Worcestershire - Pensax

A historic pub interior of regional importance

Listed Status: Not listed

On B4202

Tel: (01299) 896677



Real Ale: Yes

Real Cider: Yes

Lunchtime Meals: Yes

Evening Meals: Yes

View on: Whatpub

Although significantly altered around 1980, you can still discern what a true period piece this pub, built in 1883, had been till then. On the left of the red-tiled entrance passage is a three-bay screen, with the lower window of the middle bay open. It was through here that beer used to be served from now-removed hand-pumps. Behind the screen is a tiny room with wooden floor and a tiled and wood-surround fireplace, above which is a delicate mantelpiece including bevelled mirror sections. This room formerly operated as a parlour for selected customers - others having to drink in the passageway. The room on the front right was used only at busy times whilst, through sliding doors, was a rarely-opened darts/dominoes room. These two rooms were joined up in the alterations and now form the main bar - the bar counter and back were added at this time, as was the small bar counter in the hall. The dining room on the left was formed out of former private rooms. Opens 5pm Mon.

Up to 1980 the Bell ran on incredible traditional lines with a rare 'parlour bar'* (now the snug) and on a visit today it is easy to visualise how it worked. A brick and mock-Tudor building that was built in 1883, architect John Joseph Jones - look for 1883 and JJJ on the exterior porch. The main inn sign contains a bell cast in 1886 at Loughborough for the bell-tower at Abberley Hall. In the past there was a smallholding (30 acres?) attached and other businesses run from here.

The entrance leads into an L-shaped red tiled floor passage / hall and on the left is a three-bay screen with the lower window of the middle bay open. It was through this window that former licensee Hilda Neath served you beer from three handpumps (now removed) - all selling mild, dark and light, as she didn't sell bitter! Behind the screen, which reaches to the ceiling, is a very small room with a wooden floor, tiled and wood surround fireplace with a log fire and above is a delicate mantelpiece including bevelled mirror sections. High up on the left-hand wall are two shelves for displaying bottles etc. In the past this room operated as a private parlour to which selected customers could be invited to drink with the landlady and benefit from the coal fire.* Other customers would buy their drinks through the hatch and drink them in the passage/hall.

The other historic rooms are that on the front right, which would be used when it got busy, and behind it separated by sliding or concertina doors a small room used for darts or dominoes but otherwise rarely open. These two rooms now form the main bar having been joined together in around 1980 and the bar counter and back added; the dado panelling being old. The small bar counter in the hall also dates from c.1980. On the left is a dining room formed of 2/3 former private rooms.

*There are three remaining examples of a room where customers can sit while staff are serving from the same area - the 'Inner Sanctum ' at the Bridge, Topsham, Devonwhich is for use by selected customers only; the 'Select ' at the Arden Arms, Stockport, Greater Manchester; and the 'Snug ' at Ye Horns Inn, Goosnagh, Lancashire, all have Nationally Important Historic interiors.

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