Isleworth station first opened on 1 February 1850 and was then renamed a few years later in 1855 as the cheery sounding ‘Spring Grove & Isleworth’, reverting back to its original name in August 1911.
It’s a fairly small station served by four trains an hour. The station/platform buildings here are solid if unremarkable – the anti-vandal spikes(or whatever you’d call them) on the roof of one of the canopies look particularly foreboding. I actually don’t think I’ve come across such fierce looking protection at a quiet station like this before, maybe there were previously a spate of incidents of people climbing on the roof here. However it seems far too quiet a place for that!
The Red Lion, 92-94 Linkfield Road, TW7 6QJ
It’s a quick four minute hop from the station to the pub which is located halfway along Linkfield Road, the first turning off you come to after crossing under the railway bridge. In amongst the row of pleasant surburban housing, The Red Lion is very easy to spot with its green-tiled frontage.
Inside, the pub is very spacious, with room for a pool table, small peformance stage as well as two bars. The Red Lion has some traditional features intact like the stained glass on some of its front windows. Some of the decor seemed to be in a state of transition, with some of the walls papered while others are bare and exposed. I’m not sure if the latter is intentional as many pubs go for the rustic ‘distressed’ look, or if it is just part way through a refurb. It also has a sizeable back garden too.
We visited The Red Lion on a Saturday afternoon and the place had a real Marie Celeste feel to it. There were only a couple of customers and no sign of any bar staff in sight! After initially scouting around for someone, I spotted someone in their back garden chopping wood with an axe. After checking with one of the customers who had successfully got drinks that he was indeed the barman, I went outside and politely asked whether we could get some drinks. To his credit, he then came in and quickly served us. That said, it was the first time I’ve ever had to interrupt someone chopping wood with an axe to get a pint and I hope the last…
Talking of beer, The Red Lion had a decent selection of ales including the Atlantic from Sharps which I went for as well as Conqueror from the Windsor Brewery and Inferno from Oakham Ales. Food wise, Pizzas were available but I didn’t see any menus about. The pub does regular live jazz nights. There are also a couple of TVs here showing some sport on BBC as the pub doesn’t have BT or Sky. Another thing that added to the slightly odd atmosphere here on our visit was the fact part of the pub was being used to make costumes, with a sewing machine in tow. The nice woman who was working on them explained it was for the pub’s pantomime, a fixture here for nearly 20 years.
When I researched The Red Lion, I was really looking forward to it, it had a very high score on other sites and the prospect of a community pub with lots of ales really appealed. Sadly I didn’t really enjoy our visit here. It just felt a bit weird to go into a pub and actually have to find the barman – I appreciate places get quiet and it must be really boring for someone working behind the bar in those times, but to leave the whole thing totally unattended just felt a bit odd. It also felt eerily quiet for a Saturday afternoon when you’d expect most pubs to be buzzing or at least fairly busy. Perhaps I just hit it on a bad day and clearly others think highly of it, but on the basis of my experience here I won’t be rushing back.
(While the pub has a website, it says it is no longer updated by the new management and none of the links work)