Bounds Green

From one Green to another as I head from Wood Green to Bounds Green. It also opened on 19th September 1932 on the Piccadilly Line. It was the site of a tragedy during the blitz where a German bomb that hit nearby houses on 13th October 1940 caused one of the station tunnels to collapse, killing seventeen people  – the station had been used as an air raid shelter at this point. There is a plaque in the station commemorating those who died.

Its another Charles Holden designed station and architecturally has much in keeping with the stops I have just visited on the route, both below and above ground with the same yellow tiling and box-like ticket hall. However while those buildings were listed many years ago, Bounds Green was only awarded Grade II listed status in 2010.

The Pub: The Ranelagh, 82 Bounds Green Road, N11 2EU

The Ranelagh is a couple of minutes walk from the station, simply head up Bounds Green Road and you’ll come across it at the junction with Warwick Road.

Inside, its a spacious, smart gastropub. The front section around the bar feels quite bright and airy, thanks to its large windows and light coloured walls.  I think the back area of the pub feels more cosy as the walls are painted red.  On the ale front, there was a good selection with solid options London Pride and Doombar as well as Knops East Coast Pale Ale, the first time I’ve come across that particular beer!  As we were here on a Tuesday, the Pub Quiz was just about to get into full swing and the place was certainly pretty busy for it. There are also regular deals during the week with reduced food and drink offers.

Like The Starting Gate at Wood Green, The Ranelagh is also a Geronimo Pub so has a very similar menu with standard pub classics and sharing platters too.  Where the Ranelagh really comes into its own though is its garden. It’s definitely on the large side by London pub standards and has plenty of plants and trees, in keeping with the local area’s name. As we sadly head towards the last days of summer, this is definitely a good spot to fit in those final pints in the sun. There is also some outdoor seating covered by a canopy for those less clement days…

The Ranelagh is another good solid North London pub. I think its best feature is its impressive garden so definitely an excellent drinking spot during the summer months!

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Wood Green

Wood Green continues my run on the Piccadilly Line. It first opened on 19th September 1932. It’s another excellent Charles Holden design with an impressive curved frontage, flanked by two totem-pole esque ventilation shafts.

There are again more Harold Stabler designed grilles, both at platform level and also as you ascend the escalators into the ticket hall. In 2011, it was awarded Grade II listed status.  Wood Green will always be a station that has personal significance to me – it was my Dad’s local station when he was growing up in London. More recently, I used it everyday when working very close by!

The Pub: The Starting Gate, Station Road, N22 7SS

Getting off the tube here, you see that the Post War period hasn’t entirely been kind to Wood Green. The 1970s ‘Shopping City’ looms large, a mall bisected by a major road, as does the large 1990s grey cinema building. The shopping area does boast a footfall rate that is only marginally behind Oxford Street – Haringey Council are developing a masterplan for its regeneration.

But back to the task in hand. The pubs immediately round the station are a bit bleak so we took a walk up Station Road to The Starting Gate, which is just under 10minutes up the hill.  The Starting Gate is based in a Grade II listed building. Inside it has retained many traditional features, especially in the main room surrounding the bar with the old cut glass and wooden fixtures and fittings. The area towards the back is more modernised and has been painted in a mural of various colourful plants and flowers growing underneath what looks like the main hall in Ally Pally. It also has a small back garden too.

Given the pub’s proximity to Alexandra Palace, its not surprising there are plenty of pictures of the palace from back in the day decorating the walls. There is also a painting of Ally Pally looking over an unspoiled, rural landscape. I think this might just be an artist’s imagination as I’m sure there was already some development in these parks when the palace was built, but I’m happy to be proved wrong.   On the beer front, both Doombar and London Pride were available on our visit. Its a Geronimo pub so has their standard range of pub food and sharing platters. It wasn’t rammed on our Thursday night, but there were a fair amount of people here.

The Starting Gate is another solid North London pub. It could be a good spot for pre-drinks before heading to to a gig at Ally Pally!

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Turnpike Lane

Turnpike Lane marks the second stop in this leg of Piccadilly Line stations that all opened on 19th September 1932. Its another Charles Holden architectural masterclass.  From the art deco lights in the area between the two platforms to the impressive scale of the ticket hall, it has so much going for it.

The ticket hall in particular is very similar to those on the Western extension of the line with the box shape and large cathedral windows which let the light stream in.  There are also more Harold Stabler decorative grilles, as previously seen at Manor House. As perhaps you might expect, this is another of Holden’s stations which has been Grade II listed by English Heritage.

The Pub: The Westbury, 57 Westbury Avenue, N22 6SA

The Westbury is about a five minute walk from the station.  Head out from the station onto Westbury Avenue and you’ll find the pub a couple of minutes down the road, just past the bridge over a former railway line.

The Westbury is in a very charming traditional building, which was looking resplendent in the Summer sun when we visited. The interior was also looking pretty smart too. The place has a very fresh feel to it as it had a major overhaul just under a year ago when it was bought by its current owners.  According to the local press,  over £400,000 was spent on its renovation. It now has a very modern vibe with light colours, exposed floorboards and the like. Some of the lights are enclosed in what looks like old birdcages. The pub is compromised of one main downstairs room. There is also a small outside seating area – we parked ourselves there to make the most of the evening sun.

The pub has an extensive collection of ales and I think I counted at least seven on tap. These included a number from the local Tottenham based brewery Redemption, including their popular Trinity and Hopspur beer. I went for the latter and found it to be a very smooth, pleasant ale.  The Westbury also has a good food menu, mainly made up of classic pub dishes like sausage and mash and fish and chips. I went for their burger which was excellent, really filling and the chips were great too. It was just under £10 which is good value in terms of pubs these days.

The Westbury is a great example of how to successfully modernise a pub. It’s a great place and well worth a visit. It’s another where I could happily say I’d love to have it as my local!

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Manor House

Manor House first opened on 19th September 1932 as the first station heading northwards on the Piccadilly Line’s extension to Arnos Grove. It was named after a nearby pub rather than any local grand houses.  Its another fine Charles Holden station, although most of what you’ll find of interest comes below ground.  There are nice little touches in the shape of the decorative grilles above the roundels at platform level, depicting rural scenes at Finsbury Park itself and designed by Harold Stabler. I also like the ceiling of the subterranean ticket hall, all the spirals feel very ’70s sci-fi to me!  There is also a heritage display in the centre of the ticket hall too.

This is a station with many exits so make sure you have a clear idea of where you’re going before you decide to meet someone here!

The Pub: The Finsbury, 336 Green Lanes, N4 4BY

To find The Finsbury, make sure you exit the tube station onto the Green Lanes exit opposite the park.  You will then find The Finsbury on the junction with Woodberry Grove – its a large building so you won’t miss it!

Inside its feels very spacious with its stripped back interior and exposed brick work. The big open windows also help it feel very open. It’s very much a live music pub with posters adorning the walls of the various bands who have played or will be playing at the venue upstairs. There are also more eclectic items such as some antlers and vintage newspapers stuck to the wall near the doors. As well as music, they also often have comedy gigs in their upstairs venue. The pub is open till 2am on Friday and Saturday nights so no need to head home early from here.

Beer wise, there were a few ales available on tap including Doombar, Black Sheep and Greene King’s IPA. It doesn’t do any food but you are on Green Lanes so if you’re feeling peckish, plenty of great kebab houses up the road. According to their website, food will be available soon though.

The Finsbury has a pretty sizeable front garden, this was packed on the sunny Thursday evening we popped by so we just managed to get a seat. Its quite green as there are lots of plants in between the seats. Due to the lovely weather, the inside was pretty much deserted as you’ll see from the photos.

The Finsbury is a good solid pub and a great sun trap in the summer. A nice spot for a pint and excellently located right by the tube station and park!

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Dagenham Heathway

Dagenham Heathway first opened on 12th September 1932, the same day as Upney. It was known simply as Heathway until 1949, when it gained its present name. Like the other two stations I’ve just visited, it was initially owned by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway, only passing into London Transport’s hands in 1969.

Its very similar architecturally to both Becontree and Upney, the same rather generic 1930s ticket office and structures at platform level too.  The walkway from the ticket hall to the platforms is nice enough I suppose.

The Pub: The Admiral Vernon, 141 Broad Street, RM10 9HP

The Admiral Vernon is a 10minute walk from the train station. Head south down Heathway until a left turning onto Broad Street. The pub is around 5minutes down this road.

The pub is split into two rooms which you cannot pass between internally, or at least you couldn’t on our visit. One room had pool tables in and was clearly the games room. The other had more seated so we placed ourselves in there. The pub has a pretty traditional interior with wood panelling throughout and is carpeted. There was an ale available on tap here – something of a rare bonus in most East London pubs I’ve visited –  Doombar, so that kept me happy! It wasn’t massively busy on our visit but the place did have a welcoming vibe. It also has a Sky Sports licence and there were a few TVs dotted around.

While I said the Vernon is essentially pretty traditional, there was a modern touch in forms of the rather sleek modern bar stools which I thought were rather good. The pub also has regular live music nights, with bands playing most weekend evenings.

On balance, The Admiral Vernon is a solid pub.  While there aren’t any features that really mark out from the crowd, it is still a decent enough place to grab a pint which puts it above some others in the outer zones!

(The pub has no website)

 

Upney

Upney first opened on 12th September 1932, as part of the electrification of the District Line. It was actually built and operated by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway and subsequently British Railways after nationalisation, it only passed into London Transport’s hands in 1969.

The station building itself is a rather dull rectangle brick box like Becontree’s. The shelters at the platform level are also fairly non-descript too.

The Pub: The Thatched House, Ripple Road, IG11 9PG

Upney is very much Zone 4 suburbia, so finding a pub wasn’t easy. The Thatched House is about a 10minute walk from the station, heading along Upney Lane until a turning onto Ripple Road. The pub itself is just past some warehouses/car lots and near a big road bridge – all in all it feels very industrial round here. There is a car wash and a petrol station right by the pub so if you’ve found that, you’re sorted.

Inside, its a really large place with various different seating areas, some raised, away from the main bar. In terms of décor, its truly unique – I’ve not seen another pub like it on the tour.  There are lots of vivid colours, some of the walls are painted purple and there are plenty of glittery mirror balls about. There is even one in the shape of a woman’s body – stay classy Upney!  This area also had a lot of little mirrors on the ceiling. I was really surprised to find a pub with these touches here, especially when you look out of the window and see a rather bleak, industrial landscape.  There were also large wheels attached to the alcove we were sat in, I’m not quite sure how they went with anything else here! Given the space here, its perhaps unsurprising there are a couple of pool tables – after all, they’ve got the room!

There aren’t any ales on tap here but that said, our two pints of Kronenberg came to £6 which is pretty remarkable for London. The pub’s website stated they did food but there was no sign of it on our visit.  There weren’t too many people here on our visit so the place felt rather empty.  Given how large it is and slightly off the beaten track location, I struggle to imagine it ever being rammed here. It has a Sky Sports Licence too.

While it might not have stellar qualities as a pub, I do feel like The Thatched House is worth visiting solely for its interior. I think you have to see it for yourself!

Visit their website.

Becontree

Becontree station first opened on the District Line on 18th July 1932, which coincided with the renaming of the existing mainline rail station on the site, previously known as Gale Street Halt, which had opened in 1926. These rail services were withdrawn back in 1962, but the derelict platforms still remain in situ.

The station building, which dates back to 1932, is a rather dull and unremarkable brick box structure. The shelters at platform level aren’t really anything special either.

The Pub: The Roundhouse, Lodge Avenue, RM8 2HY

When it was built in the 1920s and 30s, Becontree was at the time the largest publically owned housing estate in the world. One of the London history books I own states concerns were raised that for an area where 26,000 new homes had been built by 1939, there were only six pubs serving the estate! There are far fewer now but I managed to visit one of the survivors, The Roundhouse.  It’s about 15minutes walk from the station,  head along Rugby Road until you reach Lodge Avenue where you’ll find the Roundhouse.  It lives up to its name as its an impressive, circular art deco building designed by specialist pub architect Alfred W Blomfield. In some respects with its central tower, it reminds me a bit of a Charles Holden Piccadilly Line station.

It’s certainly a very large pub inside, divided into several circular rooms with names such as the games room and lounge room. It wasn’t that busy here so only a couple of the rooms were open.  We sat in the busiest room, backing onto the main bar. There’s a large picture of Muhammad Ali on the wall, although I’d be pleasantly surprised if he came here. The rooms all have that art deco feel to them – I really like the lighting but understand these aren’t original features. There weren’t any ales available on tap so I had to for a lager here. It felt like it was quite a locals place, but not in an intimidating way. We did visit during mid week where it was quite quiet. It has a Sky Sports licence, as is proudly advertised on the outside of the pub.

CAMRA’s London Pubs Group have done an excellent write-up of the Roundhouse here. When it opened, one of its rooms was given over solely for tea drinkers and there was even an indoor bowling green! I’d don’t think I’ve heard of any pubs that ever had that before! It then moved with the times in the late ’60s and was for a spell known as East London’s top rock music venue with legendary bands such as Led Zeppelin, Thin Lizzy and Pink Floyd all playing here. There is still regular live music here, with the chalk board displaying the ‘Flying Saucers’ would be playing here on that coming Friday.

The Roundhouse is a large and interesting building, indeed I think it has more going for it in architectural and historical merit than it does as a pub. That said, it still perfectly fine for a pint here!

(The pub has no website)