A historic pub interior of national importance
Listed Status: II105 Station Road
Built in 1899, this is a corner-site pub with a prominent square clock-tower. The architects were Wood & Kendrick for their regular clients Mitchells & Butlers. Internally the star feature is the servery which sweeps round through 90 degrees and has a ceramic bar counter by Craven Dunnill of Jackfield, Shropshire. The design is the same as that used at the contemporary Crown Bar in Belfast. The bar-back is a lavish affair with a corner clock and glittering ornamented glasswork and a large unusual mirror promoting ‘Cragganmore Finest Liqueur Scotch Whisky.’ Over the entrance lobby is a lovely glazed dome. The floor in this bar is modern. To the right it is evident, as a sharp tap will prove, that the wall is a flimsy stud partition. It seems the counter has been cut back and it is said that, until fairly recent times, an off-sales lay beyond. At the rear of the pub is a large lounge where the bar back, with beaten copper panels, seems original whereas the counter (for some reason) is modern. Off this area is a wide staircase, which would have been used by guests when the pub doubled as a hotel. There is also a large glazed hatch to the back of the public bar servery.
A large prominent corner pub with a clock tower, built by Wood and Kendrick for M&B in 1899. On the corner is a spectacular L-shaped bar, substantially unaltered apart from the right-hand end. The highlight here is a magnificent decorative ceramic bar counter by Craven Dunnill of Jackfield in Shropshire with tiles in beige, brown, yellow and green and complex floral decorations in several colours. Only fourteen remain in the whole of the UK and pubs with a ceramic bar counter are the Black Horse, Preston, Lancashire; Burlingtons Bar (at the Town House), St Annes on Sea, Lancashire; Mountain Daisy, Sunderland, Tyne & Wear; Polar Bear, Hull, East Yorkshire; White Hart Hotel, Hull, East Yorkshire; Garden Gate, Hunslet, Leeds, West Yorkshire; Golden Cross, Cardiff, Glamorgan, Wales; Crown, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Other examples can be found at Horse & Jockey, Wednesbury, West Midlands where a small part on the left has been lost; Castle, Manchester City Centre; Hark to Towler, Tottington, Greater Manchester where the bar has been moved; Waterloo Hotel & Bistro, Newport, Gwent, Wales which has no public bar facility; and there is one in China Red which was the Coach & Horses, Dunswell, East Yorks and now operates as a Chinese Restaurant.
There’s an equally outstanding carved timber bar-back with etched and gilded mirrors and a corner clock. One mirror advertises Cragganmore Finest Liqueur Scotch Whisky but one advertising Clanivor Finest Highland Malt was sadly smashed some years ago and has been removed in recent years. A column runs up from the counter with decorative mirror glass. Unfortunately, the right-hand parts of the counter and bar-back, which were originally an off sales, were vandalised and truncated some years ago to provide a widened entrance on the right to the rear lounge - an entrance which scandalously is now unused! There is a fine vestibule entrance with a leaded dome and etched 'Bar' panels on the door.
The rear large lounge has been opened-up by removal of a partition in the 1980s and combination of the smoke room, which was the area near the toilets. It has a good mirrored bar-back (which has been shortened) but a modern counter; 'Birmingham Pubs' believe that part of the bar-back was the cut-off bit from the front, but there is doubt about this. A 'blackboard' pub notice states that 'During a recent refurbishment a mural - spanning the entire back wall in the lounge was uncovered. It depicts a Victorian street scene with The Red Lion and Royal Oak visible - date unknown'. The rear lobby on the left-hand Short Heath Road side has remnants of good tiles which must have been more widespread originally. Some of the etched windows have lion illustrations; some have 'crown' motifs - this being an early M&B trademark.