Gradings of heritage pubs


Pub Heritage Group has adopted a revised method for grading pubs that have been identified as Real Heritage Pubs. As before, our listings focus entirely on the internal physical fabric of pubs and what is authentically old inside them.

Interiors are eligible for consideration if they have remained essentially unaltered for at least the last 50 years.
There are three key aspects for assessments: -

Layout - survival of historic layout and internal divisions, either intact or readily discernible.

Historic Fittings – particularly old or original bar counters, bar-backs, fixed seating, fireplaces; vestibules, panelling, tiling and other ceramics

Exceptional Rooms & Features - such as partitioned snugs; counter-less pubs; tiled paintings; snob screens etc.

The rarity of historic fittings counts very high in the selection process. We take into consideration the age, intactness and authenticity of fixtures and fittings (but not the quality of them).

Original Grading

The previous system had three categories. The first was the National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors (NI), which eventually comprised around 280 interiors considered to be the very best in terms of intactness and/or exceptional rooms or features. When the project started many years ago, this was the only category. It was later joined by Regional Inventories of Historic Pub Interiors (RI); these covered interiors in the next tier of historic interest and importance. Later still, a category of Pubs With Interiors of Some Regional Interest (SRI) was added to recognise interiors that, whilst much altered, still contained interesting historic features.

New Gradings

The new system is, we hope, simpler and easier to understand. We now have a single National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors and within it there are three grades.

Three Star pubs are of exceptional historic importance. They have stayed wholly or largely intact, in terms of layout and fittings, for the last 50 years; or retain rooms or features that are truly rare or exceptional, or display a combination of the two. Around 300 pubs are in this category being most of the former NI pubs with some RI pubs that have been promoted. Three Star pubs should be well worth going out of the way to make a special visit to.

Two Star pubs are of outstanding historic interest. They have interiors where the intactness, rarity and exceptional features are somewhat lower than for Three Star. We have identified those RI pubs close in intactness to NI pubs and placed them into this grading. Also, some ex-NI pubs are now in this category. We consider a detour to check out a Two Star pub is time well spent.

One Star pubs are of special historic interest. They have either readily identifiable historic layouts or retain rooms or features of special interest but more significant changes are allowable than for the first two categories. Pubs here are largely from the Regional Inventories of Historic Pub Interiors though the best of the SRI pubs are also included.

How You Can Help

Pub Heritage Group keeps gradings under continual review and changes will be made from time to time. Generally this is because there have been alterations to an interior that impact on the pub’s historic importance. In other cases, members will re-assess current gradings, especially where a pub has not been surveyed for a long time or where a wider range of member views is felt to be beneficial.

We are always keen to hear from visitors to the listed pubs, in particular where there have been changes that we might not be aware of.

Thank you.