Mar i Terra, Gambia Street, SE1

Here is the bar and tapas restaurant “Mar i Terra”, cosily tucked away in a back street near Southwark Station.

“Mar i Terra” Gambia Street SE1, sketched from Scoresby Street. 7″ x 9″ in Sketchbook 12.

There are magnificent Victorian railway arches looping all around, and 21st century buildings in the background, but this building stands defiantly, self-contained and functional.

The restaurant is open Tuesday to Sunday for dinner. It also serves lunch on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I was sketching it on a Wednesday so I sought lunch elsewhere, and discovered the wonderful “Origin Coffee” in Scoresby Street.

According to their website “Mar i Terra” has been serving the people of the neighbourhood since the year 2000. Up until 1999 this building was “The Hop Pole” pub.

The Hop Pole in about 1972. Image from “”

According to the “Pub History” site, victuallers were recorded at this site in 1791. So it was a pub for nearly 200 years.

Here is work on progress on the drawing.


  • Sky: Ultramarine Blue and Cobalt teal blue
  • Brickwork: Mars Yellow with some Fired Gold Ochre
  • Greys and blacks: Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Umber
  • Green paintwork: Serpentine Genuine moderated with Cobalt Teal Blue
  • Graffiti added with a red crayon

Here’s an image from the Pub History website. I can just read that the notice on the big window says “Luncheon Room”. So the Mar i Terra continues the tradition, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The railway bridge behind, on the right of the photo, is still there, too, as well as many of the features of the front of the pub. Amazingly, the door layout seems to have endured. Is that Mrs H Thomas standing behind the door on the left?

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