Worryingly it is being marketed by Kalmars in the 'development sites' section of its website. However, there is no reason to think that there is any immediate threat to the Royal Albert. TBAC Ltd signed a 15 year lease for the pub in 2009, so there's another 12 years to go on that (I believe TBAC is associated with Antic who run the pub). Antic are adamant that there is no danger to the pub.
The Royal Albert has a long history stretching back to the mid-19th century. At times it has been an important music venue. In the 1970s Kate Bush was among those who played there. Local band Rubber Johnny, who grew out out of the Albany in Depford, played a Friday night residency there from around 1978-1981. The picture below shows the band playing there, as well as the mural in the pub.
|picture by Steve Golton from a set from this time at Flickr|
|1992 flyer from set of Proles flyers by mdx at flickr|
|Bloc Party at Paradise Bar 2003|
(from set of photos by Paul Madden at flickr)
Although there seems to be no reason to worry now about the future of the Royal Albert, the fact remains that a property developer could buy up the site with a longer term ambition to redevelop it. That is happening to pubs all over the country, including just down the New Cross Road where the recently closed Walpole faces demolition to be replaced by a hotel. Perhaps we shouldn't wait until the places we value are about to shut down before we take action to preserve their future. For a start, anybody can recommend that a building be listed by English Heritage (details here). And there is also the option of getting a pub listed as an 'asset of community value' as Southwark Council have done for the Ivy House in Nunhead.
Update 19th November: just realized that Bill at Deptford Misc has previously researched the history of the pub, starting out with this early history: 'The first recorded mention of the Royal Albert Public House was when Frederick Andrew Hall was granted a license for the premises on 6th September 1848. On the 1851 census Mr Hall is described as a Master Bricklayer aged 47, born in Plumstead employing 10 men; his wife Elizabeth aged 60 was born in Rotherhithe. Three children Betsey 36 , Harriet 23 and George 20 (a Carpenter) are listed along with Ostler John Dickenson 22 and Pot Boy George Runham 14. Apart from Betsey who was born in Rotherhithe (presumeably Elizabeth's daughter by a previous marriage) they were all shown as born in Deptford'. Lots more here: http://deptfordmisc.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/royal-albert-pub-has-stood-on-corner-of.html
A lot of owners, licensees, bar staff and drinkers have passed through since 1848, which only serves to highlight that whoever currently owns old pubs like this really only have temporary custody of them before they pass them on. They shouldn't be able to wipe out decades, even centuries, of continuous social life in pursuit of a short term property deal. But that's exactly what countless owners of these buildings are being allowed to get away with.