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Sun Inn, Skirlaugh

Second application to knock down historic village pub in East Yorkshire:

An application to clear this site was submitted last year and thrown out on the grounds that the pub is tantamount to a community facility, in spite of it being closed for a number of years.

A brilliant (and rare) determination that responded to the concerns of the villagers and the social fabric of the village. Yet the developer is going in for a second pass, with an application that still involves the wholesale loss of the 200 year old pub.

Social capital aside, the pub adds a lot to the genius loci of the village centre, extending the building line of the village core up Church Lane. And a village the size of Skirlaugh needs two pubs.

Lets hope East Riding development control throw it out again.

The Sun Inn, shown on a map circa 1900 to the North of the village centre.

The Travellers Inn, Attercliffe, Sheffield

Unique pub in Sheffield torn down:

This pub, which dates back to around 1780 (although the existing building looks much more recent) has been empty now for 10 years, and internally has been destroyed by vandals.

Sadly, this industrial corridor of Sheffield has lost many of the dozens of pubs that would refresh the working class daytime population.

The frontage, part arts and crafts, part art deco, baffles me. I have not seen a pub look like this before. Yet it is not the architectural merit that makes its loss lamentable. As ever, the loss of a pub symbolises our decreasing demand for the company of other people.

ARLFC Club, Drighlington

Application for the demolition of a former pub, and replacement with 5 dwellings in Leeds:

The Village of Adwalton, contiguous with Drighlington was once home to 5 pubs and a club. One pub, the New Inn, now remains, with the Rugby Clubhouse pictured above no longer in use. This is a very sad statistic. The population has bloated in the villages, yet public life has diminished.

This site is described by the architects as being ‘semi-derelict hardstanding’. Otherise known as a pub carpark. No mention is made of the cluster of Victorian stone buildings that make up this modest yet charming pub. Furthmore, this site is on top of a hill, and is visible from miles around. This building should be considered as part of a wider heritage landscape between Leeds and Bradford that is being slowly denuded of character.

As with most of these pub car park developments, the loss of the building is unessessary, and tantamount to laziness on the part of the developer. A good architect could integrate the pub into a commercially feasible development, perhaps even extending and enhancing the building line seen above, to improve the cohesive geometry of the village centre.

That is what builders used to do for hundreds of years. Development was an opportunity to make places.

Victoria Hotel, South Bank, Middlesbrough

Demolition of a pub in the suburb of South Bank, Middlesbrough:

Looks like I’ll be too late to object to the loss of this beautiful pub and stable building, as the original application went in back in 2019.

This is one of three ornate Victorian buildings that together constituted the high street of South Bank; an industrial suburb of Middlesbrough economically harried for the last century, but was once a paragon of northern civic pride.

It is always worth reiterating that such fine civic architecture is such an important reminder of the aspirant nature of our Victorian city builders. This architecture was a statement that was meant to last a thousand years.

Not only will the locals have lost their pub, but they will have another hole where once a reminder of their sense of place stood.

Brew and Brisket pub, York

Circa 1900 pub to be lost near Clifton Moor:

A lovely example an important typology from this era; The Roudhouse Pub.

The applicant is looking to demolish the building, put up a prefab unit and create a service yard for a car wash. Im no entrepeneur, but surely it would be cheaper to keep the building as the business premises? You could even lease out some of it as office space.

The pub doesn’t occupy a central position within the plot, being tucked away in a corner, so its not as if the configation on the site precludes its use a car valetting facility. Even the heritage statement accepts that the history of the site needs to be further reseach before the building is touched by the wrecking ball. Thats as close as we’ll ever get to a plea for retention from a comissioned heritage expert.

These pubs are vital robust public buildings, and slowly they will come back to life in a post-covid world. It is difficult to appreciate from the image, but the brickwork now demonstrates a centenial spalling, after 100 years of life and love. Clean your car by all means, but only when you’ve got enough spare cash after going to the pub.

The Fountain Inn, Ingbirchworth, Barnsley

Application to demolish a rural pub and build out 13 detached dwellings:

Fountain Inn

Ingbirchworth has doubled in size since the turn of the century. This is a questionable aspect of Barnsley Council’s growth strategy as Inbirchworth has no shop, no amenities, no train, and is 10 miles from a sizeable employment centre.

Dubious spatial planning aside, it also seems odd to grow a village and create demand for a pub, only to see it demolished. I know this pub very well, and it thrives. There is no question of its viability. It serves as the conclusion to a number of hiking routes, and the accommodation is almost always at capacity.

Without any doubt, this is a landowner wanting to simplify their liabilities and cash in on the high values of rural development rather than keep a pub on the books. The developer, Conroy Brook, has a history of heritage destruction in this part of  Yorkshire, so any integration of the pub into the development would complicate their profit forecasting.

I’d guess around 10 jobs would be sacrificed with the loss of this business, along with various contracts with local businesses. Allowing this last public amenity in Ingbirchorth to be leveled is indefensible. A cluster of houses does not a village make.

The Sidings, Shipton, York

Removal of railway carriages and demolition of buildings at The Sidings Restaurant, north of York:


More of a removal per se, but worthy of a mention nonethless. The Sidings restaurant will be no more, and with its departure so too disappear the railway carriages.

Such an intereting feature of the Vale of York, I will miss this nod to repurposing and eccenticity. 

And its one less thing to do on a Sunday for the families of Yorkshire.

Shirebrook WMC, Sheffield

Application to demolish working men’s club of Full Monty Fame:

Shirebrrok club

Not the most beautiful of buildings, but an important cultural icon, having featured in Yorkshire’s second greatest film (yes, Kes wins), Shiregreen Club is set to be demolished.

An online petition that has featured on ITV’s website has gained wide support, so hopefully the decision-makers will accede to public opinion.

Aside from stardom, let us not forget that this represents further erosion of working-class culture in Northern England. Working Men’s Clubs are disappearing at an astonishing rate. In my previous post I mentioned the opportunity loss of new immigrant churches not using vacant Victorian churches. Similarly, new micro-breweries could also set themselves up in old pubs/clubs, with a taproom ready to go. I call upon policymakers to be artistic and find a way to matchmake the pubs without beer, to the beer without pubs.

Rising Sun Inn, Darfield

A former pub near Barnsley to be knocked down:

Rising Sun Darfield

The name of this former South Yorkshire pub was difficult to ascertain. No mention of it on historic maps of the area, I eventually came across a match on Darfield History Society also have some interesting pictures and information on their Facebook page.

Perhaps the most dilapidated building I’ve written about, but still worth a mention before it returns to the ether, The Rising Sun was a fine example of staggered terraced building, navigating a steep hill and punctuating a junction. Much of Darfield was cleared in this area in the not-so-golden era of town planning, but this pub remained well patronised even until 1988, as evidenced by this interesting video.

How I wish this little row had weathered the course of time. The optimist in me says a good portion of the building is repairable, but I know only a visionary would be willing to plough money into such a project. I’m sure they are out there. If only they would read my blog.

The Mayflower, Austerfield

Plans to demolish a pub near Bawtry in South Yorkshire:


The Mayflower is the only pub on Austerfield High Street. Yet somehow nearby Bawtry supports between 6 and 7 drinkeries. The owners have sunk £300,000 into diversifying the pub and offering a full restaurant service, and the business has yet to cease operating, which suggests the new model is working. Sadly it must not be as lucrative as 12 apartments.

Thankfully the proposal has generated some column inches locally:

Let’s hope the local Parish council can demonstrate the capacity elsewhere for local housing targets, and deny this unnecessary windfall development.