Saturday, April 28, 2012

Royal Albert PH

The Royal Albert pub has stood on the corner of New Cross Road and Florence Road for over 160 years.

The first recorded mention of the Royal Albert Public House was when Frederick Andrew Hall was granted a license for the premises on 6th September 1848. On the 1851 census Mr Hall is described as a Master Bricklayer aged 47, born in Plumstead employing 10 men; his wife Elizabeth aged 60 was born in Rotherhithe. Three children Betsey 36 , Harriet 23 and George 20 (a Carpenter) are listed along with Ostler John Dickenson 22 and Pot Boy George Runham 14. Apart from Betsey who was born in Rotherhithe (presumeably Elizabeth's daughter by a previous marriage) they were all shown as born in Deptford.

The pub appears to have been successful and financialy lucrative. A Masonic Lodge (172, Justice) regularly met at the pub, and from 1857 Frederick Hall appeared in a list of bank shareholders. In 1859 Frederick sold the pub to George Roe and Frederick & Elizabeth moved to Dovedale Villa, East Wickham, Kent.

On Thursday 14th July 1859 Mrs Frances Bartlett, 35, of Florence Terrace committed suicide by cutting her own throat. The County Coroner, Mr Charles Carttar convened the inquest in the pub two days later. The inquest was told that the deceased 'had been labouring under some mental affliction' and that razors had been found in her dress. The jury returned a verdict of "Sucide under temporary insanity".

George Roe was an experienced publican in his mid 30s who had previously run the Horns Tavern, Knight's Hill Road, West Norwood. George was also a supporter of the Licensed Victuallers Asylum in Camberwell.

The 1861 census entry for the Royal Albert shows George, 38, born Leicester, Licensed Victualler, his wife Harriet, 37, born Brompton, Middlesex and their daughter Emma Harriet, 9, born Norwood. A 16 year old cousin Emily Rowland, born Brompton was a barmaid. Scottish born 22 year old Mary Lincoln was a visitor and Henry Gutteridge, 38, born Leicester was the Potman.

On 20th Dec 1862 Joseph Whitehead and others stole a cash box from Holland's Distillery. William Betts the Royal Albert's potman gave evidence at the Old Bailey on 5th January 1863 identifying Whitehead as one of four men who had been in the Royal Albert that afternoon.

On 30th July 1863 George Roe died at the Royal Albert and subsequently on 17th September 1863 the following advertisement appeared in 'The Times'

Very desirable Public-house and Wine Vaults, New Cross Road, Deptford

MESSRS WARLTERS and LOVEJOY are instructed by the Executors to SELL by AUCTION, at Garraways, on Tuesday, the 22nd of September, at 12, a LEASE for 64 years, at a rent of £72 per annum, of the ROYAL ALBERT, at the corner of Florence Road, New Cross Road. The house is conveniently arranged and is situate to command the trade of a very improving neighbourhood. The lessor covenants there shall be no other licensed house or beershop upon his estate, except one already established. May be viewed. Particulars obtained of Benjamin Beanlands, Esq., No 4 Raymond Buildings, Gray's Inn: at Garraway's; and of the auctioneers, 55 Chancery Lane.

Tiling in the old Public Bar entrance

We do not know who purchased the pub in 1863 as it was back on the market in 1869:
Royal Albert, New Cross Road, an excellent Wine and Spirit Establishment, most advantageously placed for business, on a road of immense traffic.

MESSRS LOUND and STRANSOM have received instructions from the Proprietor to SELL by AUCTION at Garraway's, Change Alley, Cornhill, on Wednesday, Aug 25 1869 at 12 (unless disposed of by private treaty), the valuable long LEASE, with posession, of a capital WINE and SPIRIT ESTABLISHMENT, well known as the Royal Albert, commandingly situate at the corner of Florence Road and New Cross Road, a populous and daily improving district, also in the vicinity of of several railway stations. Also a House and Shop adjoining of the estimated value of £45 per annum, and a Frontage to the Florence Road, suitable for three dwelling house. The whole property is held for nearly 60 years at the low rent of £72 per annum. May be viewed, and particulars obtained of Mr T W Flavell, solicitor, 21 Bedford Row; at Garraway's; and of the auctioneers, 60 Chancery Lane. (The Times Friday 20 Aug 1869)

The 1871 Census shows Louis Freehant, 60, Widower as a Public House Proprietor and Charles Chalk, 56, Married as the Proprietor's Foreman both born Middlesex, London.

In the early hours of the morning of 19th February 1875 landlord William Henry Willson was woken by a noise downstairs. He went down to find PC Charles Runnegar struggling with a man called William Howard. Howard had climbed up and forced the window of the first floor billiard room, before stealing loose change, but was caught red-handed by the PC. An accomplice, George Montagu, who got away on the night was stupid enough to turn upwhen Howard appeared at court, and was recognised by the PC. At the Old Bailey on 5th April 1875 Howard pleaded guilty, and Montague was found guilty by the jury.

One of two panels of tiling at the side of the pub

1881 Census

Elizabeth Houleston     Widower 49    Devon, Housekeeper
Annie Foster         Single 21    Marylebone, Barmaid
Kate Blay         Single 21    Iffley, Oxfordshire - Domestic Servant
Mary Ann E. Tagg     Single 21    Stepney - Barmaid

On 13 June 1884 Edmond Weever, originally from Wolverhampton living at Barnes Terrace in Deptford, was drinking in the Royal Albert when William Simpson (21) and William Leighton (27) got talking to him, they then went to another pub and then alledgedly robbed him. Annie Foster gave evidence at the Old Bailey on 23 June (both acquitted)

On 31 Oct 1884 Robert Holt used a counterfeit florin to buy twopennyworth of rum at the South-Eastern Distillery, but quickly fled with the change. At the Royal Albert, Mary Empson, daughter of Landlord James Empson served him a few minutes later, but quickly realised the coin was a dud. Holt again fled but only to be caught by Alfred King the Potman from the Distillery. Mary gave evidence at the Old Bailey on 17 Nov 1884.

Yorkshire born landlord James Empson died 9th Nov 1886 at the pub aged 75. Empson had previously been the landlord of the Fisherman's Arms, Cold Bath, Greenwich and left a substantial estate.

At 1.25am on 8th Sept 1889 there was a fracas in New Cross Road and subsequently Charles Morris took out a summons against PC Thomas Fahey for assault. Mr Prevost, lanlord of the Royal Albert, gave evidence for the defence. PC Fahey was acquitted, but costs were refused. William James Prevost was born in Hoxton in 1860, his father also William ran the Queens Head, 178 Hoxton Street. The 1891 census shows William, wife Isabella, 31, son William Albert Herbert Prevost, 6, all born Hoxton / Kingsland. Also shown were Barmen Charles Henry Howe, 23, born Westminster and Sydney James Stevens, 21, born Poplar. The Potman was Frederick Miller,22, from Oxford; the Cook Mary Kadwell, 28, and the Nurse Helen Wilde, 20, were both from Deptford  

The Royal Albert's final appearance in the Proceedings of the Old Bailey was a brief passing mention in the trial of John & Samuel Milligan and George Milligan for attempted murder.

The 1901 & 1911 censuses both show managers living at the pub, presumeably it had been bought by a brewer.

1901 Census

Francis M Truelove    Head M    46 Manager (PH) London, Peckham
Edgar A Edwards     Serv S  19 Barman          ---"---
Albert H Phillips     Serv S  24 Barman       London, Dalston
Ada E Arber         Serv S  24 Housekeeper  London, Kingsland
Jessie M Latimer     Serv S  19 Barmaid    London, Bermondsey
Adelaide R Fassnidge    Serv S     19 Barmaid    London, Brixton
Harriett A Ealey     Serv S  25 Cook, domestic Kent, Sittingbourne

Francis Truelove was the son of Michael Truelove who had been the landlord of the Hanover Arms PH at Peckham Rye.

1911 census

Elizabeth Hallahan,Manageress, 44, Widow  London, Lambeth
Minnie Beavis      |Barmaid, 22, Single London, Hoxton 
Amy Beavin Barmaid    20, Single, London, Islington
Bertram Major, Headman, 30, Single, New Cross
Arthur Argyle, Potman, 25, Single, Tunbridge Wells

to be continued...


  1. I understand that in the 1960's and 1970's it was a well known music pub.

    And later on it of course became the Paradise Bar.

    The square on the side was I assume for advertising of some sort? Or did it just display the pub name?

  2. It must have been one of the first pub's to be named after Prince Albert. Although Albert had been married to Queen Victoria for 8 years by 1848.

    1848 was a very interesting year as Europe was engulfed in revolutions including the Third French Revolution.

  3. According to my brief Google search these are former landlords of the Royal Albert:

    1850/Fredk. Andrew Hall/...P.O. Directory

    1858/F A Hall/...Melvilles Directory

    1876/William Henry Willson/...P.O. Directory

    1884/James Empson/...Post Office Directory

    1888/Helsdon & Austin/...P.O. Directory

    1917/Sidney Barnes/...P.O. Directory

    1921/Sidney Barnes/...P.O. Directory

    1938/Edwin Charless Stanley Welton/...P.O. Directory

  4. The panel on the side of the building would have displayed the pub name.

    There would have been many 'Alberts' by 1848, Victorian pub names tended to be very contemporary.

    P.O. Directories are notoriously out of date or just plain wrong. I only use such info for looking up the references to see if I can find more reliable sources.