Pub heritage – September 2023


Paul Ainsworth, the chair of CAMRA’s Planning Advisory Group, would be interested to learn of other instances of pubs catching fire in suspicious circumstances in the past ten years. Details should be submitted by e-mail to CAMRA members can also use Discourse to send in details.

The case of the Crooked House is about as bad as it gets but, at least, it attracted the attention of the national press. CAMRA wants to use the renewed national interest in pub protection to improve its advice to campaigners on saving pubs. Consequently, the Planning Advisory Group is looking to recruit additional volunteers with knowledge of the planning system, in particular members who have worked in planning professionally or are familiar with planning systems in the devolved nations. If you are interested in getting involved, please get in touch with the PAG via e-mail at

It is not unknown for pubs (and occasionally other buildings) to burst into flames shortly after Heritage England have notified the owners that they are proposing to add the site to their register of protected historic buildings. This is, I’m sure, simply coincidence and far be it from me to cast aspersions. I fully appreciate that property owners have rights, but so do local communities (and sometimes the nation as whole) when it comes to preserving our heritage. Would it be unreasonable if the rules were changed so that the listing came into effect simultaneously with the notification to the owner, with the owner given the same rights to object as they have now but after the event? In fairness, any appeal would need to be heard very quickly and probably by an independent panel. This would not, I feel, be a job for the Planning Inspectorate.


There were two London pubs mentioned in CAMRA’s Pub Heritage bulletin for August, both in the three star category.

The Island Queen has recently reopened after refurbishment. The pub is Grade II-listed and dates from 1851, with the current interior having been created between 1889 and 1897. Look out for some impressive etched and cut glass and a Lincrusta ceiling. The pub was one of just two entries for Islington in the first ever Good Beer Guide in 1974 and consequently it received a 50th anniversary award from CAMRA’s North London branch in May. In 1974 it was a Charrington’s tied house but it is now part of Mitchells & Butlers’ Castle chain. Thanks to M&B for the photo.

• Young’s have operated the Guinea in Mayfair since 1888 and now not only have extended their lease for a further 30 years but are expanding into the adjoining property, previously the Sladmore Gallery. The new space will provide a further 60 covers for dining plus two additional private dining rooms. The two buildings will be joined internally but Young’s promise that the heritage and character of the building will be respected and the Victorian fittings and screens preserved. There has been a pub on the site since 1423. It became the Guinea in 1675 and was rebuilt in 1741.