WIMBLEDON V TRIP
Weds 9th August 2000
This is what may be the final of HASSRALE's current clutch of trips to SW London. Oddly enough when the survey team were embarking on this leg of the trip it was not thought that we had covered the area, however on checking four previous sorties have been made (three in 1988 alone inc Colliers Wood to South Wimbledon). Anyway it's nearly 7 years since the last one so here goes. Exit right from Wimbledon tube station on the District Line, cutting through the cab rank onto Wimbledon Bridge. Cross the lights at the junction and staying on the right hand side of Wimbledon Hill Road go past Argos and continue up a short distance to find …
1. Hand and Racket - 25 Wimbledon Hill Road SW19 [18.30]
Greene King Abbot; Marstons Pedigree and Bitter; Wychwood Shires (3.7%); Jennings Cumberland Bitter; Boddingtons Bitter.
Large Hogshead pub in the usual style of bare floorboards, stripped wood tabletops and mainly dining room chairs. The bar had a raised dais area at the back to the left which seemed to be non-smoking, but nearer the front there were a number of easy chairs and sofas. A basic layout with a mixture of bare brick, painted brickwork (bright green and yellow) and a strange green ventilation duct suspended over the bar counter. The main area was illuminated by a large conservatory-style roof. Food and wine menus proliferated, but there was no sign of people availing themselves of sustenance at the time. A number of examples of modern art festooned the walls. * On leaving the pub turn right and continue along the road, passing the next pub (don't worry it is number 3 on our list) then just on the junction with Compton St is …
2. All Bar One - 37 Wimbledon Hill Road [19.00]
Bass; London Pride.
As is usual for this chain, the pub occupies premises formerly used for non-licensed trade, in this case a bank. Impressive red-brick exterior with the entrance on the corner via steps up to a large portico which has "BANK" inscribed across the top. One very large area inside, mainly square with a small area extending at the rear to the right where the food counter is. This latter is an extension of the main bar counter running along the back of the pub. Tall ceilings and windows and the absence of any carpeting enhance the hall-like atmosphere, making it rather clamorous. The trade mark large railway clock is evident as were the exposed air-vents, but there was no sign of the usual moving track carrying food orders to the kitchen. There were three large porcelain sinks containing opened bottles of wine, standing in ice, no doubt to cater for the high proportion of female drinkers both business and student. *From here it is a simple matter to retrace our steps then fall into one of the entrances of …
3. The Alexandra - 33 Wimbledon Hill Road [19.45]
Youngs Special and Bitter.
Very pleasant two bar pub with an attached wine-bar. The right-hand bar is the public one with fairly basic seating and a polished wooden floor, a feature it shares with the interconnecting lounge bar although the latter has more luxurious seating. Both bars have low ceilings and wood panelling giving them a traditional cosy atmosphere as distinct from Young's more recent forays into the trade i.e. café bars!. The coving round the walls has quotations inscribed that may be from Jonathan Swift's writings. Quiet background music and also provision for large screen TV showings. * Walk back to the station then cross over Wimbledon Bridge. On the opposite corner with its name repeated high up on the white frontage is …
4. The Prince of Wales - 2 Hartfield Road [20.30]
Courage Directors, Best; Greene King Abbot; Theakston's Old Peculier, XB; + 2 guest beers: Wychwood Dr. Thirsty (3.8%); Cornish Rebellion (4.8%).
Traditional former Inntrepreneur establishment although who knows to which pub group it belongs now? Converted to the usual one large bar area which is L-shaped. Mainly bare polished wooden floor-boards, but tiled near the counter and carpeted at the back where there are more seats. The tall ceiling is supported by central pillars, but overall the dark decoration gives it a slightly dingy feel. Accommodation is mainly standing room at the L-shaped bar which extends round to become the food counter at the back. There are a number of mirrors and old photographs, but it is likely that they are recent additions. *Now come out and turn to the right onto the Broadway and carry on down for about 100 yards, crossing over to …
5. Chumleys - 74 The Broadway [21.15]
Brakspears Bitter and Greene King IPA.
Somewhat of a wine-bar appearance to it, presumably to go with the name. It was formerly a shop then a restaurant, perhaps its next incarnation might be a bank or a car-showroom! Light and airy design with a variety of chairs and large tables throughout, plus seating outside if conditions permit. It extends back a long way and is similar in layout to the Rat & Parrot on the Parsons Green trip. There is a food bar incorporated with the bar counter which is L-shaped of course. There were a number of TVs showing sport from satellite channels. * From the front of this pub if you look down the road opposite the next hostelry is visible by the large "W" sign outside. Cross the Broadway into Gladstone Rd and on the right is …
6. Wibbas Down Inn - 6 Gladstone Road [22.00 or whenever]
Courage Directors; Greene King Abbot; Fullers London Pride and a changing range of guest beers.
Although not immediately evident from the name this is another JD Wethersoon establishment. Its small frontage belies the fact that this is a very large pub. When you note that there is another entrance in Russell Road (which runs parallel) opposite the Wimbledon Theatre, it becomes apparent that this was once two sets of premises back-to-back, now joined into one. Because of this the drinking area continues back a considerable distance (Wetherspoon's Last Post in Southend in the former GPO sorting office has the same layout). Not particularly busy on the trial visit, but possibly does more trade when the theatre has performances. There is a mixture of seating styles and various literature etc relating to local history. *Well that's all folks, the return route is back up to the Broadway and the tube station is up on the right. In fact mainline trains also run from here returning to Waterloo apparently.
Survey details: Edmund Featherstone, James Featherstone, Mark Chambers and John Wright on Weds 12th July 2000, with special thanks to John Calder for his local information.