Baring Hall Hotel and associated stable block
- Heritage Category:
- Listed Building
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Statutory Address:
- 368 Baring Road, London, London, SE12 0DU
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- Statutory Address:
- 368 Baring Road, London, London, SE12 0DU
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Greater London Authority
- Lewisham (London Borough)
- Non Civil Parish
- National Grid Reference:
Public house and stabling block designed by Ernest Newton, 1881-1882, with later additions.
Reasons for Designation
The Baring Hall Hotel and associated stable block at 368 Baring Road are listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* as a restrained, carefully-proportioned and eloquent rendering of the ‘Queen Anne’ style, bearing the distinctive influence of Richard Norman Shaw’s work of the 1870s.
* as a significant early work within the Grove Park suburb undertaken independently by Ernest Newton, one of the most important domestic architects of the late C19 and early C20; * as one of a small group of pubs built along ‘improved’ lines in the 1880s and 1890s, which were precursors to the improved public houses built in their thousands between 1918 and 1939.
The Baring Hall Hotel was built to the designs of Ernest Newton (1856-1922) as part of a planned new ‘artistic suburb’ laid out in the southern part of the parish of Lee. The locality, initially referred to as Burnt Ash (apparently derived from a single farm present by the early C18), was by the 1870s being promoted as a new high-status suburb under the genteel name, Grove Park. Spurred by the South Eastern Railway’s new line across the area laid in the 1860s and the opening of Grove Park station in 1871, development of the new middle-class suburb began to emerge around crossing of the Bromley Road (now Baring Road) and the railway. The hotel was the principal social establishment at Grove Park, with a varied collection of substantial villas built in the fashionable Queen Anne style (several of which were also designed by Newton) developed to the east of the railway.
The promotion of Grove Park as a discreet middle-class residential development was mainly the initiative of the Liberal statesman Thomas Baring (made Earl of Northbrook in 1876, the year he returned from serving as Viceroy to India) and local developer John Pound. The Baring family were the principal landowners at Grove Park having acquired the Manor of Lee in 1792, whilst Pound had been involved with speculative development on Burnt Ash Hill (to the north of Grove Park) from the 1850s. In 1869 Pound was lodging applications for three new roads on the west side of Burnt Ash Lane and, by 1871, was engaged in building large villas on Baring Road. The firm of Henry Newton (father of Ernest Newton) was also involved at Grove Park at this stage, probably serving as the estate surveyors. Early houses were large, individually-designed villas, most with substantial gardens and private carriage drives. Newton received commissions for several houses, including ‘Three Gables’, built 1883 for Edith Nesbit, author of the Railway Children. Three Gables was one of at least four buildings of Newton’s at Grove Park which were published in the Building News between 1879 and 1883.
The Baring Hall Hotel was planned as part of the earliest phase of Grove Park’s development, the first application made in 1875, with a provisional license eventually granted in 1879. However, development was delayed until the early 1880s as Lord Northbrook disapproved of Pound's early plans, leading to a revised proposal for a 'large hotel with livery stables', according to the Kentish Mercury (4th October 1879); this presumably being Newton's subsequent design of 1881. This opened in 1882 as the Baring Hall Hotel, although it was also referred to as the Grove Park Hotel and the Inn at Grove Park. The published plans for the hotel produced by Newton (Building News, 1882) show a ground-floor arrangement with four distinct public rooms and a kitchen with five hotel bedrooms set above on the first floor. In addition to the usual public house provisions, it also had a 'spacious coffee room' in which regular 'smoking concerts' were held in the late 1880s, as was reported in the South London Press in January 1889. Offering spacious rooms for non-alcoholic refreshments, respectable entertainment and serving meals were novel developments for a public house of this period. In addition, the restrained architectural approach presented a clear contrast to the contemporary trends in pub architecture for extravagant design schemes. These notable diversions from the standard public house form of the period and the intention to appeal to ‘respectable’ middle-class custom have led to the Baring Hall Hotel, along with a small number of other pioneering examples, to be credited as early precursors to the influential ‘improved pub movement’, which took hold and transformed pub design and management after 1918.
As an ‘artistic suburb’ Grove Park consciously followed the model of the widely-publicised development at Bedford Park, Turnham Green. Along with its suburban west London counterpart, Grove Park was influenced by the aesthetic movement and the fashion for Queen Anne style designs and sought to appeal to middle-class Londoners of discerning taste. The influence of Bedford Park is most evident in the Baring Hall Hotel and the adjacent group of shops to the south side of Downham Way, also designed by Newton, which stylistically and formally reflect Richard Norman Shaw’s Tabard Inn (1880) and its adjacent gable-fronted shops (all listed Grade II*; National Heritage List for England 1079594). Several other aesthetic suburban estates were built in the following decade but Grove Park was, as Mark Girouard has noted, ‘the prettiest and most accomplished of the estates built under the influence of Bedford Park in the 1880s’ (Sweetness and Light, 1977). Despite its early, fashionable status, Grove Park declined in prestige in the late C19 and early C20. As the suburb grew, large plots were subdivided and the original substantial villas were all lost to redevelopment.
The work at Grove Park was important in establishing Newton’s architectural reputation. In the immediate years that followed, he along with several contemporaries who had worked under Norman Shaw founded the St George’s Arts Society, which in 1884 became the Art Workers’ Guild; influential proponents of the Arts & Crafts movement. His work designing privately-commissioned houses in the emerging suburbs to the south of London led to high-profile country home commissions across England. Over the course of his career his work spanned the Queen Anne style, designs in the Arts and Crafts tradition and later, into the C20, several significant neo-Georgian buildings. Newton’s position as a leading architect of the period was recognised through his appointment as a Royal Academician in 1919 and being awarded the Royal Gold Medal in 1918 by the Royal Institute of British Architects, where he served as president from 1914 until 1919.
The Baring Hall Hotel has been subject to some changes since the 1880s. Newton’s published plans (Building News, 1882) show a ground-floor arrangement with four distinct public rooms arranged around a central entrance hall. The accompanying illustration shows the ‘inn’ set within a garden with a private drive. This also shows one central entrance occupying the Baring Road elevation, with only a single window at ground-floor level on the side (south) elevation; the accuracy of this aspect of the drawing is corroborated by a photograph looking north along Baring Road, probably taken in the 1890s. By 1897, the Ordnance Survey map shows that a rear block (probably originally functioning as a billiard room) had been added and it would appear that the interior was remodelled at this time (the remaining fixtures including the counter, bar back shelving, dado panelling and a portion of a cast-iron, glazed screen are all consistent with a late C19 date). The 1890s arrangement followed the basic room division of Newton’s published plans, although the servery was moved to a central position and the entrance hall converted to extend the bar room to the south. At a later stage (after 1925, on the basis of plans of this date) the distinct rooms were opened-out to allow internal circulation and some of the 1890s bar fittings were repositioned to extend the entire length of the bar room fronting onto Downham Way (with the Baring Road bar counter correspondingly shortened). The 1925 work added a toilet block to the west side of the billiards room and a narrow, single-storey extension was subsequently added to the north elevation on the Baring Road side. In 2009, the interior was damaged by a fire, the scorch marks and smoke blackening having been preserved as a feature of the reopened pub. In 2017, a small portion of the mid-C20 side extension (north) was removed (pending further planned work).
Public house and stabling block, 1881-1882, built to the designs of Ernest Newton, with some remodelling later in the C19 and C20.
MATERIALS: red brick with applied render, cast-iron railings and plain tile roof.
PLAN: central servery with four separate bar areas all with openings to allow circulation. Connected to the west side of the L-Shaped original building is a single-storey block (probably originally a billiard room, added by 1897), this has a toilet block (added 1925) built against its west end with a connecting lobby area. Kitchens and storage areas occupy most of the northern side of the building on the ground floor. Domestic accommodation and hotel rooms are arranged over the two upper floors. A stabling block and yard is set to the rear (north side), accessed via Baring Road and a car parking area is set to the west, on Downham Way.
EXTERIOR: restrained but varied composition bearing the influence of Norman Shaw’s domestic work of the 1870s, as was characteristic of Newton’s earliest designs. The design is composed of two storeys with an attic level set under a hipped roof with gabled dormers, tall ridge stacks and a moulded eaves cornice. The principal frontage is to the east, fronting onto Baring Road. This has a shallow first-floor terrace with an ornate cast-iron balustrade above the arched entrance doorway and the three windows to its left. This appears in the original drawings to have been a projecting balcony, but was either under-built as part of an early secondary phase (this being shown in photographs of around 1895) or was a modification made during the original construction process. To the right of the entrance is a projecting gable bay, rendered between the windows, which rises through to the attic level. Both street-facing elevations are rendered with channelled rustication beneath sill level, principally with windows with round-headed lights at street level, multi-paned sashes set under cambered brick heads to the first floor and casements to the gabled dormers above. The side (north) elevation has a narrow, single-storey extension, which was subsequently added to the side (north) elevation, which has now (2018) been partially removed.
To the Downham Way elevation, there is a side entrance with an open-pedimented doorcase set on brackets, this apparently created along with the flanking windows in the 1890s. Two further arched windows and a dormer at attic level feature above. Further west along Downham Way is a rendered brick single-storey annexe, added by 1897. This continues the rendered channelled rustication beneath the windows. Five windows are positioned to the east side, the one closest to the main range (the easternmost opening) being wider and distinguished by its arched head; this presumably originally serving as a separate entrance to this section. The west end of the range incorporates a part-rendered brick toilet block of 1925 and a further subsequent addition of a matching form, this with high-level windows and a blocked doorway to the street.
A gabled, red-brick stabling block belonging to the original phase is set to the rear of the pub (north-west side), accessed via a gated passage on the north side of the building from Baring Road. This is currently in a poor state with some brickwork failing and the roof structure partially collapsed (only externally inspected).
INTERIOR: at ground-floor level the three bar rooms of the original portion of the building are arranged around the central servery. This arrangement appears to have been introduced in the 1890s as a modification to Newton’s original plan as part of the enlargement of the building and some of the fittings date from this secondary phase, although the arrangement was subsequently revised after 1925 to elongate the bar counter along Downham Way and shorten that along Baring Road (reusing the 1890s fittings). Notable remaining elements of the 1890s work include the tapered bar counter which has tongue-and-groove panels set between thin fluted pilasters, the bar back shelving with some remaining inset mirror panels and carved brackets, and tongue-and-groove dado panelling and a portion of an iron-framed and glazed screen to the southern Downham Way room. C19 floorboards are retained in all bar rooms. The full-height fielded panelling in the northern bar room fronting onto Baring Road is of a later C20 date. Throughout the ground floor a series of openings have been introduced between the bar rooms to allow internal circulation. Separated from the public rooms are a storeroom and office area (set behind the servery) and a kitchen, which is positioned behind the single-storey hall (north side), neither of which were inspected.
To the west, extending along Downham Way is what was probably originally a billiards room, added by 1897, the hall now serving as a dining and function area. This has an original slatted-timber ceiling with a central, hipped roof light and sections of tongue-and-groove, dado-level panelling to the north and east walls. An opening on the north side has been made which gives access to the kitchens, via a hatch and service doors. Part of the west side of the hall has been screened off with a part-glazed partition giving access to a private staff area (not inspected). A toilet block (added 1925) is accessed via a plain hallway to the west.
The ground-floor bar rooms on the south side of the building and the servery retain the scorch marks and smoke blackening of the fire damage caused in 2009. The ceiling in the bar room has been patched and the glazed partition at the western end of the former billiard room, which divides it from the staff area, has also been replaced . The upper rooms were not inspected internally.
Books and journals
Brodie, A, Directory of British Architects, 1834-1914: Vol. 2, (2001), 257-8
Girouard, M, Sweetness And Light, the Queen Anne Movement 1860 -1900, (1977 ), 125-6
Girouard, M, Victorian Pubs, (1984), 206-12, 219-24
'Grove Park Inn' in Building News, (February 1882), .
'House and Shops at Grove Park' in Building News, (November 1883), .
Grove Park Neighbourhood Forum: Introduction to Grove Park (Chapter I), accessed 27 April 2018 from https://groveparkneighbourhoodforum.com/publications/
Kentish Mercury, 10 April 1867, page 7
Kentish Mercury, 11 September 1875, page 4
Kentish Mercury, 4 October 1879, page 5
Kentish Mercury, 5 July 1879, page 2
South London Press 26 January 1889, page 14
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