A historic pub interior of national importance
Listed Status: II43, Lime Street
The Crown was built about 1905 by Warrington brewers Walkers and is their riposte to the sumptuous extravagances of the nearby Philharmonic and the Vines built by Liverpool’s Robert Cain brewery. It is a grand architectural introduction to the city for anyone arriving at Lime Street station with the bold Art Nouveau-style lettering catching the eye. There are now two ground-floor rooms. That at the front is a large open area but the various outside doors clearly suggest it would have been subdivided. The finest features are the amazingly ornate plasterwork in the ceilings and cornices. The bar counter has a copper front and there is an interesting bar-back with mannered detail (the mirrors are clearly modern). On the right is a mightily impressive ceramic fireplace. Sadly, this room has lost most of its once-superb decorative window glass (some survives facing the station). The rear room, with the unusual name ‘Bar Room’ (so named in the door glass) is fitted out with more high-relief plasterwork, good-quality panelling plus a fine fireplace with a copperwork. A winding staircase, under a glazed dome, leads to an upstairs room: it has a modest frieze of crests and nice stained glass windows, but the servery is new.
Built in 1905 of brick with marble facing to ground floor, and on the first floor an elaborate panel with 'Walkers Ales Warrington' on the Skelhorn Street side and also ornate wording 'Crown’ ‘Hotel' between the first and second floor windows on both the side and Lime Street frontages. The spectacular feature of the Crown is the amazingly ornate richly moulded plasterwork ceilings. This was clearly a very expensive pub and Walker’s were perhaps trying to rival Robert Cain’s Philharmonic. Cain’s then went one better with the Vines built in 1907. There are now two rooms. The rear one, with its high-quality panelling seems intact but the front one is now a large open area, the divisions between the various parts having been removed in the 19??s – two disused doors indicate there was at least three partitioned rooms when built.
Above the only entrance on Lime Street on the right-hand side is a copper band with the word 'Buffet' in relief and leads into a vestibule entrance with decorative etched glazed panels and a decorative plasterwork roof. The Crown has possibly the finest ornate ceiling in a pub – can you find the cigar shaped plasterwork? – there are five and include figures with one in their mouth, some are on the corner of the smaller square sections etc. On the right-hand wall is mahogany panelling with deep relief carvings along it all topped off by an ornate marble frieze around the room. On the right hand wall is an impressive tiled and glazed brick highly decorated large fireplace in blue, green and dark red tiles.
The bar counter has a rare copper front with fine decoration and is panelled on the return. The bar back fitting may be the original but there is much modern additions such as the panelling within the five bays and all the lower shelving has been replaced by fridges. The fixed seating looks to be original but there has been some re-working as some runs across an original door. Look for the etched window in door to gents' with 'Gents Lavatory' picked out in gold. Sadly the front room has lost its once superb window glass with only some replacement etched windows down the Skelhorn Street side.
The rear room has 'Bar' and 'Room' etched windows on the double doors with a stained and leaded glass panel above. It too has a highly decorative moulded plaster ceiling and cornice. There is dark oak panelling all around the room and a wood surround fireplace with a copper interior, tiled strips either side and a mirror in ornate surround above. The bell-pushes around the room look like modern replacements. The fixed seating looks to be post-war and all the exterior windows are plain.
A winding staircase leads to the former billiard room upstairs which has a glazed dome with deep relief plasterwork frieze below. Now a large dining room it has a new bar counter, modern fixed seating, a modest frieze of crests, and good stained and leaded exterior windows.