Wednesday 16 September 2009

Do you know the True Heritage Pubs of Wales?

CAMRA is producing a book on the True Heritage Pubs of Wales, and we need your help in identifying them.

Criteria for Inclusion
The focus is entirely on interiors and what is authentically old. The pub should retain a reasonable amount of genuinely historic internal fabric and/or sufficient of the layout for the historic plan-form to be appreciated and understood. The emphasis is on pre-1939 interiors, although post-war examples might occasionally be considered if they have particular merit / quality fittings. The interior should be little altered in the past 40 years.

Applying the Criteria
When considering a pub for inclusion in the Regional Inventory, things to look for include:

• Historic plan. Is it largely intact? If it is completely intact then it ought to be on the National Inventory! A two room pub that previously had 3 rooms could pass this part of the criteria.

• Specific features. The greater the amount of original features – like the seating, bar counter and bar-back, wall-tiles, bell-pushes, original loos, screens and so on – the better. If these were nearly all there then the pub would probably be on the National Inventory. If all that survives is a couple of fixed benches and a bit of match-board wall panelling in a largely opened up pub, then inclusion cannot be justified since they are very commonplace items found in large numbers. But add in a largely intact servery and only a slightly opened-up plan and it probably can be. A specific interesting feature or two might justify inclusion, but would have to be of real significance for inclusion of an otherwise wrecked interior.

How you can help
Do you know of a pub or pubs that are little changed in the past 40 years?

Do you know of pubs with old bar fittings? - Victorian; Inter-war or even a 1960's estate pub that just happened to escape a refit (these are rarer than the others and more difficult to find)

The 1950s refit of the Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel is another example of the sort of pub interiors we are looking for.

Are you aware of a multi-roomed pub, particularly one with an old bar back or bar counter (or where the counter was only added in recent years as the pub did not previously have one)?

Based on what we have found in other parts of Britain, there must be a number of inter-war pubs in Wales that still retain some fittings from that date (or older pubs with a 1930s refit and few changes since). So far we have only identified the Albion, Conwy and possibly the Swan, Connah's Quay (currently closed). Also, the Witchell in Barry is on the list as requiring a visit. Can you suggest other pubs with inter-war fittings?

One of the most successful ways we have found in identifying good leads is to quiz locals, particularly if you are in a traditional pub. "Can you help me – I am looking for pubs in the area that haven't been modernised in recent years" is a good opening sentence. When they suggest names it is worth asking "Has it got a separate bar and lounge or is it all one room?" as it is unlikely that we will be including a completely opened-up pub with only a single room (unless it has something stunning such as tiled walls or quality panelling as well as good bar fittings). Also, please ask when they last visited the pub – care required if not in the past few years.

Information required
As well as the name and address of the pub, it is so much more useful to have an idea of what to expect to find at the pub (i.e. number of rooms, same family for 40 years, or other reason for suggesting it). We look forward to hearing from you with as much information as you are able to supply. Many thanks.

Please leave any suggestions in the comments section, these will be forwarded on to CAMRA.


Anonymous said...

You seem to have missed the Albion in Conwy re-opening.

Brew Wales said...

It was extensively covered by the MSM and the links to its reopening can be found on the Brew Wales Facebook Group


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