A historic pub interior of national importance
Listed Status: II50 Great Bridgewater Street
The pub opened in 1811 and is said to have been used as a recruiting centre for soldiers to fight Napoleon, hence, it seems, the name. But our real interest here is a major refit about 1930, whence the extensive amounts of tiling and quality woodwork to the interior. The layout is similar to some Merseyside pubs in this guide, the Stork, Birkenhead, and the Lion and Prince Arthur in Liverpool. The public bar is along the front, and is wrapped around by an L-shaped terrazzo-floored corridor, beyond which are a pair of back rooms (smoke room and snug) served by a double doored hatch with screens at the back of the servery. Especially good features are the moulded ceiling and bar furniture in the public bar and corridor, the 1930s copper fireplace in the smoke room, and the wall-tiling in the passage, which also runs up the staircase. The tiling at the Britons Protection is very similar in style and date to that at the Hare & Hounds in the Shude Hill area. The massive urinals and tiled walls in the gents’ are worth inspection.
This pub first opened its doors in 1811 and was probably a range of houses originally. It was initially used for recruitment during the Napoleonic wars (hence the name). The building has a simple, rendered brick front, typical of Georgian times. What gives it its character now is a remodelling in the c.1930 with extensive amounts of tiling and good-quality woodwork. The moulded ceiling in the public bar and the corridor is the same as the ceiling in the public bar of the Mawson, Brunswick, a pub that was rebuilt in 1936-7 to designs of Fred Riley of Bramfield & Smith, Manchester for Tetleys Brewery of Leeds. The Britons Protection still retains its exterior Tetley illuminated sign.
It has a public bar along the front, a tiled corridor which leads round the back of the servery and to a pair of rooms behind. The public bar along the front with a figure '1' on the door has a good moulded ceiling picked out in gold on red. It retains its 1930s bar counter and bar back-fitting, a dado of 1930s tiling and fixed seating also from that date.
The off sales area is still visible with its double exterior doors - it is the area through the arch cut in the dividing wall to the right of the public bar. The numbers on the doors were required to identify the rooms for licensing purposes. On the left are twin doors leading to the passageway - note the figure '2' on one of them and the five intact sliding screens on the servery side. It has a dado of 1930s tiling and another moulded ceiling picked out in gold on red. There is hatch for service at the rear of the servery which has two leaded screens and serves the two rear rooms.
The Smoke Room at the rear of the passageway has a figure '3' on the door, original fixed seating with bell pushes, a copper fireplace with wood surround from the 1930s and by the door a draught screen with a leaded glazed panel in the top. There is a figure '4' on the last room on the rear right which has a draught screen with glazed leaded panel in the top, leaded rear window, original fixed seating and bell pushes, 1930s wood surround fireplace.
The tiling continues all along the passage which runs to the toilets at the rear and up the staircase. Note the ladies toilet has an unusual hanging door with leaded glass panels in the top. A visit (if possible!) is recommended to the gents' with its 1930s massive urinals and 1930s tiled walls. There is also a room upstairs with few old fittings which is available for meetings.
To celebrate the pubs double centenary there was a celebration on 10th & 11th June 2011 when the first 200 customers each day could buy a pint for only 10p.