Images: Alexander Christie
“The Lord Nelson was once magnificent – even now it retains some of the most spectacular mirrorwork in the country. Pride of place goes to a large painted and gilded mirror of the great admiral receiving the surrender after the battle of Cape Vincent in 1797 from some shifty, swarthy Spanish types. There are two more vast mirrors behind the servery but one is cracked and the other is largely covered up. The maker was a James Carter of Gray’s Inn Road and they date from around 1888. The details include grapes, kingfishers, vases of fruit and foliage trails.
There is also what is probably a unique feature in a pub – an impressive timber arcade striding across the servery with two bays sitting on top of the counter and a third spanning a walkway between two counters. The screen and bar-back have wonderful detail including coloured panels advertising all manner of drinks – champagne, finest old brandies, liqueurs, ports and sherries – the list goes on.
The serving area has an extraordinary shape and projects out into the main bar. This is because it serviced a whole variety of small compartments, reminders of which are preserved in the door glass (perhaps of the 1950s) which notes ‘public bar’ and ‘saloon bar’. At the rear is another room entered through an archway. It too has its own outside entrance with fine Victorian decorative glass (also proclaiming ‘saloon bar’). This room also has its own counter screen, like that in the main bar, which has a fine old clock over a doorway.”
It is thought that the pub dates back to the early 19th centenary and has been grade 2 listed since 1972.
The below film contains interviews with a number of Old Kent Road business owners including Pat the landlady of the Lord Nelson.
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