The Princess Louise was carefully restored to her original Victorian layout, thanks to Yorkshire brewer Samuel Smith. They bucked the trend and went for restoration instead of refurbishment and lavished a fortune on their flagship London pub. The Princess was not been merely made-over, but completely rejuvenated. The most notable change was the discreet cubicles, removed decades ago, but now replaced, their polished hardwood frames show off the brilliant, sparkling etched and cut glass panels. Now she looks her old self.
Named in honour of Queen Victoria’s fourth daughter, she was built in 1872, and refitted in 1891 by architect Arthur Chitty. He employed the finest craftsmen of the age; tiles by Simpson & Sons, glasswork by Morris & Son and joinery, thought to be by Lascelles. Every inch of wall is covered in the finest cut and gilt mirrors, beautifully decorated tiles, richly ornate plasterwork and highest quality joinery. Even the toilets are a work of art. This huge pub is a testament to the skills of those Victorian craftsmen.
There are a mere handful of London pubs that can be called gems, the Red Lion, The Argyll Arms, the George Inn, for example, but the Princess Louise now shines brighter than ever. This treasure-house is irreplaceable and it seems inconceivable that there were once plans to pull this exquisite pub down. It is Grade II* listed.