Translucent Style: Cut & Etched Glass in Pubs

Cutting, etching and embossing glass was perfected by the Victorians and put to excellent effect in many of the hundreds of pubs they built towards the end of the 19th century. Almost all Victorian and Edwardian urban pubs had decorative translucent glass and although most of it has been torn out, much still remains. Etched glass was still popular in the 1920s and 1930s, although the intricate art nouveau patterns had given way to simpler geometric designs. Pubs continue to add etched glass windows today, often to replace glass that was removed in the clear glass craze of the 1990s and early 2000s, and sometimes to replace original glass with modern copies.

Harry Redfern’s Carlisle Legacy: the ‘model pubs’ of the State Management Scheme

One of the key proposals of the Carlisle State Management Scheme was to reconstruct existing pubs and build new pubs to an ideal agreed by the various interests behind alcohol reduction. The scheme needed an architect and the person chosen was Harry Redfern, who was to oversee the programme until the early 1940s. Redfern’s pubs were revolutionary and became a huge influence on the ‘improved pubs’ movement that was taking off across the country in the inter-war period.

Britain’s ancient pubs (or are they?)

The pub guide on this website has a category called Ancient Pubs. When I added it I was thinking about the very oldest pubs and I’d assumed that it would include those dating from maybe the 1100s up to the 1400s. Like most people, I was ready to believe claims made by pubs like “dates back to the twelfth century”, or “over 800 years old”. And why not, as these claims are repeated without question in dozens of pub guides from the early 1900s to the present day.

Tiles, Towers and Witch’s Hats: The Eye-catching Pubs of Portsmouth & Southsea

If you take a walk around Portsmouth and Southsea you can’t help noticing the number of spectacular pubs. Some have tall corner towers, some are richly tiled and others have prominent signs promoting long gone breweries. Portsmouth historians Riley & Eley claim that the public house is
“….arguably the most distinctive feature of Portsmouth’s late Victorian working class housing areas”….

My top five pub discoveries in 2021

It was a late start to pub travelling this year with Covid restrictions keeping pubs closed until April. Even then it was only outdoor opening, and it wasn’t until 17th May that pubs were allowed to open inside. Even so, I managed to get to quite a few pubs I had not visited before. Most were very good and it really was quite hard selecting just five of the best. They are listed in chronological order of my visit, not by preference. Kirkstile Inn, Loweswater This pub had been on my must-visit list for a long time but despite several…

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Stained glass in Pubs

Stained glass is almost as common in pubs as it is in churches. Examples from medieval churches are well known but stained glass had a revival in the early 19th century. Artists like Thomas Willement began creating windows for churches in the medieval style with sections of glass joined together with lead. In the 1860s, the founder of the Arts & Crafts movement William Morris was using the same technique but beginning to create stained glass for domestic buildings. Before too long designers began to realise its potential for pubs. At this time, and indeed until fairly recently, it was…

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Art Deco Pubs in Nottingham

Art deco architecture had been developing since the early 1920s especially in the USA, but it only really took off in the UK in the early 1930s. The style favoured by British architects came not from the USA but from a simpler version developed in the Northern Europe. It began to appear in public buildings, cinemas and department stores and eventually found its way to pub design. Though it was never used widely, several pub architects across the country were brave enough to embrace the style. Their pubs were distinctive and eye-catching and even today they look modern, and very…

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Literary Pubs: Where writers and their characters prop up the bar

Many novelists, poets and playwrights enjoyed a pint after a day behind the typewriter and some of the pubs they visited are included here. Historians, philosophers, diarists and other authors of non-fiction literature also headed for the boozer after a hard working day. Writers also featured pubs in their works, sometimes under their real name, sometimes under a pseudonym. Charles Dickens is possibly the most prolific literary visitor of pubs, and many of them featured in his novels. In London, the Seven Stars in Aldwych became the Magpie & Stump in Pickwick Papers and the George in Southwark featured in…

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