The historic Maida Vale pub with 'extraordinarily rare' Victorian features

Listing. Public House Interiors.
The Prince Alfred. 5A Formosa Street and Castellain Road , Maida Va

The main bar area and etched windows at The Prince Alfred in Maida Vale. - Credit: Chris Redgrave / Historic England Archive

A historic pub in Maida Vale with “extraordinarily rare” Victorian features has been upgraded on the National Heritage List of England.

The Prince Alfred has been listed at Grade II* – the second highest grade – on the advice of Historic England, as part of a project to protect important pubs and the heritage value of their interiors.

Additionally, two cast-iron lamp posts out the front of the Formosa Street pub on have been added to the list at Grade II.

Listing. Public House Interiors.
The Prince Alfred. 5A Formosa Street and Castellain Road , Maida Va

The Prince Alfred has been upgraded to Grade II* listing - the second highest grade - and two cast-iron lamp posts outside the pub have been newly-listed at Grade II - Credit: Chris Redgrave / Historic England Archive

With "lavish fittings" and "exceptionally well-preserved bar compartments", the Prince Alfred interior dates from the 1890s and gives a clear sense of the way pubs would have looked and functioned then, according to Historic England.

The boozer existed decades earlier but extensive remodelling was carried out from the height of the Victorian “pub boom”, which saw extravagant spending by brewers and publicans.

Listing. Public House Interiors.
The Prince Alfred. 5A Formosa Street and Castellain Road , Maida Va

The landlord and manager of the historic Victorian pub at the bar - Credit: Chris Redgrave

The Prince Alfred, which was previously Grade II listed, is among 11 pubs that have been added, upgraded or relisted through the ongoing partnership between Historic England and the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

Historic England chief executive Duncan Wilson said: “At a time when many historic pubs in England are susceptible to change or at risk of closure, we are pleased to celebrate pubs that have kept their remarkable interiors.

Listing. Public House Interiors.
The Prince Alfred. 5A Formosa Street and Castellain Road , Maida Va

An enclosed drinking area with an "extraordinarily rare" set of snob screens - Credit: Chris Redgrave / Historic England Archive

Most Read

"These rare interiors help tell the fascinating story of pubs over the centuries and how they reflected society."

The Prince Alfred has an elaborate peninsula-style servery surrounded by all of its original five drinking compartments, each with its own external entrance.

The areas are divided by ornate screens, all of them with low service doors used by so-called "pot boys" to duck through and collect the glasses.

Listing. Public House Interiors.
The Prince Alfred. 5A Formosa Street and Castellain Road , Maida Va

A view of the bar from within a drinking bay at the Prince Alfred - Credit: Chris Redgrave / Historic England Archive

The original set of "snob screens" to the smallest ladies' bar - designed to give privacy to women ordering - are described as an "extraordinarily rare survival".

They are said to reflect Victorian attitudes to women and drinking at a time when mixed drinking was not generally encouraged.

Only around eight authentic sets are known to remain in pubs across England.

Listing. Public House Interiors.
The Prince Alfred. 5A Formosa Street and Castellain Road , Maida Va

Detail of a "snob screen" in one of the enclosed drinking areas - Credit: Chris Redgrave / Historic England Archive

Ornate carved woodwork, finely-etched glazing, colourful tilework, mosaic flooring, hanging lamps and a range of high-quality servery fittings are among the internal features of late-Victorian pubs seen at the Prince Alfred.

Outside, the lamp standards - erected around 1898 - are a “very rare” example of lamps installed to draw in passing custom at a time when lighting was not commonplace on residential London streets.

Only a very small number of these lamp standards are known to survive.

Listing. Public House Interiors.
The Prince Alfred. 5A Formosa Street and Castellain Road , Maida Va

The Prince Alfred has one of the few authentic sets of snob screens that still remain in pubs across England - Credit: Chris Redgrave / Historic England Archive

CAMRA’s Pub Heritage Group chairman Paul Ainsworth said: "Times are tough for all pubs at the moment, including those with important historic interiors.

"The more protection they can receive, the better.

"We have been working with Historic England to identify pubs that deserve to be listed, upgraded or have their list descriptions enhanced so that people can truly appreciate why they are special."

Listing. Public House Interiors.The Prince Alfred. 5A Formosa Street and Castellain Road , Maida Va

The main window with curved glass and etched glass at the front of the Prince Alfred on Formosa Street, Maida Vale - Credit: Chris Redgrave