Thursday, 3 May 2018

Inside the Bricklayers Arms ........ on the Old Kent Road in 1967

Now I like this picture, which was taken in August 1967 by John King.

It is, he says, “a view inside the now demolished Bricklayers Arms public house in Old Kent Road. 

This area was demolished for the flyover”.

In that summer we had been living in Eltham for over three years and my memories of Lausanne Road, the Old Kent Road and that chunk of south east London where I spent my early years was fading fast.

SoI am drawn to his  picture partly, because it captures the interior of the pub perfectly and reminds me that once most pubs had those wooden and frosted glass partitions with similar opaque windows looking out onto the street.  Many of these went in the 1970s and 80s, when those tiny individual rooms were sacrificed for the big all in one room, only to be reinstated two decades later.  If you were you were lucky they had been salvaged from a demolished pub  or were reproductions.

It is also a fine composition, with the man and his pint set against the outside world.

But what also makes the picture for me is that you don’t actually get many interior shots of pub.

Of course, there are lots of reasons.  Most professional photographers in the 19th century could see little commercial value of the inside of pubs, and most of the customers could never afford a camera.  And then when the age of the cheap camera dawned, pictures of the inside of the pub were mainly snaps recording a family event where it was the people not the pub which was the subject.

All of which meant that in the two books I wrote on Manchester pubs there are only  a few period interior pictures.

So thank you John, and have you any more?

Location; the Old Kent Road

Picture; The Pub Through the Window in The Kings Arms, August 1967 from the collection of John King

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