Historic Pub Interiors

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A pub with a nationally important historic interior

A pub with a nationally important historic interior, the result of CAMRA's pioneering effort to identify and help protect and promote the most important historic pub interiors in the country.

WEST MIDLANDS - Birmingham, Handsworth, Red Lion

An historic pub interior of national importance

270 Soho Road, Birmingham, B21 9LX

Tel: (0121) 554 5159


Public Transport: Near Railway Station (The Hawthorns) and Bus Stop

Listed Status: Grade II*

List Entry Number: 1276278

Listing Date: 1985

View this pub in WhatPub for full details of this pub's facilities

Pub closed for some time

Closed: 01/01/2007

Built in 1901, it retains a spectacular interior including floor–to-ceiling tiles in passages, ornate bar fittings, four tiled paintings, and panelled ‘coffee room’. There was a pub on this site in 1829. It was bought up by Holt's Brewery in 1893 and rebuilt eight years later to the designs of James & Lister Lea. This magnificent pub was threatened with demolition in the 1980s to make way for road improvements, but fortunately survived and is still with us. The extravagant exterior is in two shades of terracotta. The interior consists of a superb tiled hall and staircase on the right; a fabulous public bar stretches across the full width of the frontage; a tiled passage on the left leading to the Smoke Room; and a little used Coffee Room.

The narrow public bar retains its original bar counter and a magnificent bar back of mahogany and gilded, painted and etched mirrors featuring Holt Brewery lettering and squirrel motifs, which was incorporated into Ansells symbol when they took over Holt Brewery in 1934. The original bench seating along the window side remains and above timbered dados are superb cream, green, blue and gold wall tiles by Minton. On the left side of the pub the passage to the smoke room is particularly fine and has a colourful quarry tiled floor with a disused off sales hatch to the bar.

The door to the Smoke Room has a good panel of etched and gilded glass and inside are large framed lithographs - 3 on the left hand side wall, one either side of the fire and another near the hatch to back of the servery. This little used room retains its original fixed bench seating (in need of repair), with service bells, stained and leaded windows and old gas lamp fitting but it has lost its fireplace. On the right is a superb staircase hall, beautifully tiled throughout mainly in cream and turquoise and is lit by stained glass windows. Upstairs function room with etched windows?

On the rear right hand side the Coffee Room (again little used) has dark wood panelling all around the walls and framed engravings of paintings 'The Village Wedding', 'Shamrock' (dogs), 'Rannoch Moor', 'Thistle' (more dogs), 'The Mountain Pool' (Bison) - 9 in total, and service bells. There is a tiled and wood surround fireplace with bevelled mirror in the wood surround, original fixed bench seating, 'Coffee Room' in frosted and etched window in the door and a hatch to back of the servery.

Despite being Grade II-star listed, the pub has suffered from a lack of maintenance and care for many years; it closed in 2008 and is considered 'at risk'. Latest information is that it is likely to reopen as a restaurant, not a pub.

Red Lion, Birmingham, Handsworth
Red Lion, Birmingham, Handsworth
Public Bar
Red Lion, Birmingham, Handsworth
Tiled Corridor
Red Lion, Birmingham, Handsworth
3 Tiled Paintings in Corridor
Red Lion, Birmingham, Handsworth
Another Tiled Painting
Red Lion, Birmingham, Handsworth
And Another Tiled Painting
Red Lion, Birmingham, Handsworth
Panelled Room
Red Lion, Birmingham, Handsworth
Framed Print In Panelled Room
Red Lion, Birmingham, Handsworth
Bar Back
Red Lion, Birmingham, Handsworth
Mosaic in Doorway