Putney rail station first opened on 27 July 1846 as part of the line from Richmond to Nine Elms. The station was rebuilt in 1885-6 at the same time as the line passing through here was quadrupled. The shelters on the island platform are incredibly well illuminated at night – the lighting seemed to be set to the level of one of those seasonally affected disorder lamps! The ticket office building is pleasant enough and its brick frontage has far less decorative finishes than other Victorian stations. To be fair, these may well have been removed during 20th Century costcutting.
Putney also has two tube stations, one either side of the river, so it is an area that was already familiar to me from my previous exploits. In case you’d like a reminder, here are my reviews for Putney Bridge and East Putney, both from late 2013.
The Bricklayers, 32 Waterman Street, SW15 1DD
Putney is a thriving, affluent London suburb with plenty of major shopping chains on its high street and also within the Putney Exchange shopping centre. It’s also got no shortage of pubs, both on and around the high street and also closer to the river. In areas like these, I particularly like to find pubs that are a little off the beaten track. Down a quiet street, The Bricklayers fulfills that criteria perfectly. To get there, head down Putney High Street towards the river, then turning onto Lower Richmond Road before taking a left onto Waterman Street for The Bricklayers.
From the outside The Bricklayers seems quite small but it extends a fair way back so its more spacious than it might look at first. It was built in 1826 and still feels very traditional with wooden floorboards and panelling and plenty of black and white photos of Putney on the walls. The pub also has a lot of old school vibes as it’s cash only(a real rarity these days!) and doesn’t serve any food(which is also becoming rarer…).
The pub’s website says its ‘London’s Permanent Beer Festival’ and previous reviews I’ve read of the place say they have up to 12 different real ales available on tap. Sadly there were only 4 available when we visited but to be fair it wasn’t a busy period. Those available all came from the nearby Twickenham Brewery : Grandstand, Naked Ladies, Redhead and Sundance. I went for the Ladies which I always find to be a pleasant bitter when I’ve encountered it before. The Bricklayers is a firm favourite with CAMRA, scooping their South West London Pub of the Year on a number of occasions.
We sat in the back area which had a bit of a barn feel to me on account of its higher ceiling than the rest of the pub. In this section of the pub there are lots of posters advertising previous beer and cider festivals previously held here. Each one has a different animal dressed up in human clothes enjoying a pint, including a horse,pig, cow and badger. Also here are lots of traditional drawings of animals with various slogans encouraging a trip to Putney – i.e: ‘Don’t get the hump, come to Putney!’. The pub was pretty quiet when we dropped by, although it was an incredibly cold Tuesday evening.
I really liked the vintage old nine pin ‘table’ skittles which you can see in the gallery. They also have a fussball table which is always good fun. There is also a proper fire which was certainly needed. The Bricklayers even has its own cricket team. In the season just gone, I saw they had locked horns with another South London favourite of mine, The Traf Freehouse in South Wimbledon, winning both matches.
The Bricklayers gets a big thumbs up from me. If you’re looking for a change of pace from the hectic and loud pubs closer to Putney tube, The Bricklayers is the perfect spot for a pint in a friendly, traditional setting.