Salisbury

90 St Martin’s Lane,
WC2N 4AP

Not only is this pub a grade II listed building but it is also one of CAMRA’s Real Heritage Pubs (ie on CAMRA’s National Inventory of Pub Interiors of Outstanding Historic Interest) where the description is as follows: “This is one of the very best pubs in central London to appreciate the glitz and glamour of the late-Victorian great pub boom. It’s in a tall red-brick building on a corner site in the heart of Theatreland and is often very busy (but has a good variety of real ales). It opened in 1898 and takes its name from the Marquess of Salisbury who was three times Prime Minister from 1885 to 1901. His family once owned the freehold on the property. The ‘SS’ in the lavish window glass stands for the original name ‘Salisbury Stores’, ‘stores’ being a not uncommon tag in pub names at the time. The fine glasswork continues within the pub, especially in the serving area. There is also a good sense of how pubs around 1900 were divided up – see the various entrance doorways and a surviving glazed screen creating a small snug down the St Martin’s Court side. Other features to note are an original island bar counter (partly with a white marble top), and what are always said to be original bronze lampholder-statuettes of girls out hunting with a dog and a quiverful of arrows: these sit on top of the divisions between the seats on the main bar. In contrast to the glorious Victorian glass it is a sad fact that the modern etched work in the main bar and rear room is cheap and very nasty.

History over the road: The mighty 2,358-seater Coliseum theatre, home to English National Opera, was designed by the great theatre architect, Frank Matcham for entrepreneur Sir Oswald Stoll and opened in 1904.”

The listing description is as follows: “Block of flats and chambers with public house incorporated. c. 1899. Red brick and terracotta dressings, slate roof. 5 storeys and dormered mansard. 9 windows wide. Central entrance to flats. Mullioned-transomed casement windows. Listed for the Salisbury public house in the ground floor of the northern half of the block with a return to St. Martin's Court. Large semicircular arched bar windows to each front with a rounded corner entrance and a doorway with fanlight to St. Martin's Lane; the windows with frosted and cut glass in decorated wood frames and similar engraved patterned glass to doors. The interior sustains this rich decoration with long, curved-ended, mahogany, panelled bar and decorative shelving; mirror lined wall opposite with cut glass ornament and serptentine bench-seating below,creating niched bays, the mahogany dividers surmounted by Art Nouveau candelabra in copper taking the form of sinuous draped female figures holding aloft bouquets of 'flowers' containing the light bulbs; lincrusta ceiling and decorative cast iron columns. Good fin de siecle ensemble.”

The Salisbury featured on the Evening Crawl of Whitehall in August 2002, the Evening Crawl of Soho in December 2004, and the Oranges Are Not The only Fruit - Have a Banana: Evening Crawl of The Strand and Covent Garden in April 2010.