A historic pub interior of national importance
Listed Status: IIPark Road, Off Daw End Lane
OS ref: SK032004
Tel: (01922) 642333
Real Ale: Yes
Public Transport: Near Bus Stop
View on: Whatpub
Here is one of the very few pubs in the UK with no bar counter. A three-room canal-side establishment, it opened as a beerhouse in 1895 within an older building. Many regulars favour the central corridor for drinking and on its left is the public bar, with hand-pumps and taps set against the back wall beneath rows of shelving for glasses and bottles. Customers and serving staff aren't therefore segregated as is the case with a conventional bar counter. This warm and welcoming room has simple dado panelling, a boarded ceiling, fixed bench seating and a (possibly) inter-war fireplace. Front right is a room with an old quarry-tiled floor, fixed seating and a modern brick fireplace in an old inglenook. The lounge at the back entered pub use only quite recently.
This three-roomed pub is constructed of mainly 18th century red brick and modern rough cast and is one of few ‘no-bar’ pubs in the country. Originally a farmhouse, the Anson family opened their front room as a beerhouse towards the end of the 19th century. Boatman on the Rushall Canal, which runs at the rear of the pub, being good customers. It gained a full license in about 1895. It has a nickname of ‘The Widows’ because it was run by two old ladies in the past. From the front door a quarry tiled floored passage runs to the rear and has one table near a hatch on the left hand side. Alongside the hatch for service to two rooms on the right there is a half door in an old partition wall and when you walk through the door you are standing in the servery alongside the staff! This is one of only a handful of pubs where this is still possible – in years past there would have been many.
You will notice there is no bar counter as such and the handpumps are all affixed to the bar back fitting. This is one of only eight traditional pubs left in the whole of the UK without a bar counter including the other Heritage Pubs the Cock, Broom, Bedfordshire; Milbank Arms, Barningham, Co. Durham; Red Lion, Ampney St Peter, Gloucestershire; North Star, Steventon, Oxfordshire; Tuckers Grave, Faulkland, Somerset; Rose & Crown, Huish Episcopi, Somerset; and Kings Head, Laxfield, Suffolk.
Until a cellar was built backing onto the canal in the 1950s, casks of beer were on stillage in the area where the bar back fitting is now situated – this makes the bar back fitting no older than 50-60 years. They never added a bar counter making it only one of only a dozen ‘no bar’ pubs in the UK. There is what looks look a tiny piece of counter on the far left near the kitchen but most drinks are handed to customers rather than be left here. The red screeded small public bar that you are now in has an old dado panelling, a 1930s brick fireplace and a boarded ceiling.
The front right Smoke Room has an old red tiled floor and modern brick fireplace under an old inglenook with the remains of a bread oven within a cupboard. All around the room is fixed bench seating which looks like it dates from the 1930s. The pub was hit by a thunderbolt on V E Day 1945 – it hit a chimney in the smoke room which was full of regulars planning the evening's celebrations and they all ended up covered in soot. The legendary band leader Glenn Miller is said to have drunk in the pub during the war with other G I’s. At the rear is the lounge, a small room that has been brought later into use and has no old fittings.