Shipwrights Arms

88 Tooley Street
London Bridge
SE1 2TF

Unlike the Anchor, Rose & Crown and the Kings Arms, this pub is not only a grade II listed building but it is also recognized by the Campaign for Real Ales (CAMRA) as having an historic interior of Some Regional Importance and the description is as follows: “Three-storey pub of brick built in 1884 with a ground-floor wooden exterior of late C19 or early C20. Note on the exterior a number of stone carvings picked out in cream on a deep blue background and in particular the crouching Caryatid with outstretched arms above the right hand corner doors.

The left hand doors originally led to a vestibule entrance lobby and on the left hand wall is a splendid painted tiled panel of around 1900 showing shipwrights (arms and all) at work beside a choppy River Thames. A steam tug tows barges down the river. The painting is signed by Charles Evans & Co., a west London firm of tile and stained glass manufacturers.

The interior consists of a central island bar, originally this would have been surrounded by at least three separate compartments (the multiple outside doors would each have given access to a separate drinking space.) but the partitions having been removed many years ago. Markings on the floor on the right show where one partition was situated; also, there is a change in the bar top on the rear left indicating where another one might have been situated.

The counter front looks inter-war with the rear section being a fielded panelled style whereas that on the front is upright panels but is also of a canted style. The island gantry-style back fitting is wholly modern. In a disused passage, now part of the route to the gents (now downstairs) has a colourful tiled dado and a tall door with inter-war frosted glass in a floor to ceiling screen.

the listing description is as follows: "Mid to late C19, with ground-floor of late C19 or early C20. Stucco and brick in English bond. Roof parapeted. Unusual plan follows curved corner site, with 3-window range to Bermondsey Street, rebated corner range with full-height segmental bay, and 5-window range to return. EXTERIOR: 3 storeys over basement. Round-arched entrance at corner, flanked by colonnettes in rebated jambs; garland to arch. To either side, as well as to party walls a rusticated pier of Ionic order, topped by pedimented and garlanded bracket; thin Ionic colonnettes define glazed ground-floor bays; plain entablature band sign fascia. The most striking feature of the building, apart from its unusual plan, is the crouching Caryatid with outstretched arms beneath the corner segmental bay. Giant pilasters flanking corner range repeated on party wall and return. All upper-floor windows are flat-arched, those to the 1st-floor with eared and shouldered architraves, entablature with fretted frieze, topped by alternating segmental and triangular pediments; corner windows on both floors are tripartite as are centre windows on main elevation and 2nd bay of return. Springing band to 1st floor. Keyed lintels and projecting sills on brackets to 2nd floor. Plain entablature band stepping out over giant pilasters; projecting cornice. Secondary entrances at left party wall and on return. INTERIOR: not inspected."

The Shipwrights Arms features on the Evening Tour of Former Courage Pubs in Southwark, Borough and Bermondsey .

The WhatPub link is here: WhatPub/Shipwrights Arms

The Pub Heritage Group link is here: WhatPub/Shipwrights Arms