Portland Arms

Greater Glasgow & Clyde Valley - Glasgow

A historic pub interior of national importance

Listed Status: B

1169 Shettleston Road
Glasgow, Shettleston
G32 7NB

Tel: (0141) 778 6657

View on: Whatpub

The most intact Art Deco pub interior in Britain and also a good example of Scotland’s island bar pubs. Rebuilt in 1938, it is a single storey structure designed by architects Thomas Sandilands & Macleod for a family that held it until 2006. In front of the entrance is a three sided lobby with a disused ‘Family Dept’ (off-sales) where service was via a small opening in a glazed panel. To the left of the entrance is a small office (now a store). The centrepiece at the Portland, however, is the main bar with its central servery, with banded veneer counter, whose oval shape is matched by the canopy above, all with smooth detail that is so typical of the 1930s. It has a central gantry with the top part supported on chrome-plated tubing. The original fixed seating has wooden dividers and match strikers on them (match strikers also appear on the bar counter). Each corner of the pub has a small snug: that at the front right is particularly interesting as being named as ‘Ladies Room’ in the door glass and has a ladies’ toilet leading off it. The only major changes since 1938 are the replacement of the floor covering and modernisation of the toilets. This is a popular drinkers’ pub which gets packed when Celtic are playing at home, and is regularly used by film companies for period dramas.

This, the most intact of Glasgow's historic pubs, has an island-bar interior in a 'streamlined' Art Deco style. It is a popular drinkers' pub which gets packed when Celtic are playing. A single-storey brick building with polished stone frontage is still owned by the same family since it was rebuilt in 1938 by Thomas Sandilands & Macleod. This remarkable survivor has a splendid oval bar counter with a zebra-like veneer panelling and match-strikers all around the metal rim. The original island gantry has a lighting canopy above it. All the walls are veneer-panelled; there are Art Deco fireplaces on the left- and right-hand sides, and original fixed seating with wooden dividers and match-strikers on them.

In front of the entrance door is the small unchanged 'Family Dept.' (jug and bottle) with its small hatch to the bar. On the left at the front is a small office (now a cleaners' store). In each of the four corners of the pub are tiny sitting rooms, the front ones having part glazed partition walls and the one on the right is labelled 'Ladies Room'. These all have veneer-panelled walls, fixed seating around just one table, and bell pushes. The only changes since 1938 are the replacement of the original geometric-patterned floor covering and modernisation of the toilets.

Other surviving Art Deco interiors can be found at these Heritage Pubs Three Pigeons, Halifax, West Yorkshire; Vale Hotel, Arnold, Nottinghamshire; Test Match, West Bridgeford, Nottinghamshire; Duke (of York), Bloomsbury, London WC1; Steps Bar, Glasgow; and Frews Bar, Dundee; in the Sporting Memories Lounge.

Read More