LONDON, GREATER - London N6, Highgate, Winchester
An historic pub interior of national importance
206 Archway Road, London N6, N6 5BA
Tel: 020 8374 1690
Web site: www.winchester-hotel.com
Opening Hours: Open daily.
Draught Beer & Cider: Marston EPA, Pedigree; Jennings Cumberland; Wells Bombardier.
Public Transport: Tube: Highgate.
Pub Food: Meals.
Accomodation: Hotel accommodation.
Listed Status: Not listed
Built in 1881 as part of a very distinctive parade of shops with housing above, it was then the Winchester Tavern and later became the Winchester Hall Hotel, The name comes from Winchester Hall, a late 17th-century mansion nearby. This and its estate were sold as the relentless tide of bricks and mortar engulfed the area following on from the arrival of the railway in 1867. Inside, the great feature is a massive, glazed-in office surrounded on three sides by the servery. It is formed by floor to ceiling glazed partition with curved glass on the front corners and its windows have remarkably lovely, delicate etched glass with trails of foliage and depictions of flowers and birds. Decorative etched original glass remains on the doors on the left (which has 'Private' on it) and right. Note the lower bar back shelves around the office held up by slender pillars. There are more pillars all the way up to the top section of the office.
It must be by far the largest glazed-in Publicans Office in a pub out of only 12 (8 in London) in the whole of the UK that CAMRA is aware of. Other fine examples can be found in other of Britain's Real Heritage Pubs the Viaduct Tavern, Smithfield, London EC1; Peasant, Clerkenwell London WC1; Argyll Arms, Soho, London W1; Falcon, Battersea, London SW11; Kings Arms, Hanwell, London W7; and Feuars Arms, Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland. Also; other examples can be found at Joiners Arms, Camberwell, London SE5; Cauliflower, Ilford, East London; Peacock, Nottingham; Olde Castle, Doncaster, South Yorkshire; and Athletic Arms, Edinburgh, Scotland.
The large bar counter is original but now painted brown and has a number of doors for servicing beer engines in former times. About 40 years ago the counter was shortened to create more room for the customers. Look for the platform on the left hand side and that some of the lower shelving attached to the office screenwork on the left hand side is now exposed. One piece of counter front on the right hand side of the partition at the front is different to the rest of the counter - it looks more like 1930s fielded panelling? There is a good dado panelling also painted brown and on the rear right is an original wood surround fireplace where the glazed brick interior has been painted black.
Impressive vestibules around the corner and right hand side doors have two doors each so originally there were four partitioned rooms around the island bar counter. Most of these have been swept away but one screen survives (just at high level) with yet more lovely glazing. The high ceiling is held up by marble pillars. At the rear right, through an arch from the main bar, there is a room with a bare wood floor, an original dado panelling, an original wood surround fireplace covered by a piano and a diagonally boarded ceiling. Former function room upstairs has been converted into B & B rooms. Dont miss the wonderful ironwork over the two entrance porches with the wording 'Winchester Hall Hotel'.