Pimlico is the newest station on the Victoria Line, opening on 14 September 1972, a year after the final section of the route from Victoria to Brixton. It is also the only station on the Line without any interchange with other tube or national rail lines.
Its platform motif is of ‘spots’, by Peter Sedgely, and representing Modern Art that at that time would have been on display at the Tate, prior to the split into Modern/Britain in 1999. The art theme continues in the subways after the ticket hall, where homages to various artists displayed at the Tate – Turner and John Singer Sargent – have been painted on the walls. I think they are best viewed with a sympathetic eye!
Pimlico has no station buildings above ground. One of its air vents is however an interesting sculpture in itself, designed by the Italian artist Eduardo Paolozzi who was behind the colourful platform mosaics at Tottenham Court Road.
The Pub: The Morpeth Arms, 58 Millbank, SW1P 4RW
Pimlico is an incredibly well-heeled part of London, consisting of many streets of impressive Regency Townhouses courtesy of 19th Century master builder Thomas Cubitt. The pub is a short walk from the station, simply head onto Vauxhall Bridge Road until you reach Millbank and head along there briefly in the direction of Parliament until you reach The Morpeth Arms which itself is in an impressive Victorian building dating from 1845. I know The Morpeth Arms very well – its proximity to the Tate meant its always been a good meeting spot with my parents in the past if they’ve been seeing an exhibition in London
The pub is set over two floors. The downstairs has quite a cosy vibe to it, thanks to the darker colour scheme used for the walls and its carpet with a traditional wooden bar in the centre. The backroom feels a bit brighter due to the presence of a sky-light. There are lots of pictures of London landmarks, especially bridges(not surprising given we’re by the river!), around the place. There is also a TV screen permanently showing the pub’s cellars, these are reputed to be haunted by prisoners and staff of the former Millbank prison which covered this area and the site of the Tate Britain. Keep your eyes peeled on the screen for ghosts!
The upstairs room is known as the ‘Spying Room’, with great views over the river and indeed towards the MI6 building on the other side of the Thames, hence its name. There are also comfy seats up here! On the stairs leading up to the room there is information about famous spies/double agents.
The Morpeth Arms is a Youngs pub so there’s the staple photo of the Queen Mother pouring a pint of their ale somewhere. The ales on tap were their usual staples – Bitter, Special, London Gold as well as Bombardier’s Gloriously English. The food menu is again what you’d expect from one of their pubs – standard pub favourites. I liked the nod to their surroundings by calling their larger burger the ‘Millbank Tower burger’, in honour of the office building nearby that has had many famous political tenants.
The Morpeth Arms is a decent riverside pub. Given how poor the options are around Victoria Station, if you’re prepared to head one stop further down the line, this place won’t let you down!