Pub interiors on 'at risk' list

The number of historic pubs remaining in Britain has sunk to such a “disturbing” level that more than 250 establishments have been placed on a new ‘at-risk’ list.

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) says its ‘Pubs in Peril’ list has been drawn up by people who are passionate about protecting and promoting historic pub interiors.

All of the pubs listed were built before the Second World War and are decorated in styles including Art Deco, High Gothic and post-war Brutalism.

Modern refurbishment or bulldozers threaten to rip out the soul of the establishments, or the death of licensee and prospect of sale mean their futures are at risk, the campaign said.

Some of the listed buildings have already closed or fallen into a state of disrepair, with such conditions making it more likely that the pub would qualify as being in “immediate danger.”

The 20 pubs in this category have now won the support of English Heritage, in light of the group’s concern that 56 pubs are closing down each month, The Sunday Telegraph reported yesterday.

But pub landlords should think twice before they rip out their traditional interior for a modern replacement, according to CAMRA.

“A common approach when a pub owner wants to drum up extra trade is to give the interior a “new look,” the group said in a statement.

“All too often ‘old’ has been seen as ‘outdated’ resulting in historic layouts being changed (usually by removing walls to create large open spaces) and original fittings being destroyed.

“So often, such changes have only a short-term positive impact on trade so good money has to be thrown after bad.”

Paul Ainsworth, chairman of CAMRA’s Pub Heritage Group, said a website has been set up to help pub-goers locate “unspoilt traditional pubs” with feature-rich interiors

He added: “We also hope that the site will highlight the importance of these interiors, given that they now represent a tiny fraction of the nation's pub stock.

“Many are under real threat and once they're gone, they're gone. They are there to be enjoyed but also need protection.”

 

19th March 2007

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