This was one part of Brixton’s history that proved very difficult to unravel, with very little evidence to be found of the grand pub that overlooked Coldharbour Lane for over a hundred years.
Despite trawling various online photo archives including the fabulous Lambeth Landmark site, all I could find was a tantalising glimpse of the pub sign and nothing else.
Maps as far back as 1864 show a pub standing on the corner of Coldharbour Lane and Loughborough Park (as Moorland Road used to be called before the Moorlands estate was built in the early 1980s).
Originally known as the Royal Veteran, the pub was located on the long-since-disappeared Zoar Place, a small street set back from Coldharbour Lane.
1878 view. Note Loughborough Park and Brixton railway station opposite the pub. This would later be renamed East Brixton and serve the area until 1976. See our feature on East Brixton station.
Both Sussex Road and Geneva Road would completely disappear under the 1980s housing scheme.
The pub was renamed as the Loughborough Park Tavern some time in the 1880s, and was rebuilt in 1899 as a substantial three-story building. I haven’t managed to find any photos of the original building.
The Tavern stood between a small row of shops, at 305 & 307 Coldharbour Lane SW9.
To the east was Blake’s bicycle shop at number 309 selling Raleigh ‘all steel’ bicycles, then R E Hobday’s free off-licence, a closed shop at 313, then a newsagent and another Blake’s bike shop.
To the east of the pub at number 301-303 was Barker Ltd., and then Loughborough Park (Moorlands Road). The whole strip of shops and the pub were pulled down in the late 1970s.
[Loughborough Park Tavern c1926]
I’m grateful to CH1 on the bulletin boards who located this drawing of the original architect plans:
Apparently the firm who produced the design for the rebuilt pub was Eedle and Meyers of 8 Railway Approach Southwark. They did several south London local pubs including the Dover Castle, Little Surrey Street and the Larkhall Tavern, in Clapham.
They were known for producing garish and well ornamented line drawings of proposals for potential customers – such as the one here. No doubt Lord Sugar would appreciate their chutzpah.
Information and picture from an old book on London Pubs (Girouard, Yale University Press 1984) – must have bought it in a sale at Index Book shop when it was in Atlantic Road where Argos is now.
c.1980 view showing what looks like the remains of the pub’s basement.
Nature is starting to grow back in this early 1980s view showing the site before construction of the Barrier Block had started. The pub would have stood to the right.
Modern view from Coldharbour Lane looking at where the pub used to stand, in front of the Barrier Block (Southwyck House).
Send us your memories!
For more information about the pub – and to perhaps add your own memories – please check out the discussion thread here. If you have any old photos or memorabilia of the pub, I’d love to see them, so please drop me a mail.
Note: the top watermarked image was taken in 1972 and comes from the Collage City of London archive website, while the other archive photos are from Lambeth Landmark.
Update Nov 2014: Cal contacted us to add:
Some time ago you wrote about the mystery of this pub. In doing some research about the Guinness Trust Buildings I came across some stuff you may be interested in.
The Royal Veteran was a pub as you thought it was. The Era newspaper of September 28th 1851 lists a transfer of licence of The Royal Veteran from Christopher Collis to Peter William Funnell.
Further research of Peter in news articles shows it was still called Royal Veteran in 1865 but in 1866 it was called Loughborough Park Tavern.
I also found photos of Christophers son William and his wife. William was listed as the publican there in the 1851 census, it was No 8 Zoar Place.
At that time his father Christopher was listed as Brewer at 177 Star Brewery, London Road. I saved all the clippings but cant attach any here. There’s one about an inquest held there in 1836 of a local carpenter. Some articles refer to it as Royal Veteran Beer Shop.
29 Comments on “The mystery of the Brixton Loughborough Park Tavern solved!”
hi i lived in geneva rd same side as this pub my dad use to drink there and every xmas the landlord use to put on a great party for all the kids the inside was the most fantastic decoration i had every seen brixton was a fantastic place to live born 1949 along with 8 brothers & 2 sisters how could anyone allow this pub and its streets along coldharbour lane be pulled down for a crime ridden estate to take its place i am presently writing a book about growing up in geneva rd and my days as a gutter rat in brixton market any stall holders remember me ? check out urban 75 see more pics of how the wealthy the people was in there big houses cheers to the loughbough pub
Anamonkey: the Moorlands Estate has its problems, but things are getting better and there are lots of lovely families and charming people living there!
dear editor re your reply my comments re the barrier block was not intended to offend i was refering to the early days of its occupation on a vist last year i was speaking to some local residents looking for present day living in brixton i was amazed how so many residents had no idea of life re living in geneve /sussex /somerleyton/rds one said they could only dream of living in a 4 storey house with basements own door with wine cellers gardens some 100 feet long i am sure you would agree that the streets could nay shoud have been saved from the bull dozers just walk up to hernhill smaller houses but with basements sell to day for around 1 million pounds i never did like jhon major i like him even less for what he did to brixton merry xmas to all the folks of brixton
Dear Editor,My uncle was Bill Blake the owner of blakes bikes 309 coldharbour lane brixton.i remember passing my eleven plus and being taken there by my grandparents to pick a bike i am 63 now but remember it well i wonder if anyone has any memories of him or photos
I am not sure if you will see this post as it is 5 years after your post of 2013. Following a recent trip to Brixton, I went on line to see what I could find in the way of history. To put this in context, My parents owned the newsagents (315) from 1953 to the compulsory purchase of the entire block in the 1970s. I grew up there, and remember your grandparents, Bill and Lilian, and your aunt Joan very well. I remember that they were kind people; on my very first Christmas in Brixton (age 5), I received a present from your grandparents and Joan of a beautiful doll, named Rosebud. I remember half day closing on a Wednesday, when Joan and Lilian often took a cab to central London to go shopping. I remember their garage on the corner of Sussex Road where my father would fill up his car. Their businesses in Brixton provided work for many. Fond memories. I hope this adds to your family picture.
I have just read your reply to my post.Thankyou for your kind words…. Happy memories.
Hey, my grandad used to live in the area in 1940 and I’m currently looking for a bike shop/builder who used to work in Loughborough junction called ‘standavon bikes’ (name may be spelt wrong. He used have a Raleigh, origin unknown, but all his friends had these bikes.
Any help would be amazing!!
I knew the Blake family very well during the 1940s & 50s. William, his wife, and daughter Joan. My dad who
was a plumber and builder did work at his premises over many weekends during the the 1940s and I often
went with him. My first bike in 1950 (£7) came from the shop. Apart from the cycle business Blake had a fleet of Taxi cabs garaged behind the shop frontages on Coldharbour Lane together with a car repair business, the entrance was in Sussex Road. Blake was also involved with a lorry freight operation between London & Newcastle but lost it when all road transport was nationalised in 1948. He did infact own the leases of most the shop units along that frontage. Joan, who was a dozen or so years older, like me went to Loughborough Central School. The school badge was the same as that on the sign of the Louthborough Park Tavern next door to the cycle shop..
hi keith re blacks bikes i to am 63 male i grew up in geneva rd next to sussex rd us kids use to hang around his shop for hours i remember he use to stock some great transfers 3 old pence each when we had pocket money i remember ruining a transfer went back to his shop and he removed it from my bike stuck a new one on for free that sort of community spirt just doesn/t exsit any more how lucky we were to have lived us kids in the late great geneva rd brixton not foregetting the kids of sussex rd amon
I found this story and comment board as a result of a quick effort to solve the “mystery of the sterling silver half pint”. I found a sterling half pint in among some personal items I have collected over the years. I can only assume it came from my parents. On the bottom of the mug, etched into the silver in hand-engraved cursive script reads, “Loughboro Park Tavern”.
Might this have originated from the original Tavern?
I remember the pub,the bike shop and the old surroundings of that area,outside the pub and bike shop was a rough unmade road,barkers facing was a furniture shop,burnt down in the Brixton riots,The area in those days was was more friendly than latter years,it had its problems of course but as time passed the old brixton became political,people moved out,i suppose that all things change.But i loved our old Brixton.
Such a shame that these lovely old buildings end up demolished.
hi johnny your words hit home the picture of rubble where the pub once stood is heart breaking I have spent my life as a builder so have a interest in Victorian architecher I see more bloody flats is being built on somerlayton rd no/ no/ people want houses with gardens will the planners never learn the cancer of Brixton is continuing to spread
Lovely thanks for posting that. It was my Gran’s favourite watering hole up to the late 1940’s I am told, She would toddle down Sussex Road from Guinness Flats. I remember the billiard hall in the back which we played in which was a bit decrepit and the Off Licence next door and then a sweet shop. Sussex Road primary school to the back of it was a lovely Edwardian edifice that some of the family attended and then became a branch of Brixton School of Building and I attended it for some lessons. Criminal to bulldoze such great buildings but it was the thinking of the time, old equalled no good. The same happened along Loughborough Park with all the lovely Victorian and Edwardian Villas which would fetch a fortune these days. The plague burial pit was of historical significance and wonder what happened to that.
hi roger in all my replys on Geneva /somerlyton / & sussex rds I forgot about the wonderfull villas yes they were fantastic all detached and the folk who lived in them were very wealthy it would be great if any one had a picture of them you only have to look at the photo of the loughbourgh pub to see what the houses would be like sad so sad
I lived in the L.P. Tavern until I was 8 years old. It was like a castle for a little girl. My grandmother Dora Hill was the landlord.
It was amazing to see the picture.
hi Maggie great to hear from someone who lived in the l p tavern can you not agree that today that building would have listed status as would the villas you can thank john major for his part in destroying Brixton now the Canterbury arms is under threat of the bulldozers long live the Loughborough tavern in memory only
Hello, I have a photo showing Blakes cycle shop and R.E.Hobday’s off-licence, with two 1970’s cars (Escort Mk1 and I think a Triumph) parked outside. Is there an email address I can send it to?
Hi les re your reply I am sure there is a picture of blakes and the off licence on this site long before its demise sorry cant be of more help
Hi I use to live at 112 Loughborough Park now Morland Road, The side of the road that was pulled down. The area was rebuilt because they were going to build a motorway in front of Barrier block. No mention has been made of Sussex Grove which ran off Sussex Road. My Mother remembered the Guinness Trust flats being built, before they were built the site was occupied by two large houses. 106 Loughborough Park was occupied by A coal merchant Fred Payne. The Barker family who ran the furniture shops in Coldharbour Lane also lived in Loughborough Park.. Number 106 was bombed during the war but was never rebuilt. Sussex Road was also the site of the infant & Primary school I attended.
Thanks for posting this. Interesting stuff!
Hello Peter my name is Jackie and my Nan and Grandad lived upstairs at 112 … May and Stan I used to play with your sister Susan and you have a brother David ?
Hi everyone I grew up at 63 Loughborough park ( opposite the park) from mid 70s to late 80s and remember the wood post for the pub sign near the crossing in front of Gresham spares! I don’t remember Blake’s bikes but do remember Barker’s furniture / fells electronics / Archies greengrocers /the chipshop/ and the little lady that run the post office.I Also went to hillmead school ( previously Sussex road) beautiful building . I have a copy of a postcard of the two houses that Peter Chalmers mentions where Loughborough park meets somerleyton road . I have never seen this photo on any archive sites .if any one would like a copy let me know. Loved growing up here and no 63 was like a castle ! It had all the original fireplaces and the stable/garage with stable keepers above . Growing up next to Brixtons steel band was fun😣
Also remember a old man in his late 80s calling to no 63 and telling us he was a servant there when he was in his twenties and the house belonged to Tate and Lyle sugar. Have tried to find information on this but have never found anything.
Does anyone know if the house numbers got changed after the 70s regeneration/ demolition ! Not sure if Loughborough park kept its original house numbers .
I was born at 66 Loughborough Park in 1954. I walked passed the Loughborough Park Tavern and the row of shops frequently. It was a landmark for the area. My grandfather used to send me to the sweet shop to buy him humbugs and the off license to buy cream soda. I went to Sussex road school so walked past the Tavern every day.
I don’t recognise very much there now. I visited the area a few years back but couldn’t pick out the house I was born in. Loughborough Park was lined with cherry and almond blossom trees. There was a sense of community when I was a child but it did become a run down area.
Thanks for this interesting post. George Webster and his wife Jane were registered in the 1871vensus return as landlords of the Loughboro Tavern. They had six children there. Jane is an ancestral cousin of mine. She was widowed in 1861, her first husband being Abraham Allibon and they were landlords of The General Elliott pub in Chelsea. After Abraham’s death she married George in 1865.
My Gt Grandparents lived opposite the pub, in the house next to the station. It was a BR house, and my Gt grandfather William Miles, was the retired Station Master, the family lived there until 1980. My Aunt Joan and Uncle Harold. The house was odd as there was a row of them before the station being built, the garden was full of station relics..a real playground for us children visiting, but they refered to one room as Alices room, and we never found out who Alice was!