end to form what was originally the children's room. On the lower floor is a beer cellar to the south with an off-sales area to its north-west and the large hall to the north. Access to the upper floors is via a lobby and staircase on the east side of the building. To the north of the first floor is a large kitchen with the rest of the upstairs area taken up with staff accommodation.
EXTERIOR: two storeys plus attic and basement in a half-timbered ‘Brewers' Tudor’ style. The principal, south, elevation is of five bays on the ground floor with large Tudor-arched entrances (with triple square transoms above double doors, all with leaded lights) to bays two and four and blocks of metal casement windows with leaded lights in the remaining bays. The first floor has six paired metal-framed casements with leaded lights and square transoms. Below the windows is decorative timber framing with a modern fascia panel below the two centre windows. The attic storey has three hipped dormers.
At the east end of the south elevation, the return (with leaded metal casements) is followed by a Tudor-arched entrance (to the stair lobby). The east elevation consists of a pair of shallow gabled cross-wings with applied half-timbered decoration above lower sections of exposed brickwork and with paired leaded casements in the southern gable. The western elevation again has applied timber decoration (with four decorative panels) and leaded casement windows. The northern elevation consists of an angled two-storey brick block at the end of Knapmill Street. On the ground floor is a timber shop front, originally the off-sales, with boarded replacements to the original doors and plate glass display windows. The eastern timber pilaster is partly missing. Windows above and to the east side of the shopfront have rubbed brick arches. Above the angled frontage is a flat roof terrace below the L-shaped first-floor rear of the main pub. This is half- timbered with leaded metal casements and hipped dormers.
The hall, built in a contrasting neo-Georgian style, is of brick, again in English bond, with a rendered upper storey and flat felted roof behind a parapet, with a large pitched skylight in the centre. The west elevation along Knapmill Street is of five bays divided by pilasters, of rusticated brickwork on the ground floor and rendered on the first floor. The three centre bays on the ground floor have round rubbed brick arches. Above the arches are decorative panels with a pattern of semi-circular brick arches with an infill of clay tiles set on edge (these were once open features in the parapet of the originally single-storey hall). The outer bays have square openings (the north a doorway and south a window) with rubbed brick lintels with rubbed brick oculi above. The first floor has five large multi-light windows. The northern elevation is of six bays with pilasters and with the eastern bay containing a projecting entrance block with access to the first floor via a metal staircase. The three bays adjoining the entrance block have the same arches and decorative panels as the western elevation. The two western bays are blind. The eastern elevation is of four bays, all with ground floor arched openings, decorative plaques and large metal casement windows. The south elevation has the same arrangement in its three bays and joins the main pub building at the west end.
INTERIOR: the saloon bar on the east side of the pub retains its wooden panelling, entrance lobby screen with leaded transoms and original doors, stone Tudor-arched fire surround, two dumb waiters, folding screen to the rear hall and panelled division to the public bar with leaded transoms. The bar counter is original and the bar back also appears to be original. A transom with leaded lights and carved Tudor rose decoration divide the servery. Behind the servery is a small panelled publican’s office with leaded glazing to the public bar.
The public bar retains its large entrance lobby screen, panelling and fire surround. The bar counter is original but boarded up above counter level. The rear lounge has lost most of its original fittings and has had a suspended ceiling inserted, although the original skylights remain. The stage at the eastern end is modern although elements of the servery are original. In the centre of the hall is a circular timber, well-like structure. This covers one of the two plastered-over original sky-lights of the single-storey hall and probably dates to the 1920s. The other is no longer present. To the west of the lounge is the separate children's room. The WC has its original white-glazed tiling and urinals.
The lower hall has an entrance lobby and cloakrooms to the west and a smaller lobby in the north-east corner. The hall has a coffered concrete ceiling and elements of classical decoration including marble-effect wooden columns around the walls. The original parquet flooring survives and the hall has cinema seating of uncertain date. The stage at the eastern end has been damaged by fire. The original servery with its roller shutters, screen to the entrance lobby, elements of the dado panelling, doors and arched metal-framed windows all survive. The main entrance lobby retains its original doors and entrance screen and monochrome floor tiling. The cloakroom fittings also survive. On the same level, the large off-sales area retains its original serving counter, shelving, internal leaded glazing and glass globe lamp fitting.
The upper floors contain staff accommodation and a large kitchen with a pantry, two dumb waiters, cream glazed-brick decoration with green trim, and glazed, timber-partitioned store-room with original shelving. The original staircases and panelled lobby on the east side of the building also survive.