Real Heritage Pubs
Real Heritage Pubs are pubs with notable Historic Interiors which are particularly outstanding in their level of preservation, typically intact and unaltered since 1939. There are less than 300 of these gems, and they are part of the National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors, carefully watched over by CAMRA's Pub Heritage Group.
Our branch is very fortunate to have four of these excellent pubs, three of which you can see in the banner above. The photos below are by Mick Slaughter.
The Cemetery Hotel, Rochdale is a late Victorian pub lots of original decorative tiling. There are three rooms. The most impressive of the three rooms is the front left Parlour with '2' on the door (see left). It is expensively fitted and includes very good seating. There are four seating areas created by substantial part glazed mahogany baffles with classical columns. Either side of the entrance door are two imposing mahogany baffles with leaded glass panels in the top part. The room has a distinctive turquoise tiled/ceramic fireplace with a good wood surround including a mirror. The room has retained an original etched front window with the wording 'Wines & Spirits'.
The Old White Lion, Bury is a three storey Victorian or Edwardian building with a revolving door that is still in use. The star here is the superb Oak Room at the rear right with an etched 'Oak Room' with lion symbol in the door. This small room has quality panelling from the period 1910-20? including decoratively carved panels at the top and a splendid Tudor arch shaped fireplace with tiles and carved wood including a three sectioned carved panel above the mantleshelf. The decorative plaster ceiling includes Tudor rose symbols, unicorns, stags, cockerills, animal faces and birds in relief and some coats of arms; also a cornice of grape vines recently picked out in colour. The Oak Room is not always open so it is best to ring 0161 764 2641 in advance of a visit to check you will be able to get access.
The Grapes, Heywood is a 1920s estate pub still with a substantial majority of its floorplan and fittings intact. The door from the car park leads into a lobby with turquoise tiles from floor to ceiling and mosaic floor. Through the inner door is a lobby bar which retains its original bar counter with a new top and two heating pipes around the base; and bar back with some modern additions. There are two remarkably surviving 1920s part leaded screens around both the doors to the gents and ladies - very rare. There is another short L-shaped screen around a phone 'booth'. The porch on this side also has tiled walls and mosaic floor.
The The Royal Oak An early 20th century brick building which had a quality refitting in 1928 including the insertion of a splendid glazed servery and lots of wall tiling. The inner lobby and Lobby Bar area have inter-war tiled walls, some covered by wallpaper due to damage to the tiling. The star here is the rare intact fully screened curved servery reaching up to the ceiling where the lower panels can still be lowered but are kept in the raised positionn. The servery area is little altered with some drawers in the curved bar back and even some tiling on the walls. Note the old bell box but there are no signs of bell pushes. On the right of the lobby on Union Street side a door leads to a small Vault This has a small bar, more like a hatch, with a further section of the shuttered servery and here the lower section is still raised and lowered on a daily basis - very rare! The inter-war fixed seating has baffles near the door, and there is a small wood surround fireplace from the 1920s but is disused. On the left side of the pub the front Commercial Room and rear Snug have been knocked into one and some original (i.e. c.1900) fixed seating remains at the front. Note the fine 'Royal Oak' inter-war etched windows on the front and rear windows. The combined room has lost both fireplaces and now houses a pool table. On the Rhodes Bank (right hand) side the exterior door leads into a lobby and a door leads into a rare intact off sales with 2/3rds height inter-war tiled walls, a black and white tiled floor, and a further piece of shuttered servery up to the ceiling still intact with the lower section permanently closed. There is a splendid mahogany partition wall with glazed panels at the top that separates the off sales from the lobby bar with a door leading into the latter. Tiling continues up the open staircase and there is a good stained and leaded window on the first floor. Upstairs is a function room which retains a rare counter screen - few first floor bars retain old fittings. There are inter-war fireplaces (blocked-up) at each end of the room.
As well as maintaining the National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors, CAMRA's Pub Heritage Group is working on a series of regional Real Heritage Pub Guides, which include many other excellent pubs which, whilst altered, still have significant historic or architectural value. The regional Real Heritage Pub Guide for North West England is currently being researched, and it you would like to see work in progress in terms of the pubs that are being considered for this guide, then if you are a CAMRA member, you can login to the Heritage Pubs Web Site, to see listings only available to CAMRA members.
If you are interested in knowing more about the National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors, there is a special Pub Heritage Yahoo group, via which is published a monthly bulletin with updates, which you can sign up for by sending an email to the group.