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Decision Summary

This building has been assessed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest. The asset currently does not meet the criteria for listing. It is not listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended.

Name: Former Butts Public House

Reference Number: 1461143


Newington Butts, London, SE1 6TE

The building may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Greater London Authority
District: Southwark
District Type: London Borough
Parish: Non Civil Parish

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Decision Date: 23-Oct-2018


Summary of Building

A public house, converted to a restaurant. Designed by Boissevain and Osmond, completed in 1965 and refitted as a restaurant in about 2003.

Reasons for currently not Listing the Building

The former Butts Public House, Elephant and Castle, of 1965 with remodelling in the early C21, is not listed for the following principal reasons:

Degree of Architectural interest:

* it has limited architectural interest and this has been further diminished by additions and alterations since its building.

Degree of Group value:

* although the former pub is in proximity to the Metropolitan Tabernacle, the Michael Faraday Memorial and the former Alexander Fleming House (now Metro Central Heights) (all Grade II) this does not confer special interest on such an altered building.


The marshy land, known as St George’s Fields was gradually developed in the C18 with a mixture of housing and institutional buildings, as was the area to its east, called Newington Butts, which included the start of the coaching road to Kent. The area became a transport hub in the C19 and was renamed Elephant and Castle, apparently after a coaching inn which stood there. The railway arrived in 1863 and the Underground in 1890 with the Northern Line, supplemented by the extension to the Bakerloo Line in 1906.

The area became known as the ‘Piccadilly of South London’ in the later C19 and early C20, with a department store, theatre and cinemas, as well as pubs. Redevelopment was first considered in the 1930s by the London County Council (LCC), but nothing came of it. Bombing in the war caused much destruction, and the LCC bought up land in the area, initially to provide parking during the Festival of Britain. The area was declared a Comprehensive Development Area (as allowed by the Town and Country Planning Act of 1947). A new road layout was implemented in the late 1950s, and this caused the demolition of further buildings, including the original Elephant and Castle pub which was set on a triangular island site. Two, large new roundabouts were created to join the many roads which converge here. In 1956 the LCC Planning Committee announced redevelopment over a site extending to thirty acres.

This scheme, drawn up by the LCC Planner, Walter Bor, included a space of three acres for a large shopping centre, to be set to the east of the short roadway that joined the two new roundabouts. This was offered through a competition to private developers and their architects. Retail space could be between 100,000 and 130,000 square feet in extent and there were to be a restaurant and two public houses (one of which was to be built into the shopping centre, and the other, the former Butts, free standing). Office space was a requirement, and so were advertising screens on the main façade, in an attempt to reassert the Elephant and Castle as the ‘Piccadilly of the South’.

In the proposal for development of the Elephant and Castle published by the LCC in 1956 (see SOURCES) the pub site was identified as one of the five offered for disposal and available on a ground lease. It is described thus: 'The Northern Line underground station will remain in its present position, and a small group of shops is shown to adjoin it. The counterpart building to the south of the site may be found suitable for a business such as that of a restaurant.'

In the event, the building of the shopping centre was decided by a competition in which entries were to be submitted jointly by a combination of developer and architect. The LCC received 36 entries, several of which came from well-known practices, such as Richard Seifert, Owen Luder, John Burnett and Tait. Five of these were short listed, including one from Erno Goldfinger, who was then building Alexander Fleming House (now Metro Heights) on the opposite side of the New Kent Road. The eventual winners were Paul Boissevain (1922-2014) and Barbara Osmond (1922-1975), a team of husband and wife, in combination with the Willett group as developers. Their practice had established itself with near-wins in international competitions, including Sydney Opera House (placed third, 1957) and the northern extension to the National Gallery (placed second, 1958-1959). Although they had no direct experience of designing a shopping mall, Boissevain had toured the United States and may well have been aware of the out-of town malls being built there.

The Elephant and Castle mall opened in March 1965. Had it been finished to time in 1963 it would have been the first enclosed example of a shopping mall in the United Kingdom. Delays with construction meant that the Bull Ring in Birmingham opened in May 1964 and is considered to be the first completed shopping mall, although designed after the Elephant and Castle.

It seems that the Butts Public House was originally intended to be called The Elephant and Castle, in commemoration of the pub which had stood nearby and gave its name to the area. It was referred to as such when the winner of the competition was announced (see SOURCES, Official Architecture and Planning). However the name seems to have changed by the time that the building was completed and it is shown with its new name in photographs taken in 1965. The building continued as a pub until it was converted to a restaurant in about 2000.


A public house, converted to a restaurant. Designed by Boissevain and Osmond, completed in 1965 and refitted as a restaurant in about 2003.

MATERIALS and PLAN: the building is of brick, clad with rectangular tiles laid horizontally to the exterior, and with aluminium-framed, plate-glass windows. The tiles, which were originally brown, have been overpainted. The felted roof is flat. The building is of two floors, with a beer cellar and placed adjacent to the pavement, so that only the first floor appears above ground on the west and south sides and the ground floor is in the moat which surrounds the shopping centre.

EXTERIOR: the western side is of one, upper storey and has an entrance doorway at left approached up steps from the pavement. To the right of this is tiled walling. A fascia board at the top of the wall surrounds the building. The south side has a large window at left and tiled walling to the right. The north and east sides both have a door at left with a first floor window immediately above.

INTERIOR: the ground floor has a food bar to the north side. The dogleg staircase with metal handrail and (painted) hardwood midrail appears to be original.

Selected Sources


National Grid Reference: TQ3197978923

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This copy shows the entry on 02-Jul-2022 at 02:25:25.