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Best Inter-War Pubs Listed

  • Historic England celebrates great pubs with new listings across the country
  • Rare and overlooked buildings now protected - listing acknowledges they are essential part of our common identity, helping to tell the country’s story
  • Recently-demolished Carlton Tavern was among those researched and earmarked for listing

From the Daylight Inn in Kent, named for a local resident who campaigned for daylight saving, to a Landlady’s labour of love in Scunthorpe, Historic England’s research has led to the best examples of inter-war pubs being listed by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

This follows Historic England’s project to understand and protect some of England’s best pubs built between 1918 and 1939.

Image of the exterior of The Black Horse in Birmingham. It was built in 1929 and has been upgraded to Grade II*
The Black Horse in Birmingham. It was built in 1929 and has been upgraded to Grade II* © Historic England. Ref: DP166415

Inter-war pub style

The pubs, most listed at Grade II and one upgraded to II*, are much loved local landmarks. Their design was shaped by the “improved pub” movement that followed the First World War.

Between 1918 and 1939 breweries across the country rebuilt thousands of pubs. They needed to expand their appeal beyond their usual male clientele and leave behind the image of drunkenness associated with Victorian and Edwardian pubs.

Breweries created bigger, better pubs with restaurants, gardens and community meeting spaces. These would attract more respectable customers and appeal to families and particularly women.

The pubs listed are the best surviving examples of this fascinating time in the history of a building type which is stitched into the fabric of English culture.

Image of the inside of the Berkeley Hotel in Scunthorpe. Built in 1940, unusually it was commissioned, decorated and run by pub landlady Edith Kennedy in a rare partnership with Samuel Smith brewery.
The Berkeley Hotel in Scunthorpe. Built in 1940, unusually it was commissioned, decorated and run by pub landlady Edith Kennedy in a rare partnership with Samuel Smith brewery. © Historic England

Newly listed pubs

Among the new listings is The Berkeley Hotel in Scunthorpe which, unusually, was commissioned, decorated and run by pub landlady, Edith Kennedy.

Further afield in Birmingham is The Black Horse. Dubbed by architect Basil Oliver as “one of the most sumptuous inns in the district, if not England”, we have upgraded its listing to Grade II*.

Also listed is the Royal Oak, on the doorstep of the famous Columbia Road Flower market in Hoxton and called an “early pub” because it serves market traders from 9am on Sundays.

It is also a sought-after filming location. Often the backdrop in BBC TV series ‘Goodnight Sweetheart’, it also played a starring role in British gangster film ‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’.

Image of the exterior of the Royal Oak pub in Hoxton, London. It was built in 1923 and on its doorstep is the Columbia Road Flower Market
The Royal Oak in Hoxton, London. It was built in 1923 and on its doorstep is the Columbia Road Flower Market © Historic England/Derek Kendall Ref: DP170216

Under threat

Around 3,000 pubs were built during the inter-war years. They are now a sadly overlooked and threatened building type, with very few surviving today.

One of the pubs earmarked for listing through this project was the Carlton Tavern in Kilburn, recently demolished without warning before it could be protected.

These buildings are important social spaces which have stood at the hearts of communities for decades. Listing offers them protection. It also acknowledges that they are an essential part of our common identity and help to tell our country’s story.

Image of the inside of The Gatehouse in Norwich, Norfolk.
The Gatehouse in Norwich, rebuilt in 1934. The bar feels like a small medieval hall and the stained glass panels in the windows are said to relate to the Bayeux Tapestry © Historic England/Pat Payne Ref: DP172339

Heritage Minister Tracey Crouch said: "These inter-war pubs are more than a slice of living history, they play an intrinsic role in English culture and our local communities.  I'm delighted that these pubs and their fascinating history have been protected for generations to enjoy for years to come."

Emily Gee, Head of Listing at Historic England said: “This national project, the first of its kind, has surveyed the increasingly threatened and much loved inter-war public house, allowing us to identify, understand and protect the most special examples.

And what better way to champion the best of our locals than by raising a pint glass to these architectural beacons of English community life now celebrated on the National Heritage List.”

Some of the newly listed pubs:

The Black Horse, Birmingham, built 1929-30, upgraded to Grade II*
The Berkeley Hotel, Scunthorpe, built late 1930s
The Daylight Inn, Petts Wood, built 1935
The Duke William, Stoke on Trent, built 1929
The Wheatsheaf, Merseyside, built in 1938
The Gatehouse, Norwich, built 1934
The Brookhill Tavern, Birmingham, built 1927-28
The White Hart, Grays, Essex, built 1938
Biggin Hall Hotel, Coventry, built 1923
The Angel, Hayes, Middlesex, built 1926

Truman’s Pubs
Several of the newly listed pubs were built by Truman’s Brewery, based in East London and founded in 1666. Truman’s were especially enthusiastic in building “improved” pubs during the inter-war years, with 151 projects across England:
The Royal Oak, Columbia Road, London, built 1923 by Truman’s
The Rose and Crown, Stoke Newington, built 1930-32 by Truman’s
Golden Heart, Spitalfields, London, built 1936 by Truman’s
The Stag’s Head, Hoxton, London, built 1935-6 by Truman’s
The Duke of Edinburgh, Brixton, built 1936-7 by Truman’s
The Station, Surrey, built 1934-5 by Truman’s