- Historic England celebrates great pubs with new listings across the country
- Rare and overlooked buildings now protected- listing acknowledges they are essential part of our common identity, helping to tell the country’s story
- Recently-demolished Carlton Tavern was among those researched and earmarked for listing
- For images of the newly listed pubs go to http://bit.ly/1NcXY8U
From the Daylight Inn in Kent, named for a local resident who campaigned for daylight saving, to a Landlady’s labour of love in Scunthorpe, Historic England’s research has led to 21 inter-war pubs being listed by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. This follows Historic England’s project to understand and protect some of England’s best pubs built between 1918 and 1939.
The pubs, most listed at Grade II and one upgraded to II*, are much loved local landmarks shaped by the “improved pub” movement that followed the First World War. Between 1918 and 1939 breweries across the country rebuilt thousands of pubs, spurred on by the need to appeal beyond their usual male clientele and leave behind the image of drunkenness associated with Victorian and Edwardian pubs.
By creating bigger, better pubs with restaurants, gardens and community meeting spaces, breweries aimed to attract more respectable customers, to appeal to families and particularly women. The 21 listed following Historic England’s research are the best surviving examples of this fascinating time in the history of a building type which is stitched into the fabric of English culture.
Among the new listings is The Berkeley Hotel in Scunthorpe which, unusually, was commissioned, decorated and run by pub landlady, Edith Kennedy. Further afield in Birmingham is The Black Horse, dubbed by architect Basil Oliver as “one of the most sumptuous inns in the district, if not England” now upgraded to Grade II*. Also listed is the Royal Oak, on the doorstep of the famous Columbia Road Flower market in Hoxton and called an “early pub” because it serves market traders from 9am on Sundays. It is also a sought-after filming location, often the backdrop in BBC TV series ‘Goodnight Sweetheart’, and played a starring role in British gangster film ‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’.
Heritage Minister Tracey Crouch said: “These inter-war pubs are more than a slice of living history, they play an intrinsic role in English culture and our local communities. I’m delighted that these pubs and their fascinating history have been protected for generations to enjoy for years to come.”
Emily Gee, Head of Listing at Historic England said: “This national project, the first of its kind, has surveyed the increasingly threatened and much loved inter-war public house, allowing us to identify, understand and protect the most special examples. And what better way to champion the best of our locals than by raising a pint glass to these architectural beacons of English community life now celebrated on the National Heritage List.”
At least 5000 pubs were built during the inter-war years but they are a sadly overlooked and threatened building type, with very few surviving today. One of the pubs researched through this project and earmarked for listing was the Carlton Tavern in Kilburn, recently demolished without warning before it could be protected. These buildings are important social spaces which have stood at the hearts of communities for decades. Listing offers them protection but also acknowledges that they are an essential part of our common identity and help to tell our country’s story.
For images of the newly listed pubs go to http://bit.ly/1NcXY8U
Details of several pubs listed through Historic England’s research project:
The Black Horse is one of the finest examples of inter-war pubs in the country, with no equal in size, ambition or quality. It was built by Birmingham brewery Davenport’s who already ran a successful home delivery service called Beer at Home, so to draw customers to the Black Horse, Davenport’s aimed to offer a real destination, a sense of occasion and escapism. The result was a pub which offered a focus for social life, from lunches to dances, to meetings for societies. It is a beautiful example of the Brewer’s Tudor style, executed using traditional methods and with its high quality of craftsmanship it embodies the best of the Birmingham Arts and Crafts tradition.
The Berkeley Hotel was commissioned by Edith Kennedy who in a highly unusual collaboration developed the pub in partnership with brewery Samuel Smith, decorated it and eventually ran it with her husband. The local newspaper said of the resulting building, with its Art Deco influences and beautiful fittings-“allied to the skill of architect and builder…is a woman’s taste”. It is a fine and incredibly in-tact example of a “roadhouse” pub which was the peak of the inter-war “improved” pub movement, designed with a large car park to attract both local and visiting customers.
This pub was named for nearby resident William Willett, who campaigned tirelessly for daylight saving, finally introduced after his death in 1916. It was the only pub in the district for several decades and soon became a central communal space for people who lived in Petts Wood, largely due to its range of useful spaces including an impressive ballroom. Built by Charringtons, one of the most prolific brewers in the “improved” pub movement with 170 builds across the country, it is a rare survival of the brewer’s chief architect Sidney Charles Clark- a prolific pub architect.
Several of the newly listed pubs were built by Truman’s Brewery, based in East London and founded in 1666. Truman’s were especially enthusiastic in building “improved” pubs during the inter-war years, with 151 projects across England:
On the doorstep of the famous Columbia Road Flower market in Hoxton, the Royal Oak is called an “early pub” because it serves market traders from 9am on Sundays. It is also a sought-after filming location thanks to its authentic feel and surrounding cobbled streets. Inside, this pub embodies Truman’s style and the key characteristics of the “improved pub” movement which rejected the opulence of turn of the century gin palaces in favour of plain wood panelling and simple decoration.
Designed by the brewery’s chief architect A E Sewell, the Georgian style of this pub gives it a refined air, neatly reflecting the brewer’s intentions of giving pubs a more respectable reputation. Its surviving lounge and dining room show the suburban, middle class drinkers that Truman’s hoped to attract in inter-war Stoke Newington. The Rose and Crown, like the Royal Oak, is one of only a few pubs in existence to still have its special ceiling made of vitrolite- a material used to encourage better hygiene and defy the popular image of the pub as a murky establishment.
Just down the road from Truman’s Black Eagle brewery on Brick Lane, and emblazoned with the rare “Truman’s” neon lighted sign, the Golden Heart is a stately pub also designed by A E Sewell. During the 1980s and 90s it became associated with the artistic and cultural vibrancy of Spitalfields and was the local for artists such as Tracey Emin and Sarah Lucas. The landlady, Sandra Esquilant, was voted one of the hundred most influential people in the art world in 2002.
A plain exterior belies the high quality of this pub’s interior. The Stag’s Head is one of the most complete examples of Truman’s “house style” with its original, long curving bar and brick fireplaces. An important and rare survival is the off-sales department which was set slightly away from the main area of the pub and allowed customers to buy drinks they could take away from the premises. It is a small, simple pub which served the workers at the nearby warehouses, factories, wharves and neighbouring housing estates.
This pub stands close to the heart of Brixton, near the market and Electric Avenue, London’s first electrically-lit street. It has survived almost unchanged over the years and many of the characteristics distinctive of Truman’s style remain, from its leaded stained glass windows to its almost intact off-sales section. In its inventory of heritage pubs, CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) pay particular attention to the garden, noting it as a good example of how inter-war pub builders wanted to encourage “not just hardened drinkers but couples and families who might enjoy sitting out in good weather”.
This was one of the most ambitious and expensive pubs built by Truman’s, for richer customers in Surrey. Around 20 specialist firms were employed to build the pub and no details were forgotten, from plaster wall panels decorated with birds and oak trees, to the wooden roof beams, carved with laughing or grimacing faces. It was designed in the Brewer’s Tudor style- a distinctive type of pub design during this period, intended to evoke fond feelings for “merrie England” and to embody the traditional idea of the cosy, hospitable English inn.
Pubs built by other breweries
There has been a Duke William pub on this site since the early 1800s and the building we see today has survived well since being rebuilt in 1929, even the majority of the original windows remain. Inside it feels like a traditional local pub with its warm wood panelling and detailed fireplaces. We can also still experience the original, well considered layout, including the central bar which allowed the landlord to supervise all areas of the pub simultaneously, keeping an eye out for any raucous behaviour.
The day The Wheatsheaf opened, according to local Frank Baumber, a great crowd of ale drinkers, lured by the promise of a free pint of ale, were met by campaigners who sang and preached, warning against entering the “House of the Devil”. It was this popular image of the pub that breweries were committed to defying with the “improved” pub movement. An important and rare surviving feature at the Wheatsheaf is its bowling green: recreational facilities were a key element of “improved” pubs as breweries tried to attract a wider range of customers by offering more than just a place to drink.
Norwich was severely bombed during the Second World War: 30,000 houses were damaged and 2000 completely destroyed. The Gatehouse suffered some bomb damage but survives remarkably well and due to its unusual style was, and still is, a striking landmark designed to entice passing trade. Inside, the bar has the feeling of a small-scale baronial hall and is decorated with medieval style panels of stained glass windows, said to be inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry.
This was built by Mitchells and Butlers brewery who were at the forefront of pub improvement in the Midlands during the inter-war years and were especially renowned for the gardens in their pubs. According to the 1929, 50 Years of Brewing: 1879-1929,on a fine evening in summer “there will be scores of people of all ages enjoying themselves in these gardens”. Bowling greens, like the one still in-tact at the Brookhill Tavern, were popular in the West Midlands and the North West. For a building in constant use for more than 80 years, the Brookhill Tavern is mostly unaltered and the quality craftsmanship can still be seen, even in the workmanship of the drain pipes.
The star of the White Hart is the fine, oak bar which stretches through 5 rooms, allowing the landlord to move easily between the different spaces whilst keeping a watchful eye over the whole pub. The White Hart is designed in 2 different styles: the carefully decorated saloon bar and club room were intended for a different class of customer to the public bar, reflecting the aim in the inter-war years to attract a wide range of customers. Charringtons built this pub and were one of the most prolific “improved” pub builders during the inter-war years, with 170 builds across the country.
Despite its name, this was never a hotel. It was named such to give it a degree of status, respectability and to broaden the class of its clientele. It was built during the wider development of a suburb of Stoke after the First World War, serving both middle-class locals as well as workers at the nearby munitions factory and telephone works. Designed by renowned Coventry architect T F Tickner, it was built in the Brewer’s Tudor style and, like many of these newly listed pubs, it survives almost exactly as it was built nearly 100 years ago.
The Angel was rebuilt by Fuller’s brewery and typifies the sturdy Englishness that inter-war pubs often tried to evoke. Its architect, the Birmingham born T H Nowell was known for his quietly simple Arts and Crafts designs for several inter-war pubs which were a reaction to the showy gin palaces of Victorian England.
We are Historic England (formerly known as English Heritage), the public body that champions and protects England’s historic places. We look after the historic environment, providing expert advice, helping people protect and care for it and helping the public to understand and enjoy it. www.historicengland.org.uk
We are the public body that looks after England’s historic environment. We champion historic places, helping people to understand, value and care for them, now and for the future.
Sign up to our enewsletter to keep up to date with our latest news