Daylight Inn

Station Square
Petts Wood

This pub is not only a grade II listed building, it is also recognised by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) as having an historic pub interior of some regional interest and the description is as follows: “Development of Petts Wood started in the 1920s and the pub probably dates from that time. The exterior has black and white half timbering on the upper storey, and red brick on the lower, with wonderful chimney stacks. The pub appears to have made into one large room at some time as there are three distinct ceiling styles. The first is plaster with moulded plaster cornices decorated with birds and vines and unusual embossed plaster representations of flowers such as thistles and lilies and a Charrington Toby symbol adorning the walls below the cornices. The second has a wooden beamed ceiling, the third plaster panels. Inside there is fielded wooden wall panelling and leaded windows. The fireplaces are of red brick, some with twisted brick columns. The servery has a half-timbered canopy which looks more modern but the bar-back has more convincing Tudor-arched detail. Part of the bar counter has also been replaced with the same half timbered panelling as the canopy. Note also the charming plaster panels in the main room depicting fairies frolicking among trees and various birds and animals, including a frog. Double wooden doors at the right hand end of the L shaped bar lead to a magnificent function room with a fine barrel roof. This room also contains a small corner bar. At quiet times it is possible to arrange a visit to the function room but it is best to ring ahead. Outside there is a Charrington Toby ceramic plaque over one of the entrance doors. The pubs unusual name comes from local resident William Willett who campaigned for daylight saving time in the early part of the twentieth century. The Public Bar and Smoke Room on the left were combined in the 1980s – the Snug bar on the right still remains as a separate room linked by two doorways to the left hand bar. In 1980s when the bar and smoke room were combined new bar fittings were installed in all rooms – this is confirmed by looking at the servery in the Function Room (which is obviously a later addition after part of the Function Room was lost to form a kitchen) - it is identical to all the others. The bar back fitting with carved leaf feature in the top left and right corners of each bay looks very similar to the original style in the top of doorways but is different. The bar counter front does look to be of a style suitable for 1935 (or 1950s) but if you look at the ladies and gents doors and run your hand over the panelling it has a smooth finish whereas that on the counter front and on some wall panelling (& the disabled toilet door) have a notable rougher finish.”

The listing description is as follows: “Summary of Building: An improved public house in Neo-Tudor style by Sidney C Clark for Charrington's Brewery, opened in December 1935. Refurbished and partly extended in 1996.

Reasons for Designation: The Daylight Inn, a 1935 improved public house designed in Neo-Tudor style by Sidney C Clark, the chief architect of Charrington's Brewery, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Architectural interest: an impressive example of a Neo-Tudor style public house in good quality materials including structural timber-framing and brickwork. It was one of the largest public houses designed by the architect; * Interiors: the pub retains a number of good quality fittings include exposed oak beams, panelling and staircases, brick fireplaces, some with twisted columns, and plastered ceiling features including plastered ribs, ceiling motifs and gable to the former ballroom, and ceiling motifs to the crush hall and former lounge bar. The high relief plastered wall panels in the former public and saloon bars are particularly good and unusual; * Exemplar of an improved suburban pub: features showing the influence of reform include the provision of four separate bars, the large ballroom/assembly room with separate crush hall/entrance and the provision of guest accommodation on the upper floor; * Degree of survival: the exterior is little altered and the grounds and car park with boundary wall survive. Although there have been some internal alterations most of the original fittings survive and certain key spaces, such as the ballroom, retain their original scale; * Rarity of survival: despite Clark's prolific output for Charrington's Brewery a study of all Clark's known major works for Historic England's Inter-War Pubs project has shown that so many had been entirely demolished or altered that only two survived well including The Daylight Inn, one of the largest pubs that Clark designed.

History: Inter-war ‘improved’ or ‘reformed’ pubs stemmed from a desire to cut back on the amount of drunkenness associated with conventional Victorian and Edwardian public houses. Licensing magistrates and breweries combined to improve the facilities and reputation of the building type. Improved pubs were generally more spacious than their predecessors, often with restaurant facilities, function rooms and gardens, and consciously appealed to families and to a mix of incomes and classes. Central, island serveries with counters opening onto several bar areas allowed the monitoring of customers and also the efficient distribution of staff to whichever area needed service. Many, although not all, of the new pubs were built as an accompaniment to new suburban development around cities, and a policy of ‘fewer and better’ was followed by magistrates both in town and on the outskirts. A licence might be granted for a new establishment on surrender of one or more licences for smaller urban premises. Approximately 1,000 new pubs were built in the 1920s – the vast majority of them on ‘improved’ lines - and almost 2,000 in the period 1935-39. Neo-Tudor and Neo-Georgian were the favoured styles, although others began to appear at the end of the period. The suburb of Petts Wood, originally in Kent but now part of the London Borough of Bromley, was created by the estate developer Basil Scruby, and was influenced by the garden city movement. Following the construction of Petts Wood railway station in 1928 work began on the suburb to the east of the station and in the same year Scruby began negotiations with Charrington's Brewery to build a public house on the triangular island at the centre of Station Square. Initially a petition was signed by local residents opposing the project but the objections ceased when the brewery agreed to design the pub in the Tudor style to match other buildings in the new suburb. The architect was Sidney Charles Clark (1894-1962), chief architect at Charrington's between 1924-59. The building tender was £21,665 and the final cost was £31,401. The Daylight Inn opened in December 1935 occupying about half of the triangular island in Station Square. The name was chosen to honour William Willett (1856-1915) who led the campaign for daylight saving, first introduced in 1916. The building was originally both a public house and hotel with thirteen bedrooms. Although the original plans are not thought to have survived, a plan dated 12 July 1942 for a proposed 'rest centre shelter' shows the ground floor plan of the building at that time and there are also a number of historic photographs. In 1996 the building was re-worked following a takeover by Bass Taverns, designed by architects John Rogers Associates of Canterbury. The owners are currently (2015) Mitchells & Butlers.

Details: An improved public house in Neo-Tudor style by Sidney C Clark for Charrington's Brewery, opened in December 1935. Refurbished and partly extended in 1996. The 1996 extension and alterations are not of special interest.

MATERIALS: ground floor of red brick in English bond, the upper floor timber-framed with plastered infill, mainly leaded light windows, pitched tiled roofs and clustered brick chimneystacks.

PLAN: a roughly rectangular detached building of two storeys attics and cellar, aligned north-west to south-east. It originally consisted of a north-east range with public bar and private bar to the south-east of the hotel entrance, a north-west range comprising a saloon bar, lounge and crush hall and a longer south-west range of five bays comprising a tall single storey ballroom with stage. Subsequently partitions were removed between the bars, the hotel entrance and staircase were removed, the stage was removed from the ballroom and a 1990s extension in matching style was added along part of the north-east side.

EXTERIOR: the principal front faces north-east on to Station Square and is asymmetrical with a projecting gable to the north-east and a large recessed section to the south-east. The north-east gable has a carved pendant and timber-framed upper floors with vertical studs, curved and ogee braces and a band of quatrefoils. The recessed southern section is of three bays with hipped dormers to the attics, three casement windows to the first floor and a narrow stained glass window above the former hotel entrance. The brick ground floor has a blocked hotel entrance converted into a window and further windows replaced in the later C20; also a late C20 single storey timber-framed extension with verandah in a matching style with two gables. The north-west front is symmetrical of four bays, with two hipped dormers above the two central first floor casement windows, above a hipped porch between mullioned and transomed windows on the ground floor. Adjoining are two full-height hipped gables with pendants, with five-light casements to the first floor and casement windows and a door to the right hand gable. The south-west side has a timber-framed end gable and swept down roof over the former ballroom with two eyebrow dormers and a series of round-headed ground floor arches, one blocked. The south-east side has a timber-framed gable to the return of the principal front with ogee braces and two quatrefoils. The ground floor has a later C20 timber porch. The ballroom has a large timber gablet and round-headed arches to the brick ground floor.

INTERIOR: the public bar now also includes the former private bar and hotel staircase area. It has an oak modillion cornice and the corner of the original public bar has almost full-height grooved oak panelling with four relief plastered panels above it depicting trees, fairies and woodland animals. These plastered panels are probably reset from the saloon bar, judging by a photograph in 'Architecture Illustrated' of December 1940. The bar counter has grooved boards and a fascia with curved braces and is probably a more recent creation incorporating older material. There is a fireplace with wooden pilasters. The saloon bar has a brick baronial style chimneystack with twisted brick columns and two plastered panels of similar character to those in the public bar but with two cherubs instead of fairies. The former lounge has an identical brick fireplace to the saloon bar and the timber-framed walls and ceiling have plastered shields, portcullises and Tudor roses and a similar bar front to the public bar, also likely to be a more recent creation incorporating older work. The former crush hall has a plastered ceiling roundel, plastered cornices with grapes and vine leaf motifs, plastered wall motifs, almost full-height wall panelling, and side staircases with oak balustrades. The former ballroom is barrel-vaulted, of five-bays with plastered ribs, some diamond-shaped ceiling motifs, two circular ventilation grilles and elaborate Ionic pilasters. A plain half-winder oak staircase behind the public bar servery leads to the upper floors.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURE: the boundaries of the site are marked by c1935 low brick walls interspersed with masonry blocks and stone capping, with piers at regular intervals.

Selected Sources: Books and journals: Peter, Waymark, A History of Petts Wood, ((Millennium edition, Petts Wood) 2000,), pp. 64-65

Other: Architecture Illustrated, August 1941 (advertisement) Architecture Illustrated, December 1940, pp.187-188 Cole, Emily Dr. 'The Urban and Suburban Public House in Inter-War England, 1918-1939' Volume Two. 2015 pp. 264-277 The Brick Builder, September 1939, pp. 30-32 The Times, 10 October 1936, p.9 and p.16”

The Daylight Inn featured on the Sunny Daze: Daytime Crawl of Petts Wood, Bromley, Catford and Forest Hill on 23 June 2012, and the Sunny Daze: Daytime Crawl of Petts Wood, Bromley, Sundridge Park and Grove Park on 23 June 2018.

The WhatPub link is here: WhatPub/Daylight Inn

The Pub Heritage Group link is here: PHG/Daylight Inn