Bedfordshire - Broom

A historic pub interior of national importance

Listed Status: II

23 High Street
SG18 9NA

Tel: (01767) 314411




Real Ale: Yes

Real Cider: Yes

Lunchtime Meals: Yes

Evening Meals: Yes

Bus: Yes

View on: Whatpub

The Cock is a splendid village local. It is characteristic of the way thousands of village pubs may have begun, with just one small room in a private house and then expanding over the years. In this case, to the left of the front entrance, which is now a games room, was the original drinking area. Drinks were fetched as, amazingly, they still are, from the top of the cellar steps in the room beyond. CAMRA’s research suggests that just seven pubs in the UK now share this total lack of a bar counter or hatch). The right-hand front room opposite was once a shop, hence the cupboards either side of the fireplace. It has lots of panelling, full-height on the rear wall and two-thirds-height elsewhere. The entrance corridor also sports a highly decorative display of woodwork, whilst the rooms at the back have been developed over stages since 1977, but do not impact adversely on the historic area at the front. However, traditional as it may look, most of the panelling is the work of a local carpenter, Richard Beasley, as recently as about 1980.

This village pub has changed over the years and now has five small rooms. It still has no bar counter - and is one of only six traditional pubs left in the whole of the UK without a bar counter including the other Heritage Pubs the North Star, Steventon, Oxfordshire; Tuckers Grave, Faulkland, Somerset; Rose & Crown, Huish Episcopi, Somerset; Kings Head, Laxfield, Suffolk; and Manor Arms, Rushall, West Midlands.

This is a mid-19th-century row of cottages converted into alehouse and later a pub. Owned by Ballards, it was sold to Wells & Winch of Biggleswade, who were taken over by Greene King in 1961. It has grown from a single room with beer fetched from the cellar but retains a sense of its traditional character. At one time the only public drinking area was on the left-hand room (now the games room with table skittles). Drinks were then brought, as they still are, from the top of the steps.

On the right-hand side there used to be a shop - hence the cupboards either side of the fireplace. This is the classic room in the pub with two-thirds height panelling. As you enter the pub from the front door there is a highly distinctive display of woodwork - old lapped boarding on the right and further back a set of cupboards; the panelling on the left, however, is not so old having taken its present form about 1980 (this is also the date of the panelling in the games room) and it was all added by local carpenter, Richard Beasley.

The uneven red-tiled corridor leads to the rear part where, and on the right, a small snug has been brought into use in modern times. It has a red-tile floor, panelled walls, bench seating and an early 20th-century fireplace. There were changes just outside this room in 1977 when the sink used for cleaning glasses was removed. Changes in the 1990s to bring the toilets inside also created a public drinking area in front of the entrance to the cellar servery. This has greatly expanded the size of the pub but has not destroyed the atmosphere of the old front rooms. At the rear left is a dining room brought into use in the 1990s.

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