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Latitude: 51.529 / 51°31'44"N
Longitude: -0.0755 / 0°4'31"W
OS Eastings: 533592
OS Northings: 182875
OS Grid: TQ335828
Mapcode National: GBR W6.52
Mapcode Global: VHGQT.MTYR
Entry Name: Ye Olde Axe
Listing Date: 28 May 2008
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1392604
English Heritage Legacy ID: 504938
Location: Hackney, London, E2
Electoral Ward/Division: Haggerston
Built-Up Area: Hackney
Traditional County: Middlesex
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London
Church of England Parish: St Leonard with S Michael, Shoreditch
Church of England Diocese: London
735/0/10223 HACKNEY ROAD
Ye Olde Axe
Public house, late C19, for Edward John Rose and Co. Later alterations.
EXTERIOR: the Queen Anne-style exterior is in red brick with sandstone dressings, a tile-faced ground floor frontage and decorative ironwork. The decoration is concentrated on the façade to Hackney Road, but a corner turret to the left carries some of this interest on to the return, which is otherwise blind (possibly due to its situation overlooking a former burial ground). The turret rises to four storeys and has clock faces in its upper storeys, terminating in a bell-shaped copper dome. The tile-faced pub front, divided into three bays by Ionic three-quarter columns and pilasters, has a curved entablature with decorative border announcing 'No 69 / Ye Olde Axe / 69' and a swan-necked pediment above the central bay complete with garlands of fruit and a festooned urn. The soffit of the entablature is also faced with decorative tiles and indicates that there was once a bow window in the central bay; most of the secondary pub front, i.e. the original timber fenestration and doors, has been replaced. Decorative ironwork runs above the entablature to either side of the pediment and there is also an iron bracket which supports a hanging sign. The upper storeys, where the bays are marked by moulded brick ribs, have mullion and transom windows, all retaining the original glazing. There are decorative terracotta panels between the floors, a dentil cornice and courses of moulded and plain sandstone. A further panel in the gabled parapet above the central bay, along with more fruit and foliage, contains a cartouche depicting an axe and a semi-circular shell in the gable apex. The building is largely blind and without decoration to the left return, aside from a number of mullion and transom windows on the ground floor and in the upper storeys to light the staircase; to the right it abuts a Georgian terrace; to the rear an adjoining building.
INTERIOR: a good degree of survival of original features. Most striking is the moulded plasterwork ceiling, Jacobean in inspiration, with a highly-decorative deep-coved cornice and frieze patterned with lions heads, winged creatures and shells amid swags. A barrel-vaulted section, similarly lavish, running along the side of the bar area and may have originally been the ceiling of a corridor running along the side of the bar, through which individual compartments around the bar were accessed. The space is now divided by four partitions with cut-glass mirrored panels, creating a series of booths; while the arrangement is modern, the fabric of these partitions may be original. The mirrors match those in the back bar, seven cut-glass mirrored panels with the wood entablatures painted with the names of products for sale including 'Ports and Brandies'. These, and the bar with its gantries and light fittings, may also be part of the original decoration although there are indications they have been modified. The floor around the bar is tiled in black and white. To the rear of the bar area is a section entered through a wide arched opening with Composite columns and more decorative plasterwork. This has a recessed alcove to the rear with paired Tuscan columns, half-fluted Ionic columns and other decoration. The ceiling here has a raised moulded band and coved cornice, which would have originally supported a glazed lantern (the lantern, complete with stained glass clerestory, has been moved to the upper storey of the pub where it survives intact); there are also metal light brackets surviving here. There is a second skylight with the same plasterwork in the main pub area and its lantern may survive above later plasterboard. This section is demarked by two slender iron colonettes with Corinthian capitals; there are three others of these elsewhere in the bar area. A small stretch of corridor with decorative ceramic panels at frieze level and a plasterwork ceiling, accessed from the main bar through an opening with decorative keystone, may have been a second entrance to the pub or connected to the side corridor. The toilet block to the rear are not of special interest. The upper floor were only partially inspected but two original stairs, with turned newel posts and balustrades, and a number of panelled doors were observed.
HISTORY: Ye Olde Axe dates from the late C19 although there had been a pub of the same name on the site since at least the 1850s. The Ordnance Survey map of 1877 shows a building on the site with an alley between it and the adjoining Georgian terrace; by the 1896 map the footprint extends to abut the terrace. It is likely that rebuilding took place in the intervening years, something the late C19 'gin palace' style of the building confirms. Initially run by a landlord, the pub was owned by Edward John Rose and Co, wine and spirit merchants, by 1895. The company held a number of pubs in London, a number of which survive, including the Ten Bells, Commercial Street (Grade II), the Jane Shore, Shoreditch High Street and the former Well and Bucket, Bethnal Green Road (Grade II). Several of the firm's pubs were decorated lavishly: the Ten Bells is noted for its attractive tiles and a ceramic panel depicting Jane Shore meeting Edward IV is known to survive in the pub on Shoreditch High Street.
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: Ye Olde Axe Public House is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* special architectural interest for its characterful, red brick Queen Anne-style façade with sandstone and terracotta details, corner turret, decorative gable and swirling ironwork;
* the pub frontage's richness of materials and decoration, which includes the pub's name and street number;
* elaborate Jacobean-style plasterwork ceiling, frieze, coved cornice and skylights, through which the original plan is readable.
This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.
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