Greater Glasgow & Clyde Valley - Glasgow

A historic pub interior of national importance

Listed Status: B

803 Govan Road
Glasgow, Govan
G51 3DJ

Tel: (0141) 445 1349


Bus: Yes

View on: Whatpub

This fine building dates from 1894 when it opened as the Cardell Hall, named after John Cardell who used it as the local headquarters for the Rechabites, a charitable organisation which espoused the virtues of Temperance. Ironically, now a pub, it has a very interesting, intact spacious interior of about 1960 which features a late example of the Scottish island-servery. This is mostly surrounded by the roomy public bar with ply-panelled walls and fixed bench seating in the alcoves but at the back there is also a screened-off lounge area with a hatch to the servery and red leatherette-covered bench seating. Upstairs is a former lounge, now used as a function room with panelled walls and a hooped stall for waiters. High up on the south side outside is a carving of the legendary Govan Cat, famed for its stupendous rat-exterminating abilities

Built 1894 in Scots Baronial style with a tower its first floor was originally the Cardell Hall, named after John Cardell who used it as the local headquarters for the Rechabites, a charitable organisation which espoused the virtues of Temperance. However, by the 1900s, the Temperance Movement was on the wane due to stricter licensing laws and a more enlightened attitude towards strong drink and now it is a public house with bars on two floors. Near the tower's conical roof is a stone plaque which features a shield with the date 1894, two semi-clad men, a crown and a lion; its motto "Sans peur" means 'Without fear'. High up on the southern side of the building is a stone carving of the legendary Govan Cat, immortalising one prolific rat-catcher who killed large numbers of rodents which had been brought to Govan on vessels carrying flax for the local weavers. The interior has a public bar and separately screened lounge on the ground floor and a former lounge on the first floor, now only used for functions.

All the fittings could date from c.1960 with very little changes since. The ground floor is mostly taken up by the public bar with walls of ply panelling to picture frame height. The bar fittings could well be from c.1960 with a ply and Formica panels island bar counter with four short partitions attached, an island gantry with more ply panelling and a feature above it not dissimilar to that at the Laurieston Bar, and square pegboard panels on the ceiling (painted cream). Fixed bench seating covered in red leatherette in the alcoves as well as in the small sitting room - created by a low partition with a row of ribbed glass windows all along the top, it has a hatch to the servery and still retains its door. There are 4 exterior doors – one leads to the stairs to the first floor.

Upstairs is the former lounge, which is now used as a function room. It has c.1960s wood panelled walls, a classic 1960s canted bar counter with a Formica lined section above and with a hooped stool for waiters (others at Steps Bar and Viceroy, both Glasgow) and a Formica top. Has a number of red leatherette fixed seating areas around the room. The mirrored three-bay gantry is of c.1960s. The gents’ are unchanged - they look more 1930s – but the ladies’ have been modernised. The staircase to the first floor has panelling all the way up with looks to be of c.1960 .

Some information from ‘The Glasgow Guide (1999) by David Williams ISBN: 9780862418403.

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