Georgian Group about the Imbibe pub


January 20, 2013 by Juha Repo

We have received the objections made by The Georgian Group to a previous proposal to redevelop 173 Blackfriars Road, which houses the Imbibe bar at the moment.

The pub has been previously know as The King’s Head, read more here and also in a thread on the LondonSE1 forum here.

The Georgian Group is the national charity dedicated to preserving Georgian buildings and gardens and they have opposed a previous proposed development on the site, that would have seen the old pub replaced by a 7-story building, and they have kindly let us share the extensive objection.

The Georgian Group is also following the situation and is going to have the same position regarding the new proposal by Linden Homes.

Thanks to caseworker Stuart Taylor at The Georgian Group.

The Georgian Group objection on 173 Blackfriars Road:

The Group was recently made aware of the above application and we have the following objections.

173 Blackfriars Road

173 Blackfriars Road is currently in use a public house and is likely to have formed part of the Corporation of London’s 18th century vision for a new approach road, via a new river crossing at Blackfriars Bridge, to the city from the south. This vision can still be read through the few remaining buildings from the mid18th century, most notably the houses 74-88 on the west side and the recently saved buildings at St. George’s Circus, by engineer Robert Mylne and now being restored by London South Bank University. It is The Group’s opinion, based on a desk based assessment of the elevations, that this building forms part of that original vision, albeit refaced in the early 19th century. The building offers a useful visual connection between the 18th century the 19th centuries, in terms of design, and is one of the most positive contributors to this stretch of Blackfriars Road. 173 Blackfriars Road is unlisted but of good local character.


It is proposed to demolish the building to enable the development of a seven storey tower block.

The Group objects to the demolition of 173 Blackfriars Road on the grounds that it is an undesignated heritage asset that is a positive contributor to the public realm. The retention of this building is in line with Southwark Council’s and Transport for London’s aspirations to regenerate this corridor as a quality gateway into the city, as first envisaged by The City in the 18th century. The road is currently characterised by disparate developments that have a neutral contribution to the public realm and the retention of historic assets is one way that the street’s significance can be enhanced. Notwithstanding that Southwark Council’s Bankside, Borough and London Bridge Draft SPD is currently in
abeyance, we consider it to be at least a material consideration. The SPD states that Blackfriars Road ‘currently lacks definition’ (P38) and that this should be improved by creating a sense of enclosure, with uniform building heights along street frontages: ‘Blackfriars Road should avoid appearing as a wall of development within local views of the area’ (P38). The SPD states ‘Building heights vary in Blackfriars Road North, but the predominant building height over much of the building area is three to five storeys. Generally,
development should aim to provide consistent building heights along streets to create consistent building lines’ (P38). The current proposals are to demolish a historic building of positive character, and three storeys high, and replace it with a seven storey tower; this cannot be considered to be in accordance with the SPD. Lastly, the plan recommends that frontages should be designed to encourage people to ‘visit and linger’; the existing pub/restaurant, which retains the character of a traditional pub, is likely to achieve this to a greater
extent than the proposed commercial tower PPS 5 offers some protection for undesignated heritage assets:

Some non-designated assets, such as buildings of good local character or sites of archaeological interest, are of heritage significance but not at a level that would pass the threshold for national designation. Such assets can, singularly and collectively, make an important, positive contribution to
the environment. The desirability of conserving them and the contribution their setting may make to their significance is a material consideration, (Para. 83)


The Group recommends that application 11/AP/1972 is refused on the grounds that it will result in the demolition of a building of good local character within an area defined by a draft SPD as being in need of environmental improvements. We consider the current proposals to be in conflict with aim of this SPD.


2 thoughts on “Georgian Group about the Imbibe pub

  1. […] Whether Charles Dickens would actually also have seen the pub, formerly called the King’s Head, and which Linden Homes now wants to demolish while walking through the area, is not known. But the pub definitely stood there in Charles Dickens’ lifetime, with first publican records going back to 1839. […]

  2. […] current pub operation in the 18th century pub building closed down in October and it seems that the building was occupied quite soon after […]

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