Former Temperance Billiard Hall. Listed Building. Designed by T. G. Somerford. c. 1912-14, 131-41, King's Road and Flood Street, Chelseas, London SW3. Perspective view from across King's Road looking east. [Click on all images to enlarge them.]
The article on this Grade II structure in British Listed Buildings explains that the “seven-bay façade to King's Road is in the flamboyant, free Queen Anne-style typical of Edwardian billiard halls. Of two storeys, it is rendered in rough-cast with exposed banded brickwork and plenty of plasterwork and tile decoration. There are six shops and an entrance at ground floor level and alternate projecting bays above, these accentuated by oversized pediments, brick banding and flamboyant plasterwork in volutes, garlands and cartouches.”
In providing the reasons for preserving 131-41 King's Road, British Listed Buildings explains that is "well-preserved example of one of the architecturally impressive early temperance billiard halls, now quite rare nationally" exemplifies one of Somerford's best buildings of this type. Furthermore, it has “special architectural interest for the eclectic detailing, characterful Queen Anne-style elevations and strong presence in the streetscape . . .[with] abundant surviving decoration including patterned tiles, plasterwork and stained glass." It concludes buy mentioning that it has what it terms “ group value with the adjoining former Chelsea Garage of 1919.” It became an antiques market in the 1960s just as King's Road became very fashionable, and now houses a high-end chain store.
Left: Looking down Flood Street, we see the lower p[art of the building in a very different style, which was originally the 1919 Chelsea Garage. Right: The shallow bay window on the Flood Street façade with beautiful Art Nouveau stained glass. [detail: two panels of the stained glass in this window]
T. G. Somerford was the second architect of a Manchester firm that went onto business in 1906 "at the height of the temperance movement, perhaps in response to the success of the world convention on temperance held in London in the same year" (British Listed Buildings). Norman Evans, Temperance Billiard Hall's first architect, designed a dozen and a half buildings between 1906-1911 including the one at the corner of Fulham High Street and New King's Road, which dates from 1909. Cherry and Pevsner describe this second former Temperance Billiard Hall in the area as having "a large barrel roof, art nouveau glass in its shallow bow windows, and a corner entrance with a dome and glazed tiles, not tall, but with enough presence to confront the King's Arms of 1888, with its busy pedimented windows on the curve of the junction with New King's Road. Lavish glazed terra-cotta trimmed one story extension" (242). The GoogleMaps Street View reveals it to be a much smaller building. With rich irony the building now houses what its own site describes as “a stunning pub located on the historic former site of The Temperance Billiards Hall.”
Photographs, text, and formatting by George P. Landow. [You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. ]
Cherry, Bridget, and Nikolaus Pevsner. London 3: North West. “The Buildings of England.” New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2002.
“Former Temperance Billiard Hall 131-141, Chelsea,” British Listed Buildings. Web. 20 September 2011. [English Heritage Building ID: 504686]
Last modified 29 September 2012