Denmark Arms

381 Barking Road
East Ham
E6 1LA

This pub is not only a grade II listed building but it is also on the Campaign for Real Ale’s (CAMRA) London Regional Inventory of Pub Interiors of Special Historic Interest and the description is as follows: “A pub built in two parts – a late 19th-century building on the corner by Fredk Ashton and a major extension of 1903 along High Street North. What makes this pub is special is the upper floor – ring ahead to arrange a visit at a quiet time – where the former billiard room has a stunning skylight, a screened servery, and walls lines with mirrors etc. Downstairs what was the at least a separate public bar and saloon (note the wrought iron ‘Saloon’ above the entrance on High Street North) Above this entrance is a shield with ‘The Denmark Arms’ in stone relief with carved figures either side. The large almost an island bar counter looks to be from the inter-war period with its red melamine top and sitting on a plinth. The bar back, which faces three directions, looks a mixture of inter-war work and part modern with the middle section lost to tall fridges. There is a good corner vestibule with etched and frosted glass panels at the top. On the left of the room is the staircase from the street to the first floor and on this encased area is a wide decorative frieze with tendrils swirling round stylised rosettes – recently painted cream (previously red). This frieze continues down the left hand wall and the dado here has plain green tiles and some with statuesque rose bushes in relief. Between the tiles and frieze is a mottled alabaster band. A widish gap leads to the rear area – the former saloon in the newer part of the pub. Here the ceiling is divided into bold panels with deep cornices and a high-level frieze featuring caryatids. The columns in the two areas are also different – thin Corinthian ones in the older area, chunky Ionic ones in the newer. There are two marble surround fireplaces with modern tiled interiors and tall mantelpieces with plain mirrors. Upstairs is now used as a function room. Originally it was two rooms – the front part a restaurant with its entrance from Barking Road and also a function room (originally a billiard room) with its own separate entrance on High Street North above which is a sign in stone relief “Denmark Arms Hotel Luncheons & Lounge”. The front section upstairs has on the right 5 and on the left 4 large mirrors above a mahogany dado and surround with (rosebud?) decoration between them. A folding partition can separate the two parts. At the rear is the impressive former billiard room with an elaborate ceiling topped with a skylight having painted glass panels. There are more of the large mirrors above a dado on three sides. On the right hand side is a (disused) screened servery which looks like it was an inter-war addition – all the glass panels remain including the ones that can be raised. History over the road: East Ham’s (now Newham’s) stunning town hall was built 1901-3 to designs by Cheers & Smith and is particularly notable for its facing of glazed red Accrington bricks.”

The listing description is as follows: “Public House. C. 1890, extended to south c. 1900. Gault and red brick with sandstone window surrounds and dressings and terracotta plaques; concrete corrugated roof tiles. EXTERIOR: 2 storeys and dormer attic; 6-window range. Earlier wing to north also 2 storeys and dormer attic. 4 bay ground-floor public house front consists of 2 tripartite leaded windows separated by pilasters below a deep cornice of artificial stone. Arched doorway under segmental pediment with achievement and second door in canted corner bay under segmental head and cornice of artificial stone. First floor of brick banded with artificial stone. 3 2-light transomed windows under alternating triangular and segmental pediments with carving. Canted bay window to right through 2 storeys pierced by single-light casements, arranged as a frieze of 5 in attic storey. Tall gabled dormer to left of elevation with 3-light mullioned window. Canted bay with artificial stone plaque bearing name of premises. Stacks on north and south wall planes. Later build of 6 window bays east and south, with a canted corner bay to the south-east terminating in a domed attic cupola. Each elevation identical: 4 Composite pilasters to ground floor frame arched windows with leaded glazing. Arched entrance doors to ends of elevations and a principal entrance in south-east corner. Central 3 window bays project and the first floor divided by sandstone pilasters. One- and 2-light casements. Frieze of terracotta relief panels set in cornice. Attic consists of a central gabled dormer with 2 single-light arched 1/1 horned sashes and a small round-headed dormer towards ends of elevation fitted with one 1/1 horned sash. Reduced ridge stack. Late C20 pentice dormer. INTERIOR: north bar with open plan. 2 Ionic columns support heavy modillion cornices dividing ceiling into 6 rectangular compartments. Walls with dado rail and deep plaster cornice decorated with putto supporting achievements. Pedimented doorcases to toilets at north end separated by marble chimneypiece with a mirror as overmantel. Similar chimneypiece in south wall at east end. Further pedimented doorcase to exterior to right. Bar counter altered 1970s. South bar designed as public bar and less elaborate. 2 thin Corinthian columns rise to plain cornices dividing ceiling into 6 rectangular compartments. Bar counter altered 1970s but west side retains original Ionic columns. Walls with heavy lincrusta frieze. Main doorways with engraved glass.”

This pub is the official lunch stop but there are plenty of other places in East Ham to eat at a reasonable price if you prefer.

The WhatPub link is here: WhatPub/Denmark Arms

The Pub Heritage Group link is here: PHG/Denmark Arms

The Denmark Arms featured on the Daytime Crawl of SW Essex and E London on 24 June 2006, and the Eastern Delights: Daytime Crawl of East Ham, Plaistow, Isle of Dogs and Limehouse on 26 October 2019.