A historic pub interior of national importance
Listed Status: IIHolly Bush Lane
Tel: (01332) 841729
Real Ale: Yes
Real Cider: Yes
Lunchtime Meals: Yes
Nearby Station: Duffield
Station Distance: 1750m
Public Transport: Near Railway Station (Duffield) and Bus Stop
View on: Whatpub
A marvellous village pub which, like many others, has grown from a small original core. Here this was the superb central snug, formed by a quadrant-shaped partition wall with glazing above and a double-hinged door in the middle. Benches are attached inside, focusing on the fireplace which houses a cast-iron range, albeit dating only from the 1990s. This wonderful space, fully enclosed when the door is shut, has a quarry-tiled floor that extends into the corridor. Here, a diagonal line in a corner near the snug supposedly marks the site of a counter where beer was served from jugs brought from the cellar prior to the present servery being created in the right-hand room (though Pedigree is still served from a jug kept on the bar back). This room has not changed significantly in the last 50 years, but the windows facing the lean-to extension are modern - the scars of the replaced single window are still visible. The left-hand room took its present form in 1981 when Holly Bush Cottage, beyond the central post, was incorporated into the pub. The inn sign is painted on the frontage - a once common, but now rare, sight.
17th- or early 18th-century pub. The snug at the Holly Bush is one of Great Britain’s finest unspoilt pub rooms. It is formed by a curved partition wall with windows in the very top part and a double hinged door with ‘2’ on it in the centre of the partition. Attached to the inside of the partition wall are benches which make them look and feel like two high backed curved settles and there is some wall bench seating attached to the dado panelling on the exterior wall side. This small room has a quarry tiled floor, an Excelsior range fireplace (n.b. this was installed from elsewhere in the 1990s). A short passage to the left of the fireplace leads to the back of the servery where there is a stable door (lower half removed). For service the approach to the snug from the front door also has a quarry tiled floor and some wall bench seating attached to the dado panelling (but, note, it was fitted here from the right-hand room in modern times).
There are only a handful of similar rooms or snugs formed of two or more high backed settles left in the whole of the UK. They can be found at the following Heritage Pubs – the Malt Shovel, Spondon, Derbyshire; Green Dragon, Flaunden, Hertfordshire; Red Lion, Kenninghall, Norfolk; North Star, Steventon, Oxfordshire; Kings Head, Laxfield, Suffolk; Bell & Cross, Holy Cross, Worcestershire; Old White Beare, Norwood Green, West Yorkshire; Red Lion, Llansannan, North West Wales;; Crown, Snape, Suffolk;; Wheatsheaf, Raby, Merseyside;; Galway Arms, East Retford, Nottinghamshire;; and Anchor, High Offley, Staffordshire .
The main bar on the right of the entrance is believed to have been like this for possibly 50 years (difficult to date the bar counter) and there is some very old bar back shelving (and some new ones), fixed seating which does look 50 years old and a stone fireplace that could date from the 1920s? The cottage to the left of the pub was purchased in 1981 and a new bar created. There is a conservatory-style area behind the pub which includes the former outside gents and service is via a window. Other unspoilt aspects of the pub are the inn sign which is painted on the exterior wall and the fact that it still serves Pedigree from a jug sitting on the bar back which is topped up by regular visits to the cellar. Other Heritage Pubs still using a jug to serve at least one real ale are the Barley Mow, Kirk Ireton, Derbyshire; Star, Bath, Somerset; Anchor, High Offley, Staffordshire; Dyffryn Arms, Pontfaen, Pembrokeshire, West Wales; Falcon, Arncliffe, North Yorkshire; and Cresselly Arms, Cresswell Quay, Pembrokeshire, West Wales.