Royal Oak Hotel

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Greater Manchester - Oldham

Three star - A pub interior of exceptional national historic importance

This pub is currently closed (since 24/11/2023)

Owners Inglenook Inns closed the pub in November 2023 and sold it to persons unknown. Internal damage has occurred notably flooding caused by clumsy removal of a dishwasher. The grade II listing prohibits any internl alterations unless Listed Building Consent is obtained. The Council is keeping a close eye on the situation.

Listed Status: II

178 Union Street

Tel: (0161) 633 2642



Real Ale: Yes

Public Transport: Near Bus Stop

Bus: Yes

View on: Whatpub

UPDATE NOVEMBER 2023  The pub has been closed by owners Inglenook Inns and sold to persons unknown. The interior has already suffered flood damage due to clumsy removal of a dishwasher. Any significant internal alterations require Listed Building Consent. The Council is keeping a close eye on the situation.

A three-storey brick pub close to the centre of Oldham, which was given a major refit about 1930. The key feature here is the servery, a splendid semi-circular structure which projects forward into what is, in effect, a variant of the typical regional drinking lobby arrangement. It is a marvellous piece, provided with still-working counter screens. The back of the servery fits squarely on to the lounge at the front, to which it is linked by a hatch with counter screening. The c.1930 work provided large expanses of two-tone tiling on the walls, a good deal of which has been papered over, unfortunately. The two rooms on the left have been amalgamated into one. On the side street there is an entrance to a rare, complete off-sales compartment which has a hatch to the servery. There is a large upstairs bar with an original servery and mock half-timbering and is used for functions. Attractive stained glass on the landing.

An early 20th century brick building which had a quality refitting in 1928 including the insertion of a splendid glazed servery and lots of wall tiling. The inner lobby on Union Street side has a modern tiled floor and the walls which have inter-war tiled walls have been covered by wallpaper due to damage to the tiling. Through the inner double doors (originally planned as a revolving door) that have original diamond sectioned multiple glazed panels is the Lobby Bar area which has more inter-war tiled walls covered by wallpaper due to damage to the tiling. The star here is the rare intact fully screened curved servery reaching up to the ceiling where the lower panels can still be lowered but are kept in the raised position due to a pot shelf full of glasses. Most sash windows in similar screened serveries operate using cord but here they have linked chains to operate them. Around the lobby area there are some inter-war tiled walls still exposed. The servery area is little altered (only one fridge and a small washbasin added) with some drawers in the curved bar back and even some tiling on the walls. Note the old bell box but there are no signs of bell pushes. At the rear of the lobby bar area is two sections of old fixed seating but there were changes to the window (with old ‘Royal Oak’ and ‘Crown’ leaded panels) in 1984 when the toilets beyond were re-arranged. The 1928 ladies toilets were on the rear left and the present ladies’ are were the 1928 gents toilets were situated and the present gents’ occupy where originally what was originally the scullery.

On the right of the lobby on Union Street side a door with original diamond sectioned multiple glazed panels leading to a small Vault This has a small bar, more like a hatch, with a further section of the shuttered servery and here the lower section is still raised and lowered on a daily basis – very rare! The inter-war fixed seating has draught screens near the door, and there is a small wood surround fireplace that looks from the 1920s but is disused. On the left side of the pub the front Commercial Room and rear Snug have been knocked into one and some original (i.e. c.1900) fixed seating remains at the front. Note the fine ‘Royal Oak’ inter-war etched windows on the front, more and also a brewery logo (?) ones on the rear windows and colourful leaded lights throughout the pub including oak tree and crown symbols. The combined room has lost both fireplaces, has two doorways leading into it and now houses a pool table.

On the Rhodes Bank (right hand) side the exterior door leads into a lobby with 2/3rds height inter-war tiled walls and a door leads into a rare intact off sales with more 2/3rds height inter-war tiled walls, a black and white tiled floor, and a further piece of shuttered servery up to the ceiling still intact with the lower section permanently closed. There is a splendid mahogany partition wall with glazed panels at the top that separates the off sales from the lobby bar with a door leading into the latter.

Tiling continues up the open staircase in the lobby bar and there is a good stained and leaded window on the first floor with more dado tied walls. Upstairs is a function room which retains a rare counter screen – few first floor bars retain old fittings. Again, the sash sections with metal chains can still operate and there are small fixed glazed sections – note the figure ‘11’ over the right hand one. There are inter-war fireplaces (blocked-up) at each end of the room (no indication it was ever two rooms) and narrow strips of wood are on all the walls with Artex in between indicating changes in the 1960s? In the corner are two originally ‘unisex’ WC’s but now labelled as a ladies toilet – however, party organisers are allowed to use them ‘as they like’!

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