Centurion Inn

Somerset - Bath

A historic pub interior of regional importance

Listed Status: II

Poolemead Road
Bath, Twerton

Tel: (01225) 332160

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/thecentch

Real ale & Cider: Real Ale

Public Transport: Near Bus Stop

Bus: Yes

View on: Whatpub

Built in 1965 and remarkably little-altered since, the striking design of this pub owes much to its hillside position. The exposed site is also the reason why an unusual system of pressurisation, linked to the central heating and ventilation system, was installed – note the distinctive doors. From the car park, you enter a lobby with a terrazzo floor and a store room on the right. The skittle alley was converted from a garage, store and part of the cellar in the late 1970s/early 1980s. A terrazzo staircase leads to the entrance hall with numerous doors, including those to the main bars. The lounge is on the left and has a balustraded higher level for darts. The original counter is in a distinct period style with a Formica front and top and the mirrored bar-back is also intact. Up a step is the former Buttery area, once separated with a partition, and with a suspended ceiling of hollow steel laths. Again, the counter is original, part panelled and part Formica-fronted plus a black Formica top. Down the left hand side is a mirrored display case – this was originally a food-serving area and has lost its counter. The walls are lined with timber panelling and the large windows give great views over Bath. The same applies in the public bar on the right. This also has a raised, balustraded darts area and similar counters and bar-backs. A door leads to a paved patio which wraps round the building. Note the Roman figurines inside and out and the fragment of mosaic displayed in the entrance hall.

Uniquely designed pub due to its hillside position, it was built in 1965 and is remarkably little altered since. It was designed by H. R. Robinson, LRIBA, Group Chief Architect of West Country Breweries, which became part of Whitbread's in 1963. The pub had three bars - the public bar on one side, and the 'buttery bar' and lounge bar on the other which were originally separated by a partition but fully joined together. The plan of the pub as built was the result of a last-minute change of mind - there was originally going to be an off-sales shop and a larger first-floor terrace, but this was done away with and the buttery bar created. A buttery bar is a room that has been found to have existed (by that name) in only one other post-war pub.

The Bath & Wilts Evening Chronicle (Dec 1965) states ‘In planning the house, West Country Breweries’ architects were conscious of the fact that it occupied an exposed site facing north. To provide maximum comfort for the customers they have installed a unique system of pressurisation which is linked to the central heating and ventilating system. This provides for all rooms to be slightly pressurised so that draughts are completely eliminated. To provide extra comfort, all windows in the house are double-glazed’. The Roman figurines on the outside and inside are all original parts of the scheme, and the fragment of Roman mosaic in the entrance hall is also likely to have been displayed in the pub since the 1960s.

From the car park there is a lobby with a terrazzo floor with a skittle alley on the left and a store room on the right. The skittle alley with a servery was added into what was formerly a garage, empties store and the northern half of the cellar and bottle store around the late 1970s/early 1980s. A terrazzo staircase leads up to the entrance hall with numerous doors – one is to an office; another to the maisionettes upstairs, others to the toilets and to the two main bars. There is also an external staircase around the inn sign leading from street level to the lounge bar.

The lounge bar is on the left (west) side and near the entrance is a higher level for darts with a balustrade (age?) and the bottom segment of what was a tiered group of planters, joined by metal rods. The counter is the original and is of a distinct 1960s style with a Formica front and top. The mirrored bar back is intact including the lower shelving as fridges have been sensibly placed under the counter. The room has a carpet with terrazzo tiled floor near the servery.

Up a step is an area formerly the Buttery which was separate from the lounge with a partition original. It has a suspended ceiling is of hollow steel laths. The original counter here is part panelled and part has a Formica front and it has a black Formica top. The bar back retains its lower shelving but the above section consists of cupboards and is now a glass washing area so some changes. Down the left hand side is a mirrored display case of trophies – this area originally was for serving food and has lost its bar counter i.e. it was L-shaped. The walls of the buttery bar are lined with timber panelling and it has large windows with views over Bath.

Through twin glazed doors is the public bar also on two levels with an original balustrade in the raised dart area just inside the entrance. The original counter front has raised squares to which panels were added some 5 years ago. The original mirrored bar back fitting has a couple shelves in the upper section and only one fridge added. The room has a pool table and large windows having views over Bath.

Off the entrance hall a door leads to the office with the original safe. The gents retains most of its original wall tiling (pink!) but the trough is modern. The ladies is untouched with more pink wall tiling and two cubicals with Formica covered partition walls.

Full Description