The Bridge Inn in Topsham, Devon has been relisted by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on the advice of Historic England.
Run by the same family since 1897 with a history dating back to at least the 18th century, it retains many of its historic features.
The entrance to the Bridge Inn leads to a panelled corridor, on the left of which is the tap room, with fixed seating and rare historic advertising in the glazing above the door for Kennaway’s Scotch whisky.
A little further on is the back of an old settle or freestanding bench seat, glazed at the top, forming a snug. It features a large stone fireplace, a salt cupboard and a hatch to a parlour through which drinks are fetched from the ground-floor ‘cellar’.
The parlour area is a private space in which customers may be invited to sit. Only a few other pubs in the country are thought to have similar rooms where customers can sit in a space behind a working serving area.
At the rear, the malt-house room is only used for functions or as an overflow when the pub is busy. The bar counter here was installed in the mid-1960s but the brick fireplace is inter-war and one of the old hop shoots survives. Between the cellar and the malt-house is a brick-built furnace that provided hot air for the malting operations.
PROTECTING HISTORIC PUBS AND THEIR INTERIORS
Eleven pubs across England plus a pair of cast-iron lamps have been listed, upgraded or relisted as part of this project to protect historic pubs and their interiors. The list of pubs was put forward by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) Pub Heritage Group, as part of an on-going collaboration between Historic England and CAMRA.
Relisting essentially involves updating and adding to listing descriptions of buildings or sites on the National Heritage List, some of which were written 30 years ago.
Although the term ‘public house’ can be traced back to the 1600s, the ‘pub’ as a distinct building type emerged in the mid-1800s. It brought together and developed three earlier types of building – the inn, tavern and alehouse.
Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive, Historic England said:
“At a time when many historic pubs in England are susceptible to change or at risk of closure, we are pleased to celebrate pubs that have kept their remarkable interiors. These rare interiors help tell the fascinating story of pubs over the centuries and how they reflected society.”
Paul Ainsworth, Chairman of CAMRA’s Pub Heritage Group said:
“Times are tough for all pubs at the moment, including those with important historic interiors. The more protection they can receive, the better. We have been working with Historic England to identify pubs that deserve to be listed, upgraded or have their list descriptions enhanced so that people can truly appreciate why they are special.”
Heritage Minister Nigel Huddleston said:
“Our historic pubs are national institutions that have sat at the heart of local communities for generations, bringing people together and shining a light on our shared past. These listings recognise and celebrate the importance of the local pub to people across the country and will make sure their legacy endures for many years to come.”
THE OTHER PUBS AROUND THE COUNTRY ARE: