London Pubs Group

Campaign for Real Ale

Campaign for Real Ale


34 Sekforde Street

Unlike the other pubs on this crawl, this pub is a grade II listed building and the listing description is as follows: “Public house. 1829-31 with early C20 ground-floor pub frontage. Brown brick set in Flemish bond, stucco, and tiles to pub frontage, roof obscured by parapet. Three storeys above basement, two-window range to semi-circular bay to corner, three-window range to Sekforde Street. Ground floor has early C20 pub frontage of buff and dark brown tilework; upper storeys to Sekforde Street and bay stuccoed with flat-arched windows, those to first floor set back under round arches linked by springing bands; string below parapet. INTERIOR: retains panelled dado possibly of early C19 date to back room from which rises early C19 staircase with open string, stick balusters and acorn finial to newel post; panelled dado to staircase and early-to-mid-C19 fireplace in upstairs front room. (Historians' file, English Heritage London Division).”

The pub was established in 1829 and rebuilt in 1835. It was extended in 1989. It was owned by Hoare & Co, then from 1933 Charrington, from 1967 Bass Charrington, by the early 1980s it was a free house, then from 1988 Young, as part of their Ram Pub Co leased estate, until they relinquished the property in January 2014. It closed in July 2015 for refurbishment. Thomas Sekforde was an Elizabethan MP, lawyer and publisher who lived locally after retirement.

The pub’s refurbishment was highly commended in the CAMRA 2018 Pub Design Awards which were announced on 23 May 2019. CAMRA’s press release said “The pub, which has been in operation since 1829, remained open without a break for 176 years until it was temporarily closed for a much-needed re-development, repairs and restorations in 2015. Architects Chris Dyson and Associated worked with the Magnificent Basement Company Ltd to carry out the redevelopment work to restore the pub to its former glory - capturing all the charm of a late Georgian Pub whilst offering the very best in modern facilities. The Sekforde stands at the confluence of two historic and unspoilt early 19th century streets in the heart of Clerkenwell London. The historic building has been tied to a beautiful new extension by a striking glass atrium and the artist Anthony Eyton RA has crafted a beautiful quadriptych which hangs on the far wall of the atrium.”

The Pub Design Awards Judges’ report said “The refurbishment has transformed this handsome late Georgian building inside and out, returning it to restrained elegance and respecting its early nineteenth-century origins. The bar downstairs is refreshingly uncluttered, with plain wooden panelling and bare floorboards. Unlike many pubs where keg fonts dominate bar counters, the keg dispensers at the Sekforde are confined to the ends of the counter. A charming mural depicting Sekforde Almshouses of 1587 in Woodbridge, Suffolk, dominates the wall at one end of the room and ground source heating and cooling means that the pub uses roughly 15% of the energy of a conventional pub of its size. All in all the pub has been refurbished in a very sensitive way.”

Owner David Lonsdale said: "We are delighted by this award which recognises the restored beauty of the Sekforde. It is especially pleasing to receive it from CAMRA, which has done so much to defend the wonderful tradition of pubs in this country. Of course, what really makes a pub is its staff, customers and beer. We have the very best of all three!"

The Sekforde features on the A Hoare-ing We Shall Go: Evening Crawl of Hoare & Co Pubs on 21 August 2019.

The WhatPub link is here: WhatPub/Sekforde