CAMRA Pub Design Awards 2023

CAMRA’s Pub Design Awards, organised in conjunction with Historic England, are intended to recognise the most innovative new projects of architecture, design and conservation in British pubs and are judged by a panel of experts in design and conservation.
There are five categories:

  • New Build: newly built pubs which can reflect the past or be completely modern;
  • Conversion to pub use: for outstanding conversions of buildings which were built for other uses;
  • Refurbishment: this ranges from a complete gutting and replacement to simply enhancing the design of the original pub;
  • Historic England Conservation: sponsored by Historic England, this award is given for work which conserves what is good in a pub for future generations;
  • Community Local: for outstanding refurbished street-corner locals.

These awards cover projects completed in 2021/2022 and London has no fewer than four winners! For the purposes of this competition, pubs are allowed to self-nominate because of the amount of technical information required to complete the applications. The operators of all four pubs were encouraged to enter by CAMRA’s London Pubs Group.

In the refurbishment category, the winner was the Cadogan Arms in the Kings Road, Chelsea. The pub reopened in 2021, having been restored to its early Georgian condition, including the recreation of the ornate timber panelling of the original building.

The George in Great Portland Street was highly commended in the same category. This is a sister pub to the Cadogan Arms and reopened in November 2021. It dates from 1677 and was rebuilt in 1878. It is Grade II-listed (CAMRA one star) because of its excellent Victorian wood panelling, gilded mirrors and ceramic panels and tiling. The renovation pays homage to its history as a hub for the political, cultural and social movements of the late 18th century.

There were also both a winner and a highly commended in the Conservation Award which is sponsored by Historic England. The expectation here is that the pub’s architectural features will be conserved while updating its facilities. The winner is the Black Lion in Kilburn. The pub, which dates back to 1998, is Grade II* listed and London Village Inns have sensitively refurbished the main bar and dining room to return it to its former glory. The pub was included in Christine Cryne’s article on LVI here.

The highly commended award went to the Spread Eagle in Wandsworth. Young’s have restored the Victorian features of this Grade II-listed landmark, including the etched glass and brass fittings, while expanding the site to incorporate a hotel and new company offices. It had been a hotel until the 1920s. For more information see here.

The other winners are:

  • New Build: Strawberry Thief, Swindon. An ambitious project by Arkell’s brewery in a new development.
  • Conversion to Pub Use Award: Turk’s Head, Exeter. A 700 year old pub rescued from its conversion to a pizza restaurant, with its historical character restored. It now has an in-house brewery.
  • Community Local: Gordon Arms, Bedford. A classic street corner local serving Wells & Co’s Brewpoint beers.

The awards ceremony took place on 5 September at the Cadogan Arms. The presentations were made by Laura Emson, CAMRA’s Awards Director, with Andrew Davison representing Historic England. Supporters present included Ellie Eames, the Regional Director for Greater London, Dave Lands, the chair of the London Liaison Committee, Jane Jephcote, chair of the London Pubs Group, and Geoff Strawbridge, the LLC secretary.