The Snug Bar Preservation Society

The Black Friar, City of London.

With photographs by Teninchwheels.

For those of us who feel sad when­ev­er a pub van­ish­es, this is a sad life. Progress, recon­struc­tion, town-plan­ning, war, all have one thing in com­mon: the pubs go down before them like pop­pies under the scythe.

Mau­rice Gorham, The Local, 1939

Early in 2012, regulars at the Ivy House, a 1930s pub in Nunhead, South London, were stunned when its owners, Enterprise Inns, gave the manager a week’s notice and boarded the building up.

Howard Pea­cock, a sec­ondary school teacher in his 30s who regard­ed the Ivy House as his ‘local’, felt what he calls a ‘sense of mas­sive injus­tice’:

[The] pub was one that should have been able to stay open in any fair trad­ing envi­ron­ment. The small local pub­co that was run­ning it… had been mak­ing a go of it even with restrict­ed stock­ing options and lim­it­ed prof­it mar­gins thanks to the beer tie…

But he and his fel­low drinkers (Tes­sa Blun­den, Emi­ly Dres­ner, Stu­art Tay­lor and Hugo Simms) did some­thing more than mere­ly grum­ble and begin the hunt for a new haunt: instead, they launched a cam­paign to SAVE THE IVY HOUSE!

Nowa­days, the idea of a com­mu­ni­ty cam­paign to save a pub hard­ly seems remark­able – they are seen as an endan­gered species, the cru­el prop­er­ty devel­op­ers’ har­poons glanc­ing off their leath­ery old skin – but a hun­dred years ago, thing were very dif­fer­ent. Then, a cull was under­way.

Pub Prohibition

Before World War II, there was a gen­er­al feel­ing that pubs need­ed to be either demol­ished or ‘improved’. After sev­er­al decades of unfet­tered devel­op­ment in the 19th cen­tu­ry, there were lots of them, and they were felt to exert a ‘bad influ­ence’ on the ‘work­ing man’, tempt­ing him to neglect his fam­i­ly and to spend his wages on beer, rather than new shoes for the chil­dren.

Tem­per­ance cam­paign­ers were influ­en­tial with local gov­ern­ment bod­ies which began to put pres­sure on brew­ers, refus­ing to grant licens­es for new pubs unless sev­er­al old ones were ‘retired’. The brew­ers did not object too vig­or­ous­ly: pubs which were larg­er, more effi­cient, and which might attract a bet­ter-off crowd, had a cer­tain appeal. Brand new man­sion-like build­ings began to appear, equipped for a brave new world, as expressed by the Roy­al Com­mis­sion on Licens­ing in 1931:

The ide­al towards which mod­ern con­cep­tions are tend­ing is to make the pub­lic house, as it ought to be, a place where the pub­lic can obtain gen­er­al refresh­ment, of what­ev­er vari­ety they choose, in decent, pleas­ant and com­fort­able sur­round­ings… [The] best types of pub­lic house today are a direct dis­cour­age­ment to inso­bri­ety…

There had long been mid­dle class inter­est in pic­turesque ‘inns and tav­erns’, espe­cial­ly those with his­toric asso­ci­a­tions, but only a hand­ful of hope­less roman­tics seemed to be able to see any appeal in the fast-dis­ap­pear­ing cor­ner booz­ers. On the eve of World War II, jour­nal­ist Mau­rice Gorham wrote the fol­low­ing in The Local, a short book about Lon­don pubs illus­trat­ed by Edward Ardiz­zone:

The ques­tion of rebuild­ing demands a pass­ing men­tion, as it is one of the ever-present fac­tors in the pur­suit of pubs. Here the sen­ti­men­tal pub-goer is opposed to all the inter­ests – brew­er, Bench, pub­li­can, and, very often, staff. The mod­ern café-pub, clean, light, airy, spa­cious… has the bless­ing of mod­ern thought. It is left to the sen­ti­men­tal­ists… to reply that the mod­ern pub may be bet­ter, but the old-fash­ioned pub was nicer…

Friendly Bombs & Ambitious Planners

World War II changed things. First, it accel­er­at­ed the process of the dis­ap­pear­ance of the ‘locals’ Gorham so admired, as Luft­waffe bombs pound­ed Britain’s indus­tri­al neigh­bour­hoods, destroy­ing not only pubs but often the very com­mu­ni­ties they served. (Lon­don lost 400 pubs through ene­my action, accord­ing to one esti­mate.)

At the same time, it also sharp­ened people’s sense of what they were fight­ing for – of what was quin­tes­sen­tial­ly British – and made them look back with fond­ness on the sup­posed idyll of the pre-war years. This was dou­bly true for those who had spent years abroad yearn­ing for a pint at the Dog & Duck.

The scene was set for yet anoth­er war.

On one side were town plan­ners who saw Britain’s dam­aged towns and cities as can­vas­es for ambi­tious schemes in con­crete and glass which left lit­tle room for crum­bling Dick­en­sian pubs. When in 1949 Mau­rice Gorham made a Return to the Local, he added a new chap­ter enti­tled ‘Obit­u­ary’: the pub, in his view, was in ter­mi­nal ill health.

But, as it turned out, the plan­ners would find them­selves con­tend­ing with a new ene­my – a sharp-elbowed preser­va­tion move­ment with sup­port­ers in high places, will­ing to fight for almost any Vic­to­ri­an build­ing, how­ev­er hum­ble.

Cuban Mahogany and Cut Glass

Vic­to­ri­ana was as unfash­ion­able as could be in the 1930s but, after the war, build­ings which had pre­vi­ous­ly been con­sid­ered gloomy and vul­gar began to find fans, such as the Ger­man-born archi­tec­tur­al crit­ic Niko­laus Pevs­ner. Though he was not him­self much of a drinker, in 1947, he came out in favour of the preser­va­tion of Vic­to­ri­an pubs, ‘rather to his own sur­prise’ accord­ing to his biog­ra­ph­er Susie Har­ries. She quotes a 1947 radio broad­cast in which he rebutted Basil Oliv­er’s book The Renais­sance of the Eng­lish Pub­lic House and its cham­pi­oning of ‘improved’ man­sion-like pubs:

[He] calls what Renais­sance what I’d call Decline and Fall… [The] many new inns of the motor road­side or the new hous­ing estate, decent, clean places… [look] for all the world like post-offices… The pub is a beery place, and in our cli­mate, it must be shel­tered, low, cosy… snug­ness, not smug­ness.

The Vic­to­ri­an pub with its ‘rich Cuban mahogany, its bev­elled and dia­mond-cut glass, its grotesque and florid let­ter­ing’ was per­fect – why change it? His feel­ings were echoed in var­i­ous writ­ings by anoth­er archi­tec­tur­al big-hit­ter, John Bet­je­man, who would lat­er become poet lau­re­ate.

Nonethe­less, the pre­vail­ing view among town plan­ners and devel­op­ers was that Vic­to­ri­an build­ings were dirty, ugly, and stand­ing in the way of bet­ter things.

In 1958, both Pevs­ner and Bet­je­man were among the founder mem­bers of the Vic­to­ri­an Soci­ety. While it estab­lished itself and tried to draw up a frame­work for what was ‘wor­thy’, it lob­bied, with­out suc­cess, to save the grand arch out­side Euston sta­tion. If some­thing so icon­ic had no place in the 1960s, what hope for Vic­to­ri­an pubs? At that time, not one had ever been ‘list­ed’ for pro­tec­tion by the Gov­ern­ment.

T.M.P. Ben­dixon, writ­ing in the Guardian in 1961, high­light­ed this prob­lem, but also sug­gest­ed one prob­lem with the cam­paign­ers emo­tion­al tac­tics:

There is a third class of build­ings… that seem to pos­sess nei­ther archi­tec­tur­al nor unique soci­o­log­i­cal mer­it. Innu­mer­able sol­id Vic­to­ri­an pubs, man­sions, and non­de­script com­mer­cial build­ings whose only val­ue is con­trast with the sim­plic­i­ty of mod­ern archi­tec­ture seem equal­ly with­out dis­tinc­tion… Many, unfor­tu­nate­ly, are either obso­lete or obstruct essen­tial town replan­ning, but oth­ers fail to get reprieve because appeals against their destruc­tion are hys­ter­i­cal and with­out finance.

Amongst many oth­er more sub­stan­tial build­ings in the City of Lon­don, Bet­je­man is said to have led a cam­paign against the demo­li­tion of one par­tic­u­lar pub, a gor­geous arts-and-crafts-meets-art-nou­veau extrav­a­gan­za called the Black Fri­ar. Built in 1863, it was in 1905, in the words of Nicholas Tay­lor writ­ing for the Archi­tec­tur­al Review in 1964, ‘trans­formed into a lus­cious folk-fan­ta­sy in about 1905 by H. Fuller Clark, an oth­er­wise unknown archi­tect, and Hen­ry Poole’. Out­side Lon­don, he also appealed against the demo­li­tion of the Bear and Bac­u­lus as part of the rede­vel­op­ment of the cen­tre of War­wick. Both build­ings were saved.

A younger cul­tur­al crit­ic, Ian Nairn, though he didn’t par­tic­u­lar­ly like the Black Fri­ar, would take the baton from Bet­je­man and become a par­tic­u­lar cham­pi­on of pubs through­out the 1960s, espe­cial­ly in his 1966 book Nairn’s Lon­don.

A con­sen­sus was emerg­ing among crit­ics: pubs could have cul­tur­al and aes­thet­ic val­ue, and their demo­li­tion should not be tak­en light­ly.

A Cry for Help

Despite the ten­ta­tive efforts of Bet­je­man, Nairn and oth­ers, by the ear­ly 1970s, a young writer called Christo­pher Hutt was declar­ing The Death of the Eng­lish Pub in a short book of that name:

With a few excep­tions… peo­ple have not effec­tive­ly resist­ed the changes that have been forced upon their pubs. On the face of it, the rea­son could be that they do not care about these changes , even that they wel­come them. Any­one who knows a pub that has been tart­ed up and giv­en a gim­mick treat­ment, or where the local beer has been dis­con­tin­ued after a takeover, will know that this is not true.

Hutt com­bined the abstrac­tions of the archi­tec­tur­al crit­ics with an enthu­si­asm for actu­al­ly drink­ing in them, mak­ing explic­it the fact that with­out pubs – with­out cel­lars and beer engines and hand-pumps – there could be no ‘tra­di­tion­al draught beer’.

He also high­light­ed the par­tic­u­lar impact of the brew­ery takeover mania of the 1960s as brew­eries found them­selves run­ning mul­ti­ple pubs in com­pe­ti­tion with each oth­er:

Until the mid-1960s there were three pubs in the vil­lage [of Stiffkey] which had tra­di­tion­al­ly belonged to three sep­a­rate brew­eries, each based in Nor­wich. All three brew­eries were swal­lowed up by Wat­ney’s, whose ratio­nal­i­sa­tion pro­gramme arrived in Stiffkey when the Vic­to­ria, the for­mer Stew­ard & Pat­te­son house, was closed in 1966. In 1969, it was fol­lowed by the Red Lion, which had pre­vi­ous­ly belonged to Bullard’s, and in 1971 the pub that had once been owned by Mor­gans Brew­ery… was shut down…

Hutt went on to be the sec­ond Chair­man of the Cam­paign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and his book became one of the Cam­paign’s found­ing texts. It was impos­si­ble to care about beer in Britain with­out also car­ing about pubs, and CAMRA was to become a major play­er in the preser­va­tion move­ment

Local Activism

In Man­ches­ter, cam­paign­ers had cal­cu­lat­ed that in Sal­ford, 65 of 250 pubs had been lost between 1963 and 1978. In 1977, they fought along­side J.W. Lees brew­ery to pre­vent the com­pul­so­ry pur­chase and demo­li­tion of Lees’ last pub in Sal­ford, the Wel­come, on Ord­sall Lane. They whipped up pub­lic sup­port, gained huge amounts of press cov­er­age, and deliv­ered a peti­tion with more than a thou­sand names. The Coun­cil, mean­while, remained dis­pas­sion­ate and log­i­cal:

At the enquiry a Coun­cil plan­ner pro­duced an impres­sive array of sta­tis­tics to show the acute hous­ing short­age in Sal­ford, but she talked of ‘Cat­e­go­ry Two Dwelling Units’, ‘foot­ball play­ing sur­faces’ and ‘child bed spaces’… She did­n’t talk about peo­ple, chil­dren, com­mu­ni­ties, social life, friend­ship, Sal­for­dians or any­thing else which is impor­tant to the peo­ple of Ord­sall. (From Pub Preser­va­tion, CAMRA, 1980.)

The com­pul­so­ry pur­chase order was upheld, but CAMRA cam­paign­ers learned a valu­able les­son: rea­soned argu­ment and ‘play­ing’ the bureau­cra­cy was more effec­tive than cheap PR stunts. In 1978, they defeat­ed the Coun­cil’s plans to demol­ish the Grey Mare and the Old Vet­er­an, Weaste. This was a vic­to­ry in its own right, but also led the Coun­cil to recon­sid­er its pol­i­cy of sweep­ing clear entire areas for devel­op­ment. Argu­ing with CAMRA and com­mu­ni­ty rep­re­sen­ta­tives was sim­ply more trou­ble than it was worth.

Poacher Turned Gamekeeper

Like Christo­pher Hutt, Peter Lern­er grew up in Cheshire. He joined CAMRA as a stu­dent in 1973 and, by the late sev­en­ties, was a com­mit­ted activist with his local branch in North Hert­ford­shire, where there was great con­cern over the clo­sure of pubs which were seen as ‘rur­al gems’.

At the same time, in the real world, and part­ly inspired by Ian Nairn, he had embarked on a career as a town plan­ner. As he grew to under­stand the sys­tem from the inside, Lern­er began to won­der if CAMRA might not have more suc­cess in sav­ing pubs if it engaged with the bureau­cra­cy. He put this idea to local organ­is­er James Lynch who encour­aged him to speak to the Nation­al Chair­man, the bear-like and affa­ble Joe Good­win. He recalled the con­ver­sa­tion in cor­re­spon­dence with us:

Joe intro­duced me to three peo­ple who were cam­paign­ing against pub clo­sures and des­e­cra­tion in the North of Eng­land. Ian MacMil­lan and the late Tony Molyneux were writ­ing rad­i­cal arti­cles in Mersey Drinker and organ­is­ing rad­i­cal pro-pub cam­paigns in Liv­er­pool, and Robin Bence was part of a group in Man­ches­ter who were doc­u­ment­ing the his­to­ry and sur­vival of the great pubs of that city.

Togeth­er, they formed the com­mit­tee of CAM­RA’s new Pub Preser­va­tion Group, which got under­way in July 1979, with Lern­er as Chair:

I guess that our view­point was part­ly dri­ven by nos­tal­gia or ‘small c’ con­ser­vatism – why do things which have been loved and cel­e­brat­ed for gen­er­a­tions need to change?

By the turn of the 1980s, many of the grand town plan­ning schemes of the post-war peri­od had either been com­plet­ed or, like the rede­vel­op­ment of Lon­don’s Covent Gar­den, aban­doned alto­geth­er. So, at first, the empha­sis for the PPG was on pre­serv­ing the unique char­ac­ter of indi­vid­ual pubs rather than pre­vent­ing their demo­li­tion.

The PPG bat­tled valiant­ly under the lead­er­ship of Lern­er and lat­er Jen­ny Green­hal­gh. It declared 1984 the Year of the Pub, and began to give awards not only for preser­va­tion but also for new­ly designed pubs that reflect­ed essen­tial ideas of ‘pub­ness’.

The PPG was nev­er entire­ly sure of the sup­port of CAMRA’s mem­ber­ship, how­ev­er, as the Cam­paign went through a ‘wob­ble’ in the ear­ly 1980s, unsure where to direct its efforts now that, in the eyes of many, the bat­tle for cask ale had been won. Peter Lern­er:

[We] met quite a few CAMRA mem­bers who could not get past the idea that the beer was the rea­son for cam­paign­ing, and as long as there was some­where to drink it, the sur­round­ings did not mat­ter.

As for brew­ers, they thought they’d got the mes­sage: Vic­to­ri­an pubs were what peo­ple want­ed, and that’s what they were going to get. When­ev­er they were built, from 1660 to 1960, pubs across the coun­try were giv­en tacky faux-19th cen­tu­ry makeovers, all dark wood, mir­rors and car­pets, but done on the cheap, and to a uni­form design.

Mean­while, many real his­toric pubs con­tin­ued to be sold off for res­i­den­tial or com­mer­cial use by brew­ers who could not afford to be sen­ti­men­tal.

But, over the course of the next decade or so, the idea that pubs were part of our her­itage and need­ed to be pre­served seeped into main­stream thought. New con­cepts such as the high street ‘super pub’ brought home to peo­ple with no spe­cial inter­est in beer or archi­tec­ture that some­thing spe­cial was being lost, and the idea that the pub was ‘doomed’ became a com­mon­place idea reflect­ed in end­less news­pa­per arti­cles.

In 1991, CAMRA’s Pubs Group (what had been the PPG) began to col­late a ‘Nation­al Inven­to­ry’ of his­toric pub inte­ri­ors as an ‘emer­gency’ mea­sure, with the hope of prompt­ing a ‘nation­al out­cry’. They hoped to find 500 rea­son­ably intact pub inte­ri­ors, but they found less than half that num­ber. In par­tic­u­lar, they dis­cov­ered that unspoiled, sim­ple rur­al pubs with lit­tle archi­tec­tur­al val­ue were par­tic­u­lar­ly scarce: they found few­er than 20.

It cer­tain­ly con­tributed to the pres­sure on gov­ern­ment and 1994 saw Eng­lish Her­itage pub­lish guide­lines for pre­serv­ing pubs, and encour­ag­ing cus­tomers to rec­om­mend their local for list­ing on the grounds of his­toric or archi­tec­tur­al sig­nif­i­cance. Then, from 1996, CAMRA launched anoth­er pub­lic­i­ty dri­ve and began to indi­cate his­toric inte­ri­ors in the Good Beer Guide. The tone of this exer­cise, how­ev­er, was rather pes­simistic – warn­ing poach­ers off the last few spec­i­mens in the wild, with every expec­ta­tion that they would soon be extinct.

Has the pub preser­va­tion move­ment, on the whole, been suc­cess­ful? Peter Lern­er thinks not:

Far too many (in my opin­ion) pubs have closed for good, but at the same time, people’s chang­ing habits mean that they no longer val­ue their local in the way that they might have done even thir­ty years ago. This is not to say that there are not some splen­did and char­ac­ter­ful pubs still around, and well done to those who have worked hard to keep them that way. But for every unspoiled gem there are twen­ty Har­vesters or All Bar Ones, and there is lit­tle dif­fer­ence between them and your local branch of Cos­ta or Piz­za Express. And nobody is going to cam­paign to pre­serve those.

Community Assets

But there is a glim­mer of hope for those who think pubs are worth sav­ing. Last year, after a long bat­tle, the Ivy House in Peck­ham was indeed saved.

The 2011 Local­ism Act gave new pow­ers to com­mu­ni­ty groups. In 2013, Howard Pea­cock and his col­leagues became the first to use those pow­ers to save a pub by hav­ing it cer­ti­fied as an ‘asset of com­mu­ni­ty val­ue’, and assert­ing their right to run it them­selves as a ‘ser­vice’:

Now that the pub is up and run­ning there is a dif­fer­ent kind of stress: the knowl­edge that we have to have a busi­ness which is not only prof­itable but also lives up to the expec­ta­tions of the com­mu­ni­ty and – frankly – is the best pub in the world.

Sud­den­ly, it seems, it is less impor­tant how a pub looks, who built it, or whether Nell Gwynne once bought a pork pie in the lounge bar – what mat­ters is that peo­ple love it.

About the Photographs

Ten­inch­wheels (@teninchwheels) is a Lon­don-based graph­ic design­er and pho­tog­ra­ph­er. See more of his work at Moorstoneimages.wordpress.com and at his beer and pub blog Teninchwheels.wordpress.com. Pic­tures © 2014 and not to be repro­duced or re-used with­out per­mis­sion.

Sources

  • Cor­re­spon­dence with Howard Pea­cock, Feb­ru­ary 2014.
  • Cor­re­spon­dence with Peter Lern­er, Feb­ru­ary 2014.
  • Var­i­ous edi­tions of CAM­RA’s What’s Brew­ing, 1978–1984.
  • Anon. ‘Her­itage Pub Inte­ri­ors’, CAMRA Good Beer Guide 1998, 1997.
  • Anon. ‘War­wick Plea By Mr. Bet­je­man’, The Times, 11 March 1967.
  • Anon. ‘Place of the pub in a town’s life’, The Times, 29 April 1958.
  • Ben­dixon, T.M.P. ‘Memo­ri­als to Vic­to­ri­an Cul­ture’, Guardian, 11 Decem­ber 1961.
  • Garm­ston, Dave and John Clarke. ‘Pubs to Save: CAMRA’s nation­al inven­to­ry’, CAMRA Good Beer Guide 1997, 1996.
  • Gorham, Mau­rice and Edward Ardiz­zone. The Local, 1939.
  • – Return to the Local, 1949.
  • Har­ries, Susie. Pevs­ner: The Life, 2011.
  • – ‘Pevs­ner in the Pub’, https://susieharries.wordpress.com/2011/01/14/pevsner-in-the-pub/
  • Hilli­er, Bevis. Bet­je­man: The Bonus of Laugh­ter, 2004.
  • Licensed Vict­uallers’ Asso­ci­a­tion. An Exam­i­na­tion of the Evi­dence before the Roy­al Com­mis­sion onLi­cens­ing-Eng­land and Wales-1929–1930, 1931.
  • Nairn, Ian. Nairn’s Lon­don, 1966.
  • Oliv­er, Basil. The Renais­sance of the Eng­lish Pub­lic House, 1947.
  • Lern­er, Peter, et al. Pub Preser­va­tion, 1980.
  • Roy­al Com­mis­sion on Licens­ing. The Report of the Roy­al Com­mis­sion on Licens­ing, 1931.
  • Tay­lor, Nicholas. ‘Dec­o­ra­tion: Black Fri­ar’, Archi­tec­tur­al Review, Novem­ber 1964.

5 thoughts on “The Snug Bar Preservation Society”

  1. A nice can­ter through the his­to­ry of pub preser­va­tion. I do think you per­haps under­play the role of CAM­RA’s Pub Her­itage Group (as it’s now called) and in par­tic­u­lar the sig­nif­i­cance of its (still ongo­ing) work on the Nation­al Inven­to­ry, along with the sup­port­ing Region­al Inven­to­ries. It has played a sig­nif­i­cant role in get­ting pubs list­ed – and also beef­ing up exist­ing list­ing details – and notably has led Eng­lish Her­itage (and its oth­er nation­al equiv­a­lents) to final­ly start list­ing inter-war pubs. You should have asked me – I’ve been involved to a greater or less­er extent since the late 1980s.

    Oh – and CAMRA final­ly resolved its approach to pubs by vot­ing at an AGM to put cam­paig­ing for pubs on a lev­el peg­ging with every­thing else (it had pre­vi­ous­ly decid­ed to give cam­paign­ing for cider and per­ry equal sta­tus with cam­paign­ing for real ale. Thus CAMRA is in real­i­ty the “Cam­paign for Real Ale, Cider, Per­ry & Pubs”. For­tu­nate­ly it has kept the short­er – if per­haps slight­ly mis­lead­ing 0 acronym).

    1. John – thanks for that addi­tion­al info. I have to admit that we had­n’t realised you were involved in pub preser­va­tion until we spot­ted your name on a piece in the 1997 GBG, by which time it was too late to do any more work on the post. Ide­al­ly, we’d have liked anoth­er month to work on it, but we’ve no-one to blame for the dead­line but our­selves.

  2. A use­ful can­ter, indeed, through some impor­tant social his­to­ry as it affects pubs and pub design. Some reac­tion: the con­cern to pre­serve some­thing because it is famil­iar can be tak­en too far. Was­n’t Vic­to­ri­ana new at one time? Should it have been reject­ed on that account? Or are we just used to it? Do snugs and par­ti­tions reflect a nat­ur­al, organ­ic way to enjoy alco­holic bev­er­age, or do they sim­ply reflect a dis­ap­pear­ing ethos of class and bour­geois moral­i­ty? In the States, the typ­i­cal brew­pub may well offer the oppo­site val­ues: bare brick walls and bench seat­ing and exposed duct­work – peo­ple seem to suck down the IPA just as well. CAMRA IMO should be wary of tying its horse to this issue. If pubs – all the var­i­ous class­es peo­ple like to clas­si­fy – the impor­tant thing seems that they are old – and cask-con­di­tioned beer become too iden­ti­fied, this will give anoth­er rea­son to younger gen­er­a­tions to reject cask ale, because peo­ple want dif­fer­ent sur­round­ings to what they grew up with, hence the deserved suc­cess of All Bar One and its emu­la­tors. Beer is more impor­tant than Vic­to­ri­ana or thatched roofs and is inde­pen­dent of those.

    Gary

    P.S. I like the Vic­to­ri­an pubs as much as any­one – by the way the Lamb on Lam­b’s Con­duit Street was first ren­o­vat­ed in the 1950’s, so there was push­back even then to the mod­ernists – but the beer is more impor­tant, again.

  3. I take Gary’s point about iden­ti­fy­ing cask beer with a par­tic­u­lar sort of pub. In gen­er­al CAMRA is inter­est­ed in all man­ner of pubs and their pro­tec­tion. How­ev­er these Nation­al Inven­to­ry pubs are an imp­por­tant sub-set as there are so few of them left. This is as much to do with archi­tec­tur­al, and even nation­al, her­itage as it is with pubs per se. In fact a hand­ful of the CAMRA Nation­al Inven­to­ry pubs do not sell cask beer.

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