Sunday, April 8, 2012

Lord Clyde PH - A Famous Victory

The Lord Clyde is celebrating the defeat of property developers who want to knock it down and build flats.

From the outside the Lord Clyde public house in Wotton Road, Deptford is an unprepossessing looking place. (Not that my photographic skills do it any favours.) The portrait on the pub sign has long ago faded to nothing, the window boxes are overgrown, and buddelja sprouts from the top of the building.

The Lord Clyde PH has been under threat for some years; in 2009 the freehold of the pub was up for sale at £380,000 (the webpage has oddly disappered in last two days), but by Nov 2010 the price being asked had fallen to £350,000. In May last year the inevitable planning application was made. Landlord Rory McInally set out his case in the South London Press highlighting its community links and boxing heritage and posing for a photo with PC Gary Arterton. For some reason the application was not validated and a new application was made in February this year. This was accompanied by a Design and Access Statement, which in a spectacular display of arrogance stated:

"The current use does not provide any positive contribution to the local area and therefore it’s replacement with a residential building is the most appropriate form of development."

Not a good example of how to make friends and influence people. In response Mr McInally gathered a variety of locals for a photograph in the pub that appeared in the Mercury under the headline Deptford pub landlord defends boxing gym after developers’ slur and set about getting local people to send in objections. It worked and on 26 March 2012 LB Lewisham refused the application on four grounds (in summary):

1. The Lord Clyde public house building has been identified by the local planning authority as an undesignated heritage asset, which has both historical value and architectural character and adds positively to the local distinctiveness of the area. Inadequate justification has been provided for the demolition of the existing building, and as such its demolition would result in an unacceptable loss of a heritage asset and consequently would result in unacceptable harm to the character and appearance of the surrounding area, which includes the Grade II Listed London to Greenwich Railway Viaduct.

2. The proposal would result in the unacceptable loss of an operational public house and boxing gym which provides a valuable amenity as a social and cultural centre for the local community.

3. The proposed development is of unsatisfactory height, scale, mass and appearance which fails to respond to the local context and character of the site.

4. The proposed ground floor bedrooms at the rear of the site would have unsatisfactory outlook onto the car park of the proposed development.

The application documents and the full grounds of refusal can be accessed on LB Lewisham's 'planning search webpage:

under the reference DC/11/77308/FT or postcode SE8 5TQ

The applicants intend to appeal, but LB Lewisham is better at defending such appeals than many boroughs.


The pub is named after Colin Campbell, the first and only Baron Clyde. A career soldier Campbell commanded the Highland Brigade at the Battle of the Alma and in November 1857 relieved Lucknow during the Indian Mutiny. He was elevated to the peerage in 1858.

The earliest mention I can find of the pub itself is in The Era on Sunday 28 September 1862 reporting the Annual Licensing Day of the Blackheath magistrates held at Greenwich. Solicitor Mr Marchant appeared on behalf of Mr David Price of the Lord Clyde. Marchant told the court that Price had a 21 year lease that contained a provision that no other pub could be built within 400 yards (The freehold of that part of Deptford was owned by the Evelyn family). The license was granted.

By 1865 the pub had a mutual Loan Society than made £154 loans that year with a total of £480 in borrowers hands on 31st Dec 1965. In October 1871 a dinner for a lodge of the Ancient Order of Oddfellows was held at the pub with over 50 diners inside and a brass band outside. A trade directory for 1874 shows a Lucy Eldredge as licensee.

At the end of the 1870s a young couple Edwin & Clara Bax took over the pub. Both originally from Tooting, Edwin's father is shown on the 1871 census as running the Red Cow PH in King Street, Hammersmith. Edwin married Clara on 10 June 1879 and he is described as an Innkeeper in Deptford. In Feb 1881, the county coroner, Edward Carttar held an inquest on schoolgirl Henrietta Ball at the pub. This is the first of many inquests held at the Lord Clyde PH in the 1880s, some such as that regarding William Bate Curner of considerable historical interest. Juries were made up of middle-class men of the parish and the advantage of relatively wealthy men from across Deptford coming to the pub is obvious. Clara gave birth to two sons and a daughter whilst living at Wotton Road, but towards the end of the 80s the family moved to the Prince Albert PH in Edward Street. Edwin continued to hold the lease for the Lord Clyde. Edwin, but not Clara, remained at the Albert until at least 1911. He died in Carshalton 1933 leaving over £25,000.

Much of the twentieth Century is obscure. George & Mary Cheesman had the pub from c1934 - c1944, but other details are hard to find.


  1. Sterling work Rory, Bill and all at the Clyde!
    *BIFF* to the developer

  2. Hi Bill,

    great article!
    I have few questions about the pub ...
    Have you been inside the pub, if so do you have pictures?

    Also, who is the landlord? would you know how to contact him to film in the pub?

    hope you can help!


    1. Sarah,

      There is an internal shot on the Mercury link above.

      The Landlord is, as above, Rory McInally. You can contact him on twitter @Rorymc100