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Prince Of Orange
Picture source: Darkstar
The Prince Of Orange was situated at 118 Lower Road.
This pub has now been converted to flats.
Source: Terry Buck
The pub was named for the heir to the Dutch
throne, William, the Prince of Orange (6 December 1792 – 17 March 1849) who
became King William II of the Netherlands in 1840. Prior to inheriting the
throne he had been a key player in the Napoleonic Wars, serving with the
British Army from 1811 and becoming Aide de Camp to the Pince Regent in
1812, before being promoted to Major General in 1813, then to Lieutenant
Colonel and then General. He fought at the Battle of Waterloo on 18th June
1815, where he was wounded He was affectionately known by the Duke of
Wellington's staff as "Slender Billy." Although it doesn't have much to do
with this story, a nice little factoid is that the Prince of Orange once
travelled by train from London Bridge to Greenwich through Bermondsey, on
the viaduct designed by Colonel George Landmann, shortly before the London
and Greenwich Railway opened in 1836.
The Prince of Orange pub was opened in 1859 as a beer house, and the
building is clearly Victorian. Stuart Rankin (Walk C) says that Orange Place
appears in Parish Registers in 1810, so it looks as though the pub might
have been named for the street rather than the more usual practice of naming
a road after a pub. The same thing happened with Trinity Church in
Rotherhithe's Downtown, where the church was named after Trinity Street, on
which it was built in the mid 1800s. The prince, however, was only 17 in
1810, so the matter remains unclear. The pub gained its full licensed status
in 1874. Orange Place was marked on the 1868 Ordnance Survey map, and
terminated where it met Southwark Park. Immediately to the east of the pub
was a short, narrow road which is not provided with a name on the 1868 map,
but was probably built at the same time as the pub for deliveries. The road
opposite, now Hoath Place, was Portland Place at that time, and both were
flanked by terraced housing, as was Lower Road. By 1894 the service road for
the pub had been replaced by a narrow building on the other side of which a
church was established (I haven't figured out which one but it is now no
longer there), Portland Place was now Hothfield Place, and tram rails had
been laid along Lower Road, with a tram service passing in front of the pub.
Its landlord for some of the 1920s was Albert Matthew Mimms who remained
until he died in 1933.
It was well known in the mid 1970s and 80s for being a popular live jazz
venue, and amongst those who played there were (the links go to external
sites) a teenage Jools Holland, the band Loose Tubes, who had their first
gig at the Prince of Orange in 1984 (and whose 30th anniversary at Ronnie
Scott's), Andy Graham, Chris Barber's Jazz and Blues Band, The Big Beer
Band, and the short-lived but endearingly named Whip the Minister. For
reasons unknown, perhaps a change in musical preferences amongst the
surrounding population, it ceased to be popular and although it revived
briefly as a gay venue in the 90s, it eventually closed.
Fortunately, it was converted into apartments, in the late 1990s, its name
changed to Prince of Orange Court, and the conversion was very sympathetic
to the exterior architecture, which was restored, retains the Prince of
Orange title that was built into it, and looks terrific. The second floor
was extended at the rear of the building to provide additional residential
space, and this too was done very sympathetically, completely in keeping
with the architecture of the reset of the building.
Andie Byrnes (January 2016)
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