‘Cherished’ local pub that was unlawfully demolished rises again

Published: Thursday 28th June 18

A historic public house in Battersea that was unlawfully demolished has risen from the rubble and been restored back to its original Victorian-era splendour after the council took legal action to force the developer to rebuild it.

The Alchemist pub in St John’s Hill was knocked down without planning permission in the summer of 2015 – prompting the council to issue the developer with an enforcement notice requiring him to rebuild it brick-by-brick.

Now rebuilt

This process has now been completed and the building restored in all its former glory to once again form a prominent landmark in this part of Battersea.

Planning chairman Cllr Will Sweet said: “This is excellent news and testament to the council sticking to its guns and insisting on the building’s complete restoration.

“The loss of this interesting and important historical local landmark was a real blow to the area that we felt could only be put right by its complete reconstruction, using the same materials and to the same architectural design.

The building was torn down without consent 

“The building is an integral part of the St John’s Hill Grove conservation area which why we were determined to take action to ensure it would be restored for future generations.”

The Alchemist was formerly known as the Fishmonger’s Arms and dates back to the late nineteenth century.

The building’s important contribution to the area was highlighted in a conservation area assessment which noted that its single storey entrance provides “a break in the otherwise long continuous facade. The Alchemist is a three storey rendered building, larger than the others in this part of the conservation area and in use as a public house. It is a symmetrical building divided into three bays with rendered pilasters framing each bay and a deep bracketed cornice at eaves level which adds a richness of architectural detail. Windows to second floor are timber sashes whereas at first floor French windows open out to a tiny roof terrace above the slightly projecting ground floor frontage”.

In council documents prepared for the legal action against the developer the building was described as “a cherished heritage asset making an important contribution to the townscape of the conservation area”.

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Recent comments

Brilliant. So glad the council stood it`s ground.
Annie Bland

25 August 2018

Does anyone remember the 1950s pub 'The Plough' on St John's Hill? I don't think it was listed and was demolished about y. 2000. It has been rebuilt as a much bigger, posher pub. I couldn't believe it when I saw it being demolished. I walked past and saw beautiful ceramic tile artwork smashed up on the floor. A picture of shire horses pulling a plough, another of the plough constellation. I thought of asking the builder if I could cart it off but it was much too heavy

31 July 2018

I do not believe the Restoration of the Pub report is entirely correct. I have gone past this site almost every day during its construction. What I noticed is only the front 3 Pillars resembles the original Pillars. The rear section is not built brick by brick it is a modern construction.

2 July 2018

Put my name down to protest Heathrow expansion plans. I am fed up with the aircraft noise and pollution that is happening now. We don't want any more of the same.
Peter C Keen

30 June 2018

This warms my heart. How brilliant of Wandsworth Council to take action and force the developer to rebuild. The developer, no doubt, thought he was bypassing proper channels. I commend the Council members.
Rosemary Caruso

30 June 2018

Thank you, is excellent NEWS! What about the PRINCE OF WALES at BALHAM NEW ROAD and CAVENDISH ROAD corner. They have made it impossible for it to be rented as a PUB so that it can be turned into FLATS if it is not rented. What is the latest news on that please?
Walton Nangle

29 June 2018

Absolutely delighted but more needs to be done to protect many of our pubs and other decent buildings from both neglect and greedy developers.
Tim Walker

29 June 2018

Well done, Wandsworth BC!
Anthony Ogg

29 June 2018

Magnificent decision and outcome - and a great and expensive lesson for greedy developers who might be prepared to flout planning laws. Well done Wandsworth Council.
John Williams

29 June 2018

Handsome and well worth the council's insistence. Will the building in Garratt Lane, opposite Floreat School, be demolished as threatened? Currently scaffolding shows it to be having some sort of facelift rather than demolition.
Celia Blair

28 June 2018