Washington

50 Englands Lane
Belsize Park
NW3 4UE

This pub is not only a grade II listed building but it is also on the Campaign for Real Ale’s (CAMRA) National Inventory of Pub Interiors of Outstanding Historic Interest and the description is as follows: “The Washington effortlessly combines a relaxed modern atmosphere for eating and drinking with historic surroundings and has varied real ales. It is a prominent corner-site pub built in about 1865 for a developer, Daniel Tidey. The dominant feature outside is the bold first-floor windows with their alternating segmented and triangular heads. The interior, although much pulled around in modern times, still retains a great deal of interesting Victorian work, probably from a refitting in around 1890. The building was a pub-cum-hotel and the lobby off Belsize Park Gardens has a floor mosaic proclaiming ‘Washington Hotel’ with the added temptation of ‘Billiards’ (ornamental door glass advertises ‘hotel lounge’ and ‘hotel bar’). The first American president’s bust appears in tiling above in a curious juxtaposition with some languid classical ladies. The name ‘W Holman’ here no doubt identifies the proprietor who redeveloped the place. There are lots of remnants of screenwork including three bays of a full-height timber and glass partition. At the back are a series of the kind of back-painted mirrors depicting flora and fauna (two large mirrors on left feature herons, followed by a square mirror depicting general flora, then five to the right featuring songbirds and flora of different types) which seem to have been popular with late-Victorian pub owners. But the most extraordinary thing at the Washington is the high screen set above and forward from one side of the servery which is placed in the middle of the pub, in the centre of which is what would undoubtedly have been a waiter's position and is now an opening for staff. It has glazing in its top parts and parts of the arcading survive.

History in the area: The area of Belsize Park is named after the former manor house and parkland developed in the 17th century for the Countess of Chesterfield. The present Belsize Park estate succumbed to bricks and mortar between 1852 and 1878.”

The listing description is as follows: “Public house on a corner site. c1865. Built by developer Daniel Tidey. Stucco, the ground floor channelled to appear as ashlar. 3 storeys and cellars. 3 windows to Englands Lane, canted corner with entrance and 5 windows to Belsize Park Gardens (2 in slightly projecting bay). Entrance has Corinthian columns supporting an entablature; part glazed double doors. Ground floor windows with vermiculated surrounds, most flanked by Corinthian columns supporting entablatures, the cornice of which continues above those without. 1st floor architraved sashes with keystones, console bracketed segmental pediments alternating with triangular pediments, and bracketed sills. 2nd floor sashes architraved with keystones. Projecting cornice and blocking course. Above the entrance, a painted portrait of George Washington in a pedimented aedicule. INTERIOR: c1890 with tiles, etched glass and mahogany fittings.”

The Washington featured on the North Stars: Evening Crawl of Belsize Park and Kentish Town on 25 April 2018.

The WhatPub link is here: WhatPub/Washington

The Pub Heritage Group link is here: PHG/Washington