A historic pub interior of some regional importance
Listed Status: Not listed1 Henry Street
Built in 1839, the Wellington was refitted in 1940 . It retains many fixtures in the three-roomed layout from that time.
A passageway from the front door to the lobby bar area has a terrazzo floor, inter-war tiling to two thirds height and double internal doors with leaded glazed panels. The lobby bar has a terrazzo floor, and retains the 1940 ply panelled bar counter and bar back fitting. There is some modification to the bar back such as small mirror pieces from the 1960s, and fridges & a glass washer have replaced two-thirds of lower shelving. A 2016 refurbishment introduced shelving to both the left and right of the bar area.
Built in 1839, the Wellington was refitted in 1940 and it retains many fixtures in the three-roomed layout from that time. The previous layout included a 'Smoke Rm.,' 'Small Tap Room,' 'Tap Room' and 'Public Bar.' The servery was moved into the area previously occupied by the Small Tap Room; the former tap room on the front right had minor changes and became the smoke room; and the rooms on the left of the door (smoke room, tiny public bar and the servery) were converted into the new Tap Room (Architect: Wiggul, Inott & Ridgeway for Messrs Tennant Bros.Ltd).
A passageway from the front door to the lobby bar area has a terrazzo floor, inter-war tiling to two thirds height and double internal doors with leaded glazed panels. The lobby bar has a terrazzo floor, and retains the 1940 ply panelled bar counter (but it has been pushed back some 18 inches in recent years – note how the terrazzo floor finishes short of the counter front). Note the unusual keyhole in the part of the bar on the right top section – was it to lock the staff hatchway in place?
The bar back fitting. Is mainly the 1940 one but there have been some modification such as small mirror pieces from the 1960s, and fridges & a glass washer have replaced two-thirds of lower shelving. A 2016 refurbishment introduced shelving to both the left and right of the bar area in similar design. The panelling on the walls of the lobby bar area and (painted) pine ceiling was installed in 1978 when new tenants, Gordon and Pauline Shaw, arrived. They left in 1983, having had a successful time, the (legendary) Highcliffe Folk Club taking up residence for a number of years.
A door on the left with a leaded glazed panel in the top and the figure ‘3’ leads to the tap room with inter-war fixed seating around most of it and it retains the 1940 ply panelled bar counter with a dark stain added. The wood section above the bar counter with two colourful leaded glass panels featuring birds was added in 2016. The exterior has 1930s stained and leaded windows but the fireplace is a reproduction (and inappropriate) Victorian-style one. The piece of wall near the counter is a modern addition having closed a gap created when the lobby bar counter was pushed back.
On the front right there is a room wide gap from the lobby bar with more 1930s exterior windows but the fixed seating is post-war and has lost its fireplace. The terrazzo floor continues to the right with another door with 1930s stained and leaded windows which did have the figure ‘1’ recently replaced with ‘WC’ and beyond is a terrazzo passage that goes past a door with the figure ‘5’ on it and the ladies’ toilet has a 1930s door and terrazzo floor (modern tiles); the gents’ toilet is modern. The numbers are from the days of licensing magistrates to indicate public rooms.
The Wellington was originally the brewery tap for the A.H.Smith and Company, Don Brewery. In 1916, Tennants bought out Smiths, then following the 1962 takeover, Whitbread ran the pub.
The late 1980s saw the pub becoming rundown, many original features becoming hidden. It became a free house in 1993 under the ownership of Neil and Sheila Clarke. At that time, the walls and ceilings were yellow and the bar was covered with hardboard. This was removed and stripped back to bare wood, before stain and varnish were added.
Over a period of some years, they renovated the building. The window frames were stripped and repainted, the wood was stained dark and varnished, the walls were papered and boarding was removed from the door to the toilets. They renamed the pub as The Cask and Cutler, establishing the Port Mahon Brewery in 2000. In 2006, when Neil and Sheila Clarke moved to France, Richard Appleton took on the pub, reinstated the old name and, after a two year pause, restarted and renamed the brewery, Little Ale Cart. The brewery has hosted a number of cuckoo breweries, most notably Steel City who were in residence from their inception in 2010 until 2013.
Brewing ceased in 2016, when the pub was taken on by Sheaf Inns (owner: James Birkett) joining two other pubs, the Blake and the Sheaf View, in this small local group. The pub was closed for a period, redecoration and some refurbishment occurring. It reopened in late September 2016 as the brewery tap for the nearby Neepsend Brewery.