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Lancashire - Great Harwood

Three star - A pub interior of exceptional national historic importance

Listed Status: II

St Johns Street
Great Harwood

OS ref: SD734317

Tel: 07920 747646


Real Ale: Yes

Public Transport: Near Bus Stop

Bus: Yes

View on: Whatpub

This superb Edwardian pub of 1905 provides a friendly environment for a drink, with many quality ales on offer. The lobby bar, passageway and staircase all have full-height cream and green tiling with flower motifs. The counter too has a tiled front and also working screens. All the ceilings are wood-panelled. Four small rooms lead off the lobby, mostly with original fittings. Three are named in the door glass – the Commercial Room (with notable Art Nouveau fireplace), the Bar Parlour (another fine fireplace), another parlour, and the ‘Public Kitchen’. This latter name, probably now unique in a pub, may recall how some pubs offered cooking and food heating facilities to the poor. At the end of the passage is a fifth room, recently converted to pub use. Above the staircase is a splendid stained glass window. The only altered area is to the right of the entrance, where the door opening has been widened. Originally, there was a ‘Jug Department’ here with hatch service, and its door has been re-sited to the ladies’ loo (likewise the smoke room door to the gents’). The nickname comes from a long-gone slaughterhouse and railway bridge. The former bowling green now forms part of the extensive beer garden. Listed in 1997 following a pilot study of Lancashire pubs by CAMRA for English Heritage.
Built 1905 by Alfred Nuttall (unclear if he was the architect or developer, though) – a near-complete example of an early 20th-century public house. The layout is of a lobby bar area and five small rooms retaining the majority of their original fittings and doors with the room names in Art Nouveau etched panels.

The inner porch has a terrazzo floor, Art Nouveau tiles in cream and florid blue, and in the internal glazed screen is a door where the original 'Victoria Hotel' etched and frosted panel has, sadly, been replaced by a plain one. The whole of the lobby bar area has floor-to-ceiling Art Nouveau mainly green tiles as does the passageway and up the staircase to private quarters. At the top there is a frieze of three rows of tiles - two of green on yellow petals and the top one featuring a sheaf of wheat. Carpet now covers the terrazzo floor of the lobby bar area.

The bar counter has a tiled front and a complete set of screens above all the way around which still retain the lower panels that can move up and down. The rising panels have Art Nouveau cut glass panels in them. There are two original bar-back fittings, one of two bays and another of one bay, situated opposite each other at the end of the servery. The only significant change to the layout has occurred in the front right area which is now accessed via a wide doorway. Originally there was a jug and bottle department - see the 'Jug Department' door re-sited to the ladies': similarly the 'Smoke Room' door has been re-sited to the gents'.

The front left small room door has a pedimental surround and 'Commercial Room' etched glass panel. It has a wood block floor, slatted wooden original fixed bench seating, wood panelled ceiling but has lost its fireplace. Next on the left is another small room with a pedimental surround and 'Parlour' etched glass panel. There is a good decoratively carved baffle/lobby screen as you enter, original fixed bench seating all around, and original Art Nouveaux tiled and cast-iron fireplace.

The third room on the left has has a door with a pedimental surround and on it an etched glass panel 'Public Kitchen'. The unusual name could refer to a place where families with poor kitchen facilities could have meals cooked. It has a herringbone tiled floor, slatted wooden original fixed bench seating, and an Edwardian tiled, cast-iron and red painted wood surround fireplace. Look up the open staircase and you will see a stained and leaded window at the top of the stairs. At the end of a tiled passage is a room recently brought into use in which has has an inter-war wood surround fireplace with modern tiles, dado panelling and 'Private’ etched panel in the top of the door.

The last small room is on the rear right and has a door with a pedimented surround and on it an etched glass panel inscribed 'Bar Parlour'. It has a good baffle by the door and original fixed bench seating with carved bench-ends featuring pine cone and husk designs. There is a good Edwardian green glazed brick and wood surround fireplace with a mirror in a mantelpiece. Opposite this room the servery has a door for staff with a 'Bar' etched panel in the top. Another passage with tiled walls runs down the rear of the servery to the door leading to the former bowling green. The pub is known locally as the 'Butcher Brig' after a now defunct slaughterhouse and an adjacent railway bridge.

In recent years the pub has seen an increase in trade following the arrival of licensee Jean Baxter and its success is partly due to her introducing a regularly changing range of real ales from micro breweries.
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