553 High Road
A vast edifice some way out of the centre on the main road east out of Ilford. It dates from the great pub boom around 1900 and still has the vestiges of a truly wonderful interior. The imposing frontage is more or less symmetrical and, stylistically, is a revival of architecture from around 1600.
The interior has been largely opened out but immediately by the main entrance is a screen with a wide round arch in a timber and glass surround which provides some kind of subdivision in the front part of the pub.
The servery is large and takes care of all parts of the pub. In the middle it has an ornate stillion stretching right up to the high, decorated ceiling and incorporates a built-in clock and a lovely small, glazed-in office. The counter curves round in an L-shape at the back and carries a couple of brass water dispensers for diluting spirits. The stillion and right-hand side wall of the rear area have splendid etched and polished glass while one of two skylights survives at the rear (though now with horrid modern glass and boarded over above).
A couple of features that might trick the unwary - the little drinking alcoves on the left have been created out of a former corridor and the bell-pushes at the rear (and indicator box in the stillion) probably date from the 1960-80 period.
The Regional Inventory descriptions in these notes are extracts from the following book
London Heritage Pubs: An Inside Story
The Cauliflower featured on the Daytime Crawl of Woodford Green, Barkingside, Ilford and Barking in June 2008, and the Barking up the Becontree: Daytime Crawl of Ilford, Goodmayes, Becontree and Barking in October 2012.