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The Biggin Hall Hotel public house

List Entry Summary

This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

Name: The Biggin Hall Hotel public house

List entry Number: 1428176

Location

214 Binley Road, Coventry, CV3 1HG

The building may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County:

District: Coventry

District Type: Metropolitan Authority

Parish: Non Civil Parish

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: II

Date first listed: 24-Aug-2015

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Building

The Biggin Hall Hotel. Designed in 1921 by T F Tickner for the brewery Marston, Thompson & Evershed Ltd. Opened in 1923, later alterations. Neo-Tudor style.

Reasons for Designation

The Biggin Hill Hotel, an ‘improved’ public house of 1923, designed by T F Tickner, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Architectural interest: designed by a prominent Coventry architect, it is an accomplished rendition of the Brewers’ Tudor style; * Historic interest: a relatively early example of an inter-war ‘improved’ public house built as part of the development of Stoke as a suburb of Coventry, and designed to appeal to the ‘respectable’ middle classes; * Planning interest: the retention of its floor plan with its carefully separated spaces illustrates the ideology of the ‘improved’ pub as a respectable establishment offering both alcoholic and non-alcoholic refreshment, food and relaxation; * Intactness: the building is very well-preserved both externally and internally, and the survival of most of its historic fabric make this is an unusually complete example of a public house of this date.

History

Inter-war ‘improved’ or ‘reformed’ pubs stemmed from a desire to cut back on the amount of drunkenness associated with conventional Victorian and Edwardian public houses. Licensing magistrates and breweries combined to improve the facilities and reputation of the building type. Improved pubs were generally more spacious than their predecessors, often with restaurant facilities, function rooms and gardens, and consciously appealed to families and to a mix of incomes and classes. Central, island serveries with counters opening onto several bar areas allowed the monitoring of customers and also the efficient distribution of staff to whichever area needed service. Many, although not all, of the new pubs were built as an accompaniment to new suburban development around cities, and a policy of ‘fewer and better’ was followed by magistrates both in town and on the outskirts. A licence might be granted for a new establishment on surrender of one or more licences for smaller urban premises. Approximately 1,000 new pubs were built in the 1920s – the vast majority of them on ‘improved’ lines - and almost 2,000 in the period 1935-39. Neo-Tudor and Neo-Georgian were the favoured styles, although others began to appear at the end of the period.

The Biggin Hall Hotel forms part of an inter-war development of suburban housing in Stoke, Coventry. The area was middle-class but was also home to the workers of the nearby munitions factory and other local industries. The pub was opposite Triumph Recreation Ground which included a cricket pitch, tennis courts and a club house until the 1940s. This has since been developed for housing.

The Biggin Hall Hotel was designed by the architect Thomas Francis Tickner (1864-1924) in 1921 for the brewery Marston, Thompson & Evershed Ltd, and opened in 1923. Tickner, who was a fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), was based in Coventry and designed a number of buildings in the area, including the war memorial in Memorial Park (1925-7, Grade II*). His design for the Biggin Hall Hotel is an example of what has been termed ‘Brewers' Tudor’, an architectural style influenced by the Domestic Revival style of the 1860s and 1870s. This style, which reached its height of popularity in the 1920s and 1930s, was intended to evoke romantic notions of a Merrie England and employed half-timbering and internal wooden panelling. Although the Biggin Hall Hotel did not provide overnight accommodation, by calling it a hotel, it was considered to have status and respectability, broadening the class of its clientele.

The original 1921 plans for the Biggin Hall Hotel survive, and were redrawn in 1932 as part of the pub’s obligation as a licensed premises. These plans highlight that there has been some, probably late C20/early C21, alterations to the internal layout, including the incorporation of the off-sales area into the public bar, the extension of the toilets into the west part of the entrance hall, and some removal of sections of the ground and first-floor partition walls. The plans and a photograph of the public bar published around the 1930s show that its original counter was longer and had a curved corner at its west end. The entrance hall to the south side of the public bar includes a quadrant-shaped bar counter, with panelling identical to the bar in the lounge, topped by a stained glass screen. The counter is not shown on the original plans, but its form suggests that it dates from the 1920s or 30s, and seems to have been installed to serve the smoke room. It may have been that the smoke room originally had waiter service, but no bell pushes survive. The partition wall between the smoke room and the corridor was removed in 2005. The area to the rear of the pub, now a car park, was originally a garden with gravelled paths and an area of hard-standing to the east of the pub’s off-sales area. This area would have been entered through the double gates (removed) attached to the east side of the pub, as shown on the plan and in an early photograph of the 1930s. There is a brick boundary wall with brick buttresses along the east and west sides which may be later, and there appears to have been a similar wall to the rear which has since been truncated and topped with fencing. In the forecourt of the pub is a free-standing pub sign with a chamfered wooden post.

Details

The Biggin Hall Hotel. Designed in 1921 by T F Tickner for the brewery Marston, Thompson & Evershed Ltd. Opened in 1923, later alterations. Neo-Tudor style.

MATERIALS: the ground floor is of red brick laid in English bond with red sandstone dressings to the principal elevation; the secondary elevations are of red brick laid in Flemish bond. The first floor is rendered with applied vertical and horizontal timbering, under roofs of plain clay tiles. The windows are metal-framed casements throughout.

PLAN: the detached building is set back from the main road, and has a roughly L-shaped plan. To the front (north), and parallel to the road, is the public bar, flanked by porches. The east porch opened onto the off-sales compartment; this area now forms part of the public bar. The west porch led to a dogleg entrance hall from which all the ground-floor rooms and the staircase could be accessed. The west entrance has been blocked internally and now forms part of the toilets. To the south end of the entrance hall is the staircase, with the lounge bar to the east side and the former smoke room to the west side. To the rear of the former smoke room is the kitchen. At first-floor level, above the public bar, is the club room, and above the lounge bar, are the amalgamated former dining/tea room and the sitting room. To the west, above the former smoke room and kitchen, is domestic accommodation, which continues to the attic.

EXTERIOR: the building is of two storeys with an attic and cellar, and has pitched roofs. The principal (north) elevation has a central three-bay range, with each bay emphasised by half-timbering. The gabled, central entrance bay is set-forward and comprises a canted lobby at ground floor with double doors and a four-centred arch fanlight above. The first-floor bay window has ten, single-light, transom windows. From the centre of the window projects a decorative timber and iron bracket patterned with a portcullis and Tudor roses, which carries the overhanging pub sign. To the gable are four single-lights, with brick to the apex above. The flanking bay windows to the ground and first floor have pairs of cross-windows with leaded lights. There is a gable-end stack to the west end. Flanking the principal range are single-storey porches with double doors and pairs of arched fanlights above, set beneath sweeping roofs. Behind each porch is a two-storey block comprising one bay to the east and two to the west. Both have half-timbering at first-floor level.

The gabled east elevation of the main range is set behind the gable of the flanking bay, and has had a utilitarian fire escape added. To the ground floor is an inserted central doorway, formerly a window, which is now blocked internally. A further gabled bay towards the rear has a gable end stack. The rear (south) elevation is much plainer. It includes the bay window to the lounge bar and above are two, three-light windows, and a raking dormer window to the attic. The left-hand bay breaks forward and includes a half-timbered gabled dormer window with integrated stack. Extending to the south is a two-storey range with a ridge stack to its north end, and a lateral stack to its east wall. There is a single-storey lean-to to its south end. The west elevation of the principal building includes the gabled bay of the smoke room, with a bow window to the ground floor.

INTERIOR: the central front entrance provides access, via the lobby, to the public bar which has timber screens to either side of the double doors, fixed seating with heating pipes beneath, a fireplace to the west end, and dado-height timber panelling. Moulded pilasters support cross-axial ceiling beams with panelled detailing, and in the public bar and other principal rooms are moulded cornices, picture rails and skirting boards. The bar counter, which is to the south side of the public bar, is in its original location but appears to have been replaced and shortened at its west end, which now has a squared corner. The bar back also seems to be modern, as is the floor tiling in front of the counter. At its east end, the public bar has been enlarged to incorporate the former off-sales area, and some of the openings in the east wall have been blocked internally. The entrance hall, originally occupied the west bay of the ground floor, but this has been blocked by the extension of the toilets. The doorway to the south wall of the public bar accesses the remaining hall, which includes a 1920s or 30s quadrant-shaped bar counter which presumably served the smoke room. Its panelling is identical to the bar counter in the lounge and is topped by a stained glass screen, with cornice above. At the south end of the entrance hall is the staircase with timber-panelling to the stairwell. Behind the staircase, opposite the door to the cellar, is a panelled door to the former ladies’ toilet, now the disabled toilet. To the east side of the staircase is the lounge; part of the partition wall between the lounge and the staircase has been removed. The lounge retains fixed benches with heating pipes beneath, and a bar counter; according to CAMRA the bar back is a replacement, as is the tiling in front of the bar. At the east end of the lounge is an inglenook fireplace. The fireplace is recessed within a panelled arched opening with flanking panelled pilasters. The fire surround is also panelled, as is the back wall. To either end is a single fixed seat, and there is moulded cornicing to the ceiling above. The ceiling beams in the lounge have timber panelling, and there is also a section of full-height panelling to the left of the bar counter. The former smoke room is to the west of the staircase, and its west wall has been almost completely removed. The room has dado-height wall panelling, some added when the partition walls were altered, and anaglypta wallpaper to the ceiling. The floor has been replaced. The fireplace on the south wall has had its grate removed, and to the left a doorway has been inserted to the kitchen, former scullery and larder. The former toilet and coal shed at the south end of the kitchen appear to survive, although not inspected.

To either side of the half-landing is a five-panelled door, providing access to a toilet on the east side with tiled walls and original door and door furniture, and domestic accommodation on the west side (not inspected). The stairs continue to the club room which has pilasters with moulded corbels to either side of the bay window, supporting panelled, cross-axial ceiling beams. The bay window has been adapted to form a stage and the windows are blocked internally. The fireplace at the west end has been removed. The door to the left provides access to the toilets which have been re-configured, and an additional door has been inserted to the south wall of the club room providing access to the ladies’ toilets. At the east end of the club room is the bar counter or servery with stained and leaded glass counter screens which can be raised. These are set within a timber frontispiece with moulded cornice and panelling. There are fitted shelves within the servery. The former opening to the right has been enlarged, and the wall to the south side of the club room has been partially removed to provide access to the former dining/tea room and the sitting room, which have been amalgamated. The fireplaces have been retained, as well as the hatched door between the servery and former dining/tea room. The first-floor rooms have parquet floors. The staircase continues to the attic where there is additional domestic accommodation.

The cellar is divided into three rooms with original timber doors and iron door furniture, and a brick floor. The principal room has a brick platform to the perimeter and associated drainage channels.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Brandwood, G, Davison, A, Slaughter, M, Licensed To Sell: The History and Heritage of the Public House, (2011), 80-1
Cole, Emily, The Urban and Suburban Public House in Inter-War England, 1918-1939’, Historic England Research Report Series, no. 4/2015, (2015), 190-6

National Grid Reference: SP3607178906

Map

Map
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End of official listing