The Paxton Arms, Palace Road (1857 – )

Paxton Arms Hotel pub

As Palace Road has been completely rebuilt since the late 1970’s, the only original building part of the road is The Paxton Arms Hotel pub, and as evidenced in newspaper articles, was in existence by 1857 and stands on the corner with Anerley Hill (No 52), opposite Crystal Palace Station Road, with stabling and a coach house at the rear in Palace Road.

This pub suffered the impact of German bombing in 1944 and didn’t reopen until 1955.  It closed as a pub in 2013 and is now the Paxton Centre Community Arts Space.

Some of the licensed occupiers include:-

1861 Census

James Careless (Bn 1818 D September 1871) occupied the Paxton Arms (by 1858), and is on the 1861 Census aged 43, with his wife, Diana (aged 39 Bn 1822 D1892) their two sons, Charles (aged 3) and Frederick (aged 3 months), Emma Hibberd  sister-in-law (aged 22), Elizabeth Maxwell (aged 23) Barmaid, Fanny Rowley (aged 18) Barmaid, Mary Ann Welton (aged 20) Barmaid, William Lucas (aged 19) Writer, William Reeves (aged 21) Postman, Matilda Frances (aged 55 Widow) Lodger/Land Owner, Julia Trention (aged 57 Bn France) Land Owner

When James and Diana married on 10 April 1857, James and his father James, had been Wine Merchants.  Diana’s father William Hibberd had been a Brewer.

In 1870, the pub was For Sale by Auction on 25 July that year.

On the 1881 Census, is Mary A Roberts, Widow (aged 37) (Bn 1844 Somerset).  There is also a Boarder, John Conner (aged 25 from Guildford) whose occupation is an Army Sergeant.  She has a Barman, Harry Shires (aged 27 from Guildford) and a Potman, William Simmons (aged 18 from Essex).

From 1898 to at least 1920, Fanny Laura Wernham (née Smetham) (Bn 1873 Winchester D1954 aged 80) was the Licensed Victualler.  Her father James (Bn 1836 D1889) was an Ostler/Bootmaker, and her mother Emma (Bn 1844 D1915) a Laundress.

She married Thomas George Wernham (B1871 Aldershot D1904) in 1892.

In 1911, now a Widow, Fanny Laura was still in occupation at The Paxton Arms.  Resident with her was her mother Emma Smetham, Widow aged 64 (Bn 1841Norfolk), daughter Lillian Florence (aged 17 Bn St Giles Bloomsbury, London) Barmaid, twin sons Thomas George (Bn 1903 Penge) who in 1939 was a Stenographer and Radio Engineer and Horace Paxton (Bn 1903 Penge ), also Barmaids Rose Wilson (aged 17 Bn Sydenham) and Jenny Holden (aged 17 Bn Hemel Hempstead).

On 21 October 1899, she was mentioned in the Norwood News regarding the 44th Anniversary of the Kennel Club at the Crystal Palace:

‘Mrs Wernham of the Paxton Arms, as a Local Exhibitor, with her Fox Terrier’.

She remarried in 1919 to Ernest Matthewson (Bn 1865 Rotherhithe D1929 aged 64).  They lived at 23 Waldegrave Road.

In 1891, aged 26, Ernest had been living at 31 Palace Road with his widowed mother and younger sister, Ada.  His occupation was ‘Inventor of Machines’.  On the 1901 Census, he had moved to 32 Waldegrave Road with his mother and two sisters, Ellen and Ada.  His occupation ‘an Inventor’.

The Paxton Arms in 1940s and 1950s (source Facebook)

Paxton Arms – Beano (source facebook)

Paxton Arms Hotel Bomb Damage

During WW2 in 1944, The Paxton Arms Hotel received bomb damage.  A large sign once displayed in the place of the corner entrance in later years, stated the heroics of a local young man:-


It was the summer of 1944 when one of Germany’s V1 flying bombs landed about halfway down Anerley Hill and put the Paxton Arms out of business.

At the time, a young man, John Markham, was enjoying a drink.  He finished his pint and helped rescue survivors from nearly houses.

Eleven years later, on 28 December 1955, Mr Markham was the first to enjoy a drink when the pub re-opened after being extensively rebuilt by Taylor Walker.

This sign has recently either been painted over, or removed which replicated the information on an earlier sign.

Original Paxton Arms war damage sign

The Paxton Arms Hotel today (now the Paxton Centre, Community Arts Space),the only original building that is part of Palace Road, on the corner with Anerley Hill [courtesy of J Ray-Heard]

The Paxton Arms Hotel on the corner of Palace Road and Anerley Hill 2021 The gap between The Paxton Arms and the new-build behind, once housed the stabling [courtesy of J Ray-Heard]

Advertisements from the Norwood News for the Paxton Arms

Morning Advertiser, Monday, 26 July 1858


and Paxton Arms, Anerley will, as usual,

SUPPLY REFRESHMENTS in every part of the GRANDSTAND and also the Public Bar

at the back, to those who do not enter the enclosure.

A list of prices will be fixed in every part of the establishment.  J.C has no connection with the booths on the embankment and will be happy to see his friends at Brighton Grandstand on the 4 August.

London Evening Standard, Thursday, 4 April 1861

CRYSTAL PALACE – Excursionists and Visitors will find the PAXTON ARMS HOTEL, Anerley, immediately opposite the station and platform. 

Cold Luncheons in great variety.  Wines, Spirits, Ales, Stout, &c., of the very best quality at moderate prices.  Visitors before entering, or leaving the Palace will find this a great saving and accommodation – JAMES CARELESS, Proprietor

Norwood News, Saturday, 24 April 1869


Opposite the Crystal Palace Station

Has the best BILLIARD TABLE and the largest and best appointed BILLIARD ROOM in the neighbourhood.  The marker (late of the Crystal Palace Billiard Room),

solicits the patronage of his former customers.

The late lamented accident in the Billiard Room, at the Paxton Arms,

opposite the Crystal Palace Station, by which a well-known gentleman lost his life.

It appears, from enquiries made of the marker, that a party of gentlemen had been playing a game of Pool on that splendid table, by Thurston, with various success,when Mr Simkin and Mr Brown were left with one life each,and by a clumsy stroke Mr Simkins made a slip with his cue,so losing his life by an accident.

Kentish Mercury, Saturday, 8 September 1877



With stabling and coach house in the rear and directly opposite the newly-built Crystal Palace Railway Station, into which thousands of people pour daily from all parts of London, a great number of whom come out immediately facing this house.

These premises are massively built of modern construction, having every accommodation and convenience for carrying out an hotel trade.

Cards to view may be had at of the Auctioneer; and printed particulars had of

Messrs Boulton and Sons, solicitors, 21A Northampton Square, Clerkenwell; at the place of Sale; and of the Auctioneer, 19 Tooley Street, London Bridge, S. E.

Norwood Essex Herald – Saturday, 1 August 1885

WANTED, immediately, a Good GENERAL SERVANT who can do good plain cooking, for the Paxton Arms, Anerley Road, Upper Norwood, Surrey

Sporting Life, Monday, 6 October 1902




750 np Withers with 150 start

THURSDAY, October 9  Commencing at 7.0p.m


Proprietor, T.G. Wernham