Rochester Castle

143-5 Stoke Newington High Street, Stoke Newington,
N16 0NY.

This impressive Victorian pub is a grade II listed building and the listing description is as follows: “1892-93 by Messrs Crickmay and Sons, architects. EXTERIOR: three storeys plus attic. Ground floor with a projecting central bay set between Doric columns of red granite; glazing renewed. Flanking side pilasters also of red granite. Doors (renewed) on either side, with mosaic decoration to thresholds spelling name of pub; tiled decoration on inner walls of entrances, with decorative moulded tiles (that on south wall with a panel showing a grape-cutting maiden). Fascia of grey granite. Projecting central shallow segmental bay rising up to an elaborate stepped gable; twelve-light mullioned windows to first and second floors; decorative cartouches at second floor level, with putti frolicking with garlands amid acanthus leaves with a central cartouche. Plainer side bays with tall windows to first floor within moulded, pediment-topped surrounds, and framed windows with aprons to second floor; windows are of plate glass, with moulded mullions to upper lights. Mansard with pediment-topped dormers. INTERIOR: The pub has lost its original partitions and the bar counter has been moved back against the north flank wall. The compartmented ceiling is carried on slender cast iron columns. The front part of the side walls retain glazed tiling with arabesque-enriched pilasters and mirrors: figurative panels depicting the Seasons, set within borders, remain in situ along the north wall. To the rear, a top-lit extension with a Jacobethan style frieze beneath the (renewed) lantern. Upper floors not inspected.

HISTORY: this is a characteristic and exuberantly decorated pub from the height of the 'Gin Palace' phase of pub building. Stylistically it looked to the early 17th century for inspiration. It has undergone considerable alteration, but remains a fine example of the type, with unusual tiled decoration. The architects, Messrs Crickmay and Sons, were specialists in the field. Permission to erect the pub, on behalf of a Mr Heaven, was sought from the London County Council in November 1892. SOURCE: LCC Minutes for 1892, applications under the Building Acts.”

The Rochester Castle featured on the Going South in the North: Daytime Crawl from Stoke Newington to Hoxton in August 2010.