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.
Maps as far back as 1864 show a pub standing on the corner of Coldharbour Lane and Loughborough Park (as Moorlands 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.
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.
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.
Furthur 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.