South Tyneside pub acclaimed as national treasure

NEAR AND DEER ... Suzanne Wallace at the Stags Head in Fowler Street.
NEAR AND DEER ... Suzanne Wallace at the Stags Head in Fowler Street.

A PUB in South Tyneside has been hailed a national treasure and named as one of the watering holes of greatest architectural interest in the UK.

The Stag’s Head in South Shields is included in a Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) pub guide, called Britain’s Best Real Heritage Pubs, to be published next month.

Built of brick in 1897, the borough pub has long been noted for its original bar features, as well as for being one of the smallest boozers in South Tyneside.

In the Camra inventory of historic pubs, the Stag’s Head is highlighted for boasting two original bars and bar backs.

Another striking feature is the entrance lobby, part of which includes floor-to-ceiling tiling in dark green, gold and brown, with diamond tiles in relief on the dado, plus a tiled frieze at the top.

Michael Fitzmaurice, tenant at the Stag’s Head, and landlady Suzanne Wallace have both welcomed the Fowler Street pub’s inclusion in the new guidebook.

Mr Fitzmaurice said: “It’s a real accolade to be included.”

A Camra spokesman said: “The small public bar has an unusual feature of a wide, four-centred arch, which spans the downstairs servery.

“Within it is the original bar back, topped by a modern clock and broken pediments, and a bar counter that has been extended to continue around the corner, but closely matches the original work.”

The Stag’s Head also features a large Victorian-tiled fire surround and old pub advertising.

Geoff Brandwood, author of Britain’s Best Real Heritage Pubs, said: “Our pubs have changed so much during the past half-century, that ones with genuine historic interiors are now incredible rarities.

“This book identifies the top 270 of these national treasures and presents a unique picture of the diversity of interior styles spanning a century or more.”

The book represents more than 20 years’ work by Camra’s pub heritage group in collaboration with English Heritage.

Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage, said: “Pubs are an intrinsic part of British life, and nationwide there are around 50,000 opening their doors every day, but historic pub interiors are something rarer.

“Across the UK, only some 270 have been identified as having the level of national importance necessary for listing in this guide.”

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