Doncaster pub is named as one of Britain's best with prestigious CAMRA award

A Doncaster pub has been declared one of Britain’s best by the Campaign for Real Ale.

The Coach and Horses in Barnburgh has been named a joint winner in the CAMRA Pub Design Awards’ ‘Historic England Conservation category.

The inter-war pub was recognised for projects which successfully combine the retention and conservation of the architectural features which give a pub its historic significance, with the careful introduction of changes which will ensure it survives to serve future generations of customers.

A spokesman said: “When it is done well, ‘constructive conservation’ means that it can be hard to spot the join between what is original and what is new.”

The Coach and Horses,was built in 1937 for local brewers Whitworth, Son and Nephew.

After years of decline it finally closed, apparently for good, before being purchased in 2020 by the current owners the Don Valley Brewery.

Bosses have carefully restored the historic features of the pub, including the fine set of sliding sash screens on the bar which have Whitworth’s ‘sheaf’ trademark in stained glass.  

Modern plywood fronts masking original bar counters and lino covering the original floors have been removed to reveal them.

Alterations to update the pub’s facilities, such as the conversion of the redundant off-licence to a kitchenette, have been carried out with great care. The result is a pub which, again, has been given a new lease of life, and is back at the centre of village life.  

Ben Jones, from Don Valley Brewery said: “For Thirties planning to survive so completely in a pub of this type and size is exceptional indeed and makes it a true national rarity.

"As an 'improved' pub of its time, it was designed to look respectable and to offer varied facilities – a commodious 'best' smoke room with bellpushes, a ‘refreshment room’; an entirely separate public bar; and the notably northern feature of a stand-up lobby. It has been a real privilege to bring this unique part of our British heritage back to life for future generations to come.” 

There were a total of six award winners and one highly commended pub across different categories, ranging from refurbishment to new build in this year’s awards.

ew Build: Brewpoint, Bedford & Crown Wharf, Stone, Staffordshire (joint winners) 

Refurbishment: King’s Arms, Dorchester (winner), Bleeding Wolf, Cheshire (highly commended) 

Historic England Conservation: Castle, Macclesfield and Coach & Horses, Barnburgh (joint winners)  

Community Local: Boleyn Tavern, East Ham (winner)  

Andrew Davison, chair of CAMRA’s judging panel said: “Once again, the awards underline just how varied Britain’s pubs are, and we have had a hard job in selecting the winners.

"We have new pubs, old pubs, urban pubs, rural pubs, elegant old inns, elaborate Victorian ‘gin palaces’, and inter-war pubs. There was a concern that pub owners would suspend work on their buildings during the pandemic, but quite a few seem to have taken the opportunity of enforced closure to plan and carry out repairs, restoration, and improvements. 

“What links them is that their owners and their architects have responded to them as individual buildings, rather than applying a standard formula - the result is a fantastically varied selection of winners. We applaud them all, and trust that these revitalised buildings will be serving their communities for many years to come.”  

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