Prince AlfredThe Prince Alfred
5a Formosa Street
Grade II listed
One of Britain's Real Heritage Pubs on CAMRA's National Inventory of Pub Interiors of Outstanding Historic Interest
Unique - that's the Prince Alfred. Outside it is nothing terribly exciting - a three-storey Italianate building in keeping with its surroundings - but inside it shows to perfection how late Victorian drinkers liked their pubs. The building is thought to have gone up about 1865 but was given a complete refit around 1898. From outside look carefully at the exposed ceiling on the ground floor and you can see how the timber and glass screenwork has been inserted, cutting across the patterned decoration. This screenwork is truly sumptuous including sweeping panels of curved, etched glass. Note the tiles and mosaic in the entrance areas.
The interior has the only peninsula-style servery to retain all its original surrounding drinking areas - no fewer than five of them, each with its own external entrance. They are separated by timber and glass screens, all of them with a low service door for the use of, say, pot boys and cleaners. The smallest compartment has a set of snob screens - swivelling glazed panels which gave posh patrons a sense of separation from the serving staff. In the middle of the servery is a wonderfully tall, carved fitment which is secured to the ceiling by scrolly ironwork. All this late Victorian work gives the pub a delicate rococo feel.
The pub underwent a refurbishment in 2001 to turn it into a dining pub which has sadly had the effect of giving open vistas into the kitchen - hence smells throughout the pub - and the restaurant area.
The Regional Inventory descriptions in these notes are extracts from the following book
London Heritage Pubs: An Inside Story
The Prince Alfred featured on the Evening Crawl of Maida Vale in May 2002, the Evening Crawl of Maida Vale and Bayswater in December 2005, the Daytime Crawl of NW London and Maida Vale in October 2006, the Viva Victorian: Evening Crawl of Maida Vale and Maida Hill in December 2012, and the Rural Rides: Daytime Crawl of Kensal Green, Maida Hill, Maida Vale and St John's Wood in February 2017.