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The Black Friar Public House, City of London

Description: The Black Friar Public House

Grade: II*
Date Listed: 5 June 1972
English Heritage Building ID: 199713

OS Grid Reference: TQ3168480948
OS Grid Coordinates: 531684, 180948
Latitude/Longitude: 51.5121, -0.1037

Location: Blackfriars Court, City of London, EC4V 4 EC4V 4EG

Locality: City of London
County: Greater London
Country: England
Postcode: EC4V 4EG

Incorrect location/postcode? Submit a correction!

Listing Text

(North Side)
No 174
(The Black Friar Public Houses)
TQ 3180 NE 14/400 5.6.72


Public house. c1875, remodelled c1905 & 1917 by H Fuller Clark,
architect, & Frederick Callcott & Henry Poole, sculptors. Yellow stock
brick with granite & Portland stone dressings; mosaic, sculpture &
copper panel enrichment. Flat roof with 2 tall chimneys. Roughly
triangular plan on a corner site. 4 storeys & cellars. 1 window to
Queen Victoria Street, 1 to chamfered angle & 3 to New Bridge Street
return. Ground floor public house frontage extends around the building
with segmental arched entrances to both streets & the angle. Transom
& mullion windows with small panes above segmental arched cellar
lights. Above, a deep mosaic fascia carrying the words "Saloon / 174
/ The Black Friar / 174 / Brandies". Fascia interrupted by carved
panels, depicting drinking & devilry, which surmount entrance flanking
piers with bronze directional & advertising panels depicting friars.
Queen Victoria Street entrance with mosaic tympanum of a friar. Above
each entrance an elaborate wrought-iron sign with lamp. Upper floor
windows architraved; those to Queen Victoria Street tripartite with
enriched pediments to 1st & 2nd floor; angle with clock to 1st floor
&enriched segmental pediments to 2nd; New Bridge street with enriched
pediments to 1st & 2nd floor apart from that above entrance with
segmental pediment extending from doorcase. Patterned cast-iron window
guards. Projecting cornice & blocking course. Fine Arts & Crafts
interior clad in variegated marble with brass, mosaic, wood & copper
reliefs. Small, windowless extra rear vaulted room, known as the
Grotto, excavated from a railway vault, designed by Clark in 1913 but
not executed until 1917-21 owing to the war. In the main bar features
include the enriched fireplace recess, framed by a broad tripartite
arch, which encloses corner seats; grate with firedogs surmounted by
imps; overmantle has bronze bas-relief of singing friars entitled
"Carols", flanked by 2 friars' heads with swags above seats. Stained
glass window depicting a friar in a sunlit garden. Above the bar, a
bronze bas-relief entitled "Tomorrow will be Friday" depicting monks
catching trout and eels; above the entrance to the Grotto, a further
relief entitled "Saturday afternoon" depicting gardening monks whose
produce is coloured in enamels. Barrel-vaulted Grotto entered from 3
arcaded arches with bas-relief monks on the pillars. Mosaic vaults
with marble-clad ribs. Features of interest include end walls each
with a bronze relief, one entitled "Don't advertise, tell a gossip"
with a group of monks doing the weekly wash, the other entitled "A
good thing is soon snatched up" depicting monks pushing a trussed pig
in a wheelbarrow. On the cornice below, devils representing music,
drama, painting & literature. Side walls have 6 alabaster capitals
illustrating nursery rhymes, 16 smaller capitals illustrating Aesop's
Fables & mottoes such as "Haste is slow" in good electro-gilt letters
by the Birmingham Guild. 4 lamp brackets with alabaster figures of
Morning, Evening, Noon and Night holding up a bronze monk with water
buckets. Extra at one end with a relief entitled "Contentment
surpasses riches" depicting a sleeping monk surrounded by fairies,
executed with mother of pearl and semi-precious stone inlay. The
"window" below with red marble colonettes is an arrangement of
mirrors. Further mirrors in the Grotto enhance the small space.

Listing NGR: TQ3168480948

This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.