The Talbot's future confirmed

Yes, we know we've written similar headlines in the past, but this time we have some detailed news that's confirmed at source and very exciting...

The Talbot is about to receive a major refurbishment from the people behind The Herne and The Palmerston - two outstanding south east London pubs.

Last week, we received an email from BC reader Michael, who told us that Palmerston Partners would be taking over as licensees in January. Coming on the same day that we learned that Portland's plans for Homeview were rejected, we were almost overcome with excitement. Still, we sat on the news until we had had it confirmed.

Fortunately, we spoke with Palmerston this morning, who gave us some details. The necessary caveat is that they are still agreeing terms and finalising their plans for the pub, but they were able to tell us the following:

  • The Talbot will remain "a proper pub" that they hope regulars will still enjoy
  • They want to reflect the character of the area and don't plan to copy either of their other pubs
  • However, it will be given a complete overhaul, including a new kitchen, a refit upstairs, new exterior front and back and work inside to open up the bar area
  • There is also a lot of work to be done on improving the building infrastructure, to bring it up to modern standards
  • The food will be "quality but simple" fare, locally sourced and cooked on the premises
  • They do hope to take over in January 2008, with the new-look pub open by the spring
  • At this point, they are still debating whether to keep the name. They are looking in to its history (if anyone can help here, it would be much appreciated) to see whether it's of any particular significance. The alternative is to rename it, to emphasise that it is a very different proposition from the current place
We sympathise to an extent with those people who currently enjoy The Talbot and worry that a revamp will compromise its appeal, but it will still serve beer (probably better beer, too), you will still be able to talk to your mates and it will still look and feel like a pub. But hopefully, it will be a pub that more than a handful of people will enjoy and one with a long-term future that doesn't involve terminal decline.
We think this is exactly what The Talbot and Brockley need. They didn't use the word gastropub, but that's clearly what the Herne and the Palmerston are and what The Talbot will become. For some, the term is anathema, but they are wrong. And there are plenty of alternatives for those who prefer their food delivered by the lorry load and reheated to order.
The prospective landlords have pledged to keep us up to speed as their plans progress.
Thanks to Michael and to the Palmerston.


James said...

This be massively good news!

Primarily because I live right opposite but also for Brockley as a whole. As long as it retains a bit of old world charm and doesn't become too Pumpkin-Risotto-with-Jus-of-Lychee, it'll be a beezer!

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

Glad to hear the rumours were correct and the news is good.

Any recommendations where I can drink until the work is complete?

Richard Elliot said...

Great news! I live at the St Johns end of Brockley and frankly there isn't a pub in which I want to drink at the moment. (I might just be a wimp, but I also feel unsafe in some too.)

Nick / Jon - you put some serious work into this blog. I'm constantly surprised by the inside scoops you get. Thank you!

Brockley Jon said...


It's all down to Nick. I just sit here and code the odd bit of CSS!

I too live St. John's end, and I have to say the Wickham is a very nice local as long as you avoid karaoke night (although to some I'm sure this is a boon), and I also don't mind the Royal George on Tanners Hill for a cheap pint, although yes I agree with you Richard, that there isn't really anywhere I would be overly proud of just yet.

That's top news about the Talbot, or whatever they call it! Fingers crossed it all goes ahead.

Speaking of food that comes by the lorry load, did anyone see the 'Brockley Foxes' rave review of the Barge in the Broc Soc newsletter!? :-D

MCF said...

WOW - I didn't think it would ever happen... that's really brilliant news.

(BTW great scoop)

hat said...

very exciting - as another st john's ender it will be very nice to have a foodlike pub nearby. Talking of improved pubs - what are people's veiws on the xhanges at the wickham - and their incredible fireworls on sat night...

Anonymous said...

Wow. We moved to the area about 1 year ago and really enjoy living here. In that time we found some great local restaurants (we especially like La Laterna, LYLT Cafe and Meze Mangal). But the addition of something similar to the Herne or the Palmerston would really be fantastic. Fingers crossed it all works out!

Anonymous said...

In the words of Homer Simpson: 'Woo-hoo!'

Vikki said...

Sooper news!

I live opposite too (probably in the same building as James!) so it will really make a big difference to me.

The Talbot is huge inside so I'm sure they have the space to keep everyone happy.

If there is history behind the name Talbot then I'd be in favour of keeping it. Otherwise a new Cardinal Wolsey or Wolsey might be nice - I think there used to be a pub called this somewhere nearby? And he used to own the land that became the conservation area (I think!).

But no trendy nonsense name please.

Luke said...

Brockers used to be fields of the pear and rhubard...hasn't really got the right ring to it, though, huh?

Great, great news.

Can we have Sussex and some nice casks on tap please?

Neanderthal D said...

Don't see any need for a name change. There was a pub called the Wolsley in the area which closed down about ten years ago - it is the building directly across Upper Brockley Road from the Wickham Arms.

The Talbot has needed investment etc. for a good few years now and i am glad to hear that something is happening there because too many pubs have been allowed to get run down and eventually end up being converted into flats.

Hopefully there will be a balance between the food aspect and the wet sales. Sky TV for Football and Rugby, a decent pint of Guinness, a few well kept real ales (maybe with some rotating guest ales), Planter's Dry Roasted Peanuts and a covered area out at the front and/or side of the pub and all will be good.

leenewham said...

Regarding the name, for locals it doesnt matter, for people living elsewhere that may come to it as a 'destination pub' a name change makes it sound like something genuinely has changed. I have friends that live in Sandrock road who like me wont go in there because it looks like a dive (another branding issue!)

As for nuts, i'd go for Liberation peanuts over Planters, they are oven baked, so better for you, and they are Fair trade. They taste great too (I'm working with them now, they are really ethical so this is a shameless plug as they deserve it).

Monkeyboy said...

Those peanuts sound great, who'd have thought that a snack food could save the world.

Sorry, ignore me. I'm having a cynical moment.

The pub sounds great, about time.

Monkeyboy said...

Those peanuts sound great, who'd have thought that a snack food could save the world.

Sorry, ignore me. I'm having a cynical moment.

The pub sounds great, about time.

Brockley Jon said...

Peanuts so good he said it twice.

Give me any brand of nuts but honey roasted - now you're talking!! Why are they so hard to find? Go perfectly with a lager.

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

I think we should call it the 'Bengals & Roquefort' named after, well... me

leenewham said...

ignore who?

Headhunter said...

Interesting, Neanderthal, I had known that the building opposite the Wickham Arms used to be a pub, but hadn't heard the name or anything else about it. Just did a quick internet search and it seems it was called the "Lord Wolsely". Several pub websites still list it as though it is still open as a pub!

Anonymous said...

Those were the days at the Lord Wolsey - locks-ins til eight in the morning! I remember one lock-in (vaguely leaning over the bar and pouring my own pints

Headhunter said...

When did the Wolseley close? According to Google it became flats in about 2003. Amazing that they built 2 pubs right opposite each other! Those Victorians must have loved their drink if there was enough business in the area to support 2 pubs in such cose proximity. Looks like the Wolseley must have had some really nice period features at some point

Anonymous said...

This is good news. I do go in the Talbot from time to time and I've never had any problems whatsoever. It is not a trouble pub, believe me. That said the palmerston is a great pub so to see the Talbot get a bit of similar conditioning is going to be great. Maybe then the local will really be a place to meet more of the people in this area, and I hope the current locals decide to stay too which will be a good thing. A local is all about mixing with people you wouldn't ordinarily meet. Hope all these bloggers agree to meet each other in the new Talbot, peanuts or not!


Anonymous said...

If the Wolesey had period features it wasn't during the last 20 years of it's life, unless you count fake beams, brasses and china plates.
The best thing about it was it's atmosphere, whereas unlike the Wickham at that time, it wasn't full of loud mouthed yobs and didn't have bar staff too busy watching the footie to serve you.

Headhunter said...

Shame it closed down - I've always thought it's quite an impressive looking building. And all those old shops along Upper Brockley... When were they last open? That would have made a great little stretch of boutique shops and cafes (if we all lived in Mayfair)...

Anonymous said...

If my memory serves me, most of them were open until about 10 years ago, not that I remember what they were selling.
I do remember though, when fighting the proposed development between UBR and Malpas, that one of the reasons the council argued at a public meeting for keeping the entrance open into the site from UBR was to enable disabled residents to have easier access to UBR's row of shops; until someone pointed out they were only accessible via steps - a classic!
We held what was probably for the only time in Brockley a demo, and very successful it was too.

Anonymous said...

If they do rename the pub, I'd like for it to be called The Regal Beagle.

Anonymous said...

I hope they'll do lemon scampi fries

Hugh said...

If changing the name, how about Hugh's Retreat?

Anonymous said...

Great news and a fantastic location for them to choose - we'll be down there certainly.

We just moved here and had a really good dinner at La Lanterna the other night - they sponsor some grand prix guy (not that that's relevant to the food).

Anyway, we wanted a house with a good feeling of space and good transport links to the City. We found plenty of tall thin houses up and down on 5 floors which are lovely but which we perosnally don't find give a feeling of space.

I suppose we were quite fussy, in retrospect, and as a result ended up looking this whole year all over London.

There was nowhere to compare with where we've ended up (Hilly Fields end of se4) and we're delighted.

Tyrwhitt michael said...

I don't see how it qualifies as Hugh's retreat when out of the bloggers above, as far as I am aware, only myself and Neanderthal D regularly drink in there.... and we have the long service medals to prove it.

I see nothing wrong with the current name and once it is done up it will be self evident that a new broom has swept through.

If the sign at the bottom of the garden is reinstated - visible from Loampit Hill, but missing since the gales of 1988 - that should help with publicity. A sign with a picture of a large black and white dog on would be great.

Anonymous said...

Hope its true, the Palmerston is my favourite place to eat, though it is rather a long walk, or bus ride away.
It would be nice to spend my time and money in a local, getting to meet other local many people live here but spend evening and weekends going elsewhere for fun...have you noticed how many people get off the train at midnite....where have they all would be nice to meet a few and build up more of a community...a place you can invite all those friends who say where do you live???

Anonymous said...

I heard the Talbot used to be called the Talbot Inn and it can be traced back to the 1800s on a site I found but failed to bookmark.

Anonymous said...

Im pleased to hear the Talbot is safe. A distant relative, Mr John Harrison Sanders, was landlord of the pub (refered to as the Talbot Hotel) in 1901. If anyone has any further info on Mr Sanders, I'd be very happy..will help with my family history. Thanks

Brockley Central Label Cloud