A particular joy of the UK's 50,000 or so pubs is their sheer variety.
They range from simple rural pubs to late-Victorian extravaganzas, from the genuinely old to the aggressively modern, from urban back-street boozers, through suburban estate pubs, to picture-postcard rural idylls. All architectural styles are represented, be it Art Nouveau or Art Deco, high Gothic or post-war Brutalist.
What is saddening, though, is how very few of our pub interiors are the same now, or nearly so, as when built. More often than not, you enter a pub with an unspoilt 'period' facade only to find the interior trashed or compromised. CAMRA is wholly committed to protecting our dwindling stock of truly historic pub interiors. Our Pub Heritage Group is made up of CAMRA members passionate about protecting and promoting these interiors. Some Group members are recognised architectural and pub historians. Here is a history of CAMRA's campaign to protect historic pub interiors.
CAMRA places these historic pub interiors in two categories.
Firstly, there is the national inventory of historic pub interiors. This lists those interiors which we regard as being in the 'first division' when it comes to pub preservation priorities. Work on the Inventory, which currently comprises 285 pubs, started in 1991. Entries fall into three categories:
pubs whose interiors have remained wholly or largely intact since before 1945 or, in some exceptional cases, before 1970.
interiors which, though altered to an extent, retain exceptional rooms or features which are of national historic importance.
outstanding pub-type rooms in establishments like hotels or station buffets.
The Regional Inventories of Historic Pub Interiors are the next tier in the pub preservation hierarchy. They list interiors which still have significant historic or architectural value despite the alterations to them.
These Inventories are constantly evolving. Sadly, some pubs currently listed will either close or be ruined despite our best efforts to stop this. Other pubs are known to be at risk – see our list of Historic Pub Interiors in Peril.
More happily, we continue to discover previously unreported interiors deserving inclusion (and we're always eager to hear from anyone who feels a particular pub is worth considering – please email firstname.lastname@example.org which is also the address for any updates or comments you might wish to share with us)
Historic pub interiors can be accessed on this website in the following ways:
Search for pubs with historic interiors in a given location, complete with descriptions.
Select a mini-guide, suitable to be printed, of all historic pub interiors in a particular county
View a complete list of all pubs in the national inventory of historic pub interiors, suitable to be printed, as a quick reference guide.
Nine Real Heritage Pubs guides have so far been published – for London, East Anglia, North East England, Scotland, Wales, Yorkshire, Midlands, North West England, and South West England. You can purchase copies from the CAMRA bookshop. Further guides will be published in due course. You can also view some Real Heritage Pubs guides for some parts of the UK on this website.
Another of the Group's aims concerns Pubs as Listed Buildings; getting pubs statutorily 'listed' as being of special architectural or historic interest affords them significant protection from insensitive development.
Our website also contains a glossary of architectural terms which commonly arise in pub descriptions plus suggestions for further reading about historic pubs. 'Architrave', 'Corbelling', 'Terrazzo' – what do they mean? Find out in our glossary of architectural terms relevant to pubs.
If you want to be kept regularly up to date on the changes to the status of the national inventory of historic pub interiors, then please join our email mailing list. Monthly bulletins are sent out each month, and are also posted here on this web site.