If drinking was a religion then this would be its temple. Half pub, half church, that's the impression when entering, but the stained glass windows do not tell stories of saints but of British champions, from sportsmen to explorers to pioneers.
Unremarkable on the outside, this Victorian pub is classic in its design, a large lantern hangs from the corner of the building. The interior is nice enough, chequered tile floor, lots of dark wooden partitions and fittings, and comfortable seating.
But there's no ignoring the stained glass windows. Samuel Smith's took over the pub in the early eighties after it had fallen into disrepair for a second time. They commissioned York artist Anne Sotheran to create this homage to British champions, some world renowned, others obscure even in their own era.
W.G. Grace, Florence Nightingale and David Livingstone, are set amongst less famous, but justly deserving champions such as Captain Matthew Webb, the first person to swim the English Channel; 'Young' Thomas Morris, champion Scottish golfer who died aged 24 and toboganning champion Bertie Dwyer who won the Grand National twice at St. Moritz in the 1890's.
Generally a cool and calm hideaway from the bustle of Oxford Street. Food is reasonably priced, pub grub style, e.g. ploughman's, roast veg quiche or sausages in red wine. No real ales but some good bottles of interesting beers.
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