Historic England and Post-War Pubs

Shakespeare's Head, Islington.

Historic England is the Government body ‘that looks after England’s historic environment’ and it wants your help cataloguing pubs built after World War II that are still standing.

Estate pubs, as they’re sometimes called though not all are actually on housing estates, are not always terribly attractive — sometimes cheaply built, they were often victim to panicked plastic-Victorian makeovers in the 1970s, and then subject to decades of neglect. Nonetheless, they’re an important part of our landscape which is in real danger of disappearing. (And, remember, Victorian pubs were once considered tasteless disposable crap, too.)

Here’s what’s left of the Pig & Whistle in Bridgwater, Bailey’s home town, where he attended family dos and childrens’ parties as a nipper:

Pig & Whistle ruins, Bridgwater, 2015.
SOURCE: Bailey’s Mum.

The nearby Withycutter is reportedly still in one piece, but only just, while the Black Horse, once Starkey Knight & Ford‘s flagship modern pub, on the town’s other big estate, was knocked down a few years ago.

So, do drop Jo at Historic England a line if there’s a flat-roofed beauty still in one piece where you live.

In the meantime, gathered from across our Facebook and Twitter accounts, here are some examples of the kind of thing they’re looking for:

The Rosetti, from a Fuller's publicity leaflet, c.1979.
The Rosetti, from a Fuller’s publicity leaflet, c.1979.
The Pied Piper, Stevenage, c.1958.
The Pied Piper, Stevenage, 1950s.
The Phoenix, Harlow, 1950s.
The Phoenix, Harlow, 1950s.
The Holland Arms, London W14, c.1961.
The Holland Arms, London W14, c.1961.
The Boddington Arms, Wilmslow, Cheshire (photo by John Howarth from, '200 Years of Beer', Boddington's, 1978)
The Boddington Arms, Wilmslow, Cheshire, photographed by John Howarth and scanned from ‘200 Years of Beer’, Boddington’s, 1978.
The Cross Hands, Cheltenham, as pictured in Whitbread's 1974 pub guide.
The Cross Hands, as pictured in Whitbread’s 1974 pub guide.

3 thoughts on “Historic England and Post-War Pubs”

  1. Take a look at this blog of Manchester Estate Pubs, sadly now dormant (it doesn’t show posting dates).

    It’s amazing how many of these have disappeared – 1945-85 newbuilds must have suffered the greatest rate of attrition of any category of pub. But I think very often the designers didn’t really “get” how pubs worked, and the self-consciously “modern” design schemes quickly dated.

  2. I’m sure you’ve seen this photo of the Neptune Hotel, Preston , built (I think in 1966). It’s not been demolished, but it closed as a pub in 1996. I presume it used to do well, as there was a large area of terraced housing on the right, an English Electrics factory across the road and a BAe plant right next to it. It probably died a death when those were shut in the 1980s, and other nearby buildings demolished to make way for the Penwortham bypass.

    Never went in myself, though I presume my father did as he grew up nearby.

  3. The Cat and Fiddle in Bootle is on the ground floor of a 12-storey DWP office building. Originally the Jutland, then Fleets, it was pretty rubbish until it took its present name and put on real ales, including from Liverpool Organic Brewery. The last time I was in there was after a picket line on the main building (but not the pub, of course).

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