Larkhall Inn

Somerset - Bath

A historic pub interior of regional importance

Listed Status: II

St Saviour's Road
Bath, Larkhall
BA1 6SD

Tel: (01225) 425710

Real Ale: Yes

View on: Whatpub

The Larkhall Inn occupies a handsome mid-18th-century building and contains several late-Victorian features. You enter by a small intact vestibule into the public bar which, though large, always seems to have been one space. Sitting on the Victorian bar counter are three non-operational handpumps dated 1887. The bar-back fittings are later but still mostly of some age. Elsewhere in this room are a parquet floor, old dado panelling, fine lengths of bench seating and an impressive stone fireplace. To the left of the entrance, opening out into a lower level has taken place, with more tampering further back to create an open staircase. Note the old partition/draught screen by the door to the private quarters. A small pool room at the front has a parquet floor and hatch for service.

The Inn occupies a handsome mid 18th century building, originally a small manor house called ‘Lark Hall’, it became an inn in 1784. The Inn occupies a handsome mid 18th century building with early/mid 19th century stabling and brewery attached. It is situated on the main coaching road from Bath to Gloucester and horses were changed here. The inn had its own tokens for use as money. Its little altered interior owes much to the Harper family who ran the pub from 1920 until 1977 when Tom & Grace retired. In April 1942 the pub was machine gunned by the Nazi’s. In 1832 mineral waters were discovered and in 1834 the Larkhall Spa was built. The inn become a popular meeting place for gentry who came to take the waters. The spring dried up in 1930.

The internal features of interest date from late Victorian times. You enter by a small intact vestibule entrance from this period with quarry tiled floor, twin doors ahead with floral symbols cut into frosted glass with the figure ‘8’ over it. Also a narrow door and fixed panel on the right with the figure ‘6’ on the door but both doors lead to the same space now – a largish public bar, a room which, whilst large, always seems to have been one space.

Sitting on the Victorian bar counter are three (non-operational) brass handpumps inscribed "Nathaniel George Wilcocks City Inn Works Bath" and said to date from 1887. There are various bar back fittings and shelving, most of which are of more recent age. On the left are shelves on a mirrored back held up by columns and painted dark yellow (nicotine strain?) then next is a doorway for staff then a cupboard with a glass front and drawers below, also painted dark yellow and on the right another old bar back fitting – the top mirrored back part is not painted and may be a later addition, lower shelves are painted with Formica on the main middle shelf.

Look for the old gas fitting on the right of the bar back. There is a parquet floor, old dado panelling with window seating in the front part of the room. The front portion has a boarded ceiling whilst the back section has a higher ceiling with ornate plasterwork round the edges. There is a large original stone fireplace and two fine lengths of old bench seating - a curved one around the bay window of a style like an old settle but much wider and a straight section that forms a passage on the rear left to the ladies’ upstairs and the outside gents’ under cover.

Sadly, to the left of the entrance, there has been opening out into a lower level area with some wooden railings added later to reduce the gap to a doorway. This small room has a wood block floor, panelling to two-thirds height with wall benches attached, which look post-war as does the stone fireplace; and an even lower ceiling here. Further back on the left more tampering has taken place to create an open staircase and an entrance to the ladies loo. Note the old partition / draught screen opposite the counter by the door to the private quarters.

Small pool room at the front right has a parquet floor and hatch for service – in recent years it has lost its door with ‘Glass Room’. On the rear right the kitchen has old wood block floor and a half door so may have been a public room in the past. Good ‘Larkhall Inn’ etched and frosted front windows which are more recent.

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