London Pubs Group

Campaign for Real Ale

Campaign for Real Ale

Black Lion

Black Lion
274 Kilburn High Rd

This pub is not only a grade II* listed building, it is also on CAMRA’s National Inventory of Pub Interiors of Outstanding Historic Interest and the description is as follows: “An imposing corner-site pub built in 1898 to designs by architect, R A Lewcock. It has a spacious, light interior enriched with some particularly spectacular and appealing decoration. Pride of place goes to the series of four copper relief panels by designer F. A. Callcott depicting eighteenth-century ladies and gents at leisure at the supposed antecedent of the present pub. They are variously pictured enjoying a game of bowls, drinking and smoking, watching the inn sign being painted, and taking the waters at Kilburn Wells, the spa that lay nearby to the south. There is a deep and superbly ornate Florentine frieze in both main rooms and also a richly decorated ceiling. When built the main space would have been much more subdivided than it is now but there is still one screen surviving: it was moved to its present position during a major refurbishment in 2003, before which it was at right-angles to the main road. Long, panelled bar counter and original bar-back. Fine etched windows on the side elevation but mostly sadly removed from the front. The large room on the right (now a restaurant) was originally a music room.

History in the area: Kilburn used to be a minor spa. The actual site of the spa, south of the Black Lion, was where 42 Kilburn High Rad now stands – as a plaque records.” The listing description is as follows: “Public house. c1898. By RA Lewcock; interior carved panels by FT Callcott. Red brick with stone dressings. Pink & grey granite public house frontage. Slated roof. Flemish Gothic style. Rectangular plan on corner site.

EXTERIOR: 3 storeys and single storey extension to right. 4 windows, bowed window angle and 4 window left hand return. Arcaded ground floor with pilasters and panelled, part-glazed double doors to main road and at angle. Etched glass to windows and doors. Upper floors with brick pilasters rising to support an entablature with projecting cornice surmounted by an arcaded balustrade with cartouches and finials to the dies. Irregular transom and mullion fenestration with a bowed bay and canted bay to 1st floor; most with scrolled pediments. Left return with 2-light casements having glazing bars to upper light; 1st floor with scrolled pediments. Bowed windows to 1st and 2nd floor angle terminating in a lantern with ogee cupola and weathervane finial. Extension with wide 4-centred arch window and arcaded balustrade with modified scroll pediment having lion mask and plaque inscribed "The Black Lion rebuilt 1898".

INTERIOR: has original U-shaped bar serving 2 rooms divided by glass and wood screen; mirrored fixtures and fittings and fireplaces with mirrored overmantels. 2 main bars with deep, gilded Adam style plaster frieze, plasterwork ceiling with medallions and several gilded bas relief plaques on the walls by Callcott. Extension room lit by 3 lanterns each with deep Adam style frieze at base and similar wall frieze to bars.”

This pub’s ‘R’ category is ‘Restored’ because in July 2020, just after the pub had reopened following the first Covid lockdown, a pipe burst in one of the guest rooms on the upper floor and damaged the pub’s ornate ceiling. The ceiling has now been restored.

The Black Lion featured on the Daytime Crawl of NW London and Maida Vale in October 2006, the Kilburn and the High Roads: Daytime Crawl of Cricklewood, Brondesbury and Kilburn in October 2014, the Revivals and Survivals: Daytime Crawl of Willesden Green, Cricklewood, Brondesbury, Kilburn and St John's Wood in February 2019, and features on the The Three Rs - Rebuilt, Revived and Restored: Evening Tour of Kilburn and Hampstead in December 20121.

The WhatPub link is here: WhatPub/Black Lion

The Pub Heritage Group link is here: PHG/Black Lion