Unspoilt by progress

New CAMRA book highlights Midlands’ heritage pubs.


There are some great pubs in this area. In Birmingham especially can be found some of the finest pub architecture in the country – travel down any arterial road out of the city centre and it won’t be long before you find such examples, even if the present climate means some of them haven’t been kept in as pristine a condition as we’d have liked and a few face uncertain futures.

But they all have a story to tell, and often it’s the uncertainty of their trade which has meant pubs haven’t been subject to market forces and modernised, remaining almost as they were in their late Victorian heydays.

Real Heritage Pubs of the Midlands, published today by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), shines a light on the historic pubs in the Midlands which have interior features of special historical significance.

The book, subtitled Pub Interiors of Special Historic Interest, aims to highlight the importance of preserving our historic pub interiors at a time when we are seeing five net pub closures a week across the Midlands.

“Real Heritage Pubs of the Midlands is the latest CAMRA regional guide to the country’s best historic pub interiors. By celebrating these hidden treasures of Britain’s cultural heritage, CAMRA hopes to encourage more people to visit and enjoy them in all their splendid variety,”
says Paul Ainsworth, the book’s editor.

The book features 201 pubs throughout the East and West Midlands that still have interiors or internal features of real historic significance. They range from rural time-warp pubs, some with no bar counters, to ornate drinking palaces and include some unsung interiors from the inter-war period.

This is the first guide of its kind for the Midlands, and it champions the need to celebrate, understand and protect the genuine pub heritage remaining to the region. The pubs included range from the relatively well-known, such as the oldest inn in England The Olde Trip to Jerusalem, cut into the rock under Nottingham Castle, to hidden gems such as the Cider (or Monkey) House in Defford, Worcestershire, which occupies part of a 17th century thatched, half-timbered building.

Closer to home there are such famous landmarks as the Grade II-listed Bartons Arms in Aston and Netherton’s White Swan, as well as lesser-known gems like the Red Lion in Erdington, whose unassuming frontage hides a stunning ceramic bar dating back to 1899.

Real Heritage Pubs of the Midlands has 128 pages, dozens of colour photos and costs £5.99 from usual stockists.

A series of launch events will be taking place for those interested in meeting the book’s author:

April 17-19th: The Shop, CAMRA Members’ Weekend
Albert Hall, Conference Centre, North Circus Street, Nottingham, NG1 5AA
Friday 17th, 4-5.30pm, Saturday 18th, 6-8pm, Sunday 19th, 12–1pm

April 17th: Five Leaves Bookshop
Nottingham NG1 2DH
7:00 pm, 8:30 pm

April 21st : The Woodman
New Canal St, Birmingham B5 5LG
1 pm