Recently two Sheffield pubs became part of the prestigious CAMRA Regional Inventory of heritage Pub interiors – The Friendship (Manchester Road, Stocksbridge) and the New Barrack (Penistone Road, Hillsborough).
The Friendship was renovated by Thomas (Tom) Edward Batty, in 1903, on the site of an earlier pub, built about 1859, run by Harriet Battye in 1868-71 and by Elijah Askew in 1881. In 1903, it was advertised as, ‘Re-built, Re-furbished and up-to-date.’
The building was built to serve the growing town of Stocksbridge with miles of steelworks and thousands of workers. Peak employment was 6500. By 1991 this had dropped to 1400. In 2015 there are less than 800.
There is imposing stonework above the central doorway, ‘1903’ and the initials ‘TEB’ can be clearly seen. This also includes ‘a handshake:’ this became the emblem of the Cooperative Society. Tom Batty was a bottler of beers (including ‘Bass and Worthingtons’ fine ales’). The pub has an example of one.
The Friendship retains 3 of its original 4 rooms and a lobby bar as well as plenty of tiling. The entrance lobby has floor to ceiling tiling in shades of green. Walk into a lobby bar area still with the original counter and superstructure above (top section painted grey) that would have originally contained screens. The bar back fitting is distinctive and is likely to be the original structure. It has seen much change with new top shelving and lower shelves replaced by fridges.
The room on the front left (originally, the Tap Room, currently, the Pool Room) has a door and original bench seating around most of the room (the right hand wall piece is missing and the front window section stops short).
There is a row of bell pushes all around the room in a wood panel above the seating; the cast iron fireplace is modern. There is a tiled frieze around three sides of the room (not the front wall) and on the rear wall are 5 tiled panels of plain cream tiles with a green glazed edging. In the early 1970’s, the door was moved from the wall perpendicular to the entrance to the current position. At the same time the matching wall and door on the right of the entrance were removed. This created the room at the front right which is completely opened-up with modern fixed seating and, in 2014, the addition of a wood burner.
The middle left room (originally, the Games Room, currently, the Quiet Room) has a double door width doorway, a good sectioned ceiling and a fireplace where the lower part looks modern but the top section is old as it includes a tiled painting of Venice signed by W Yale. The fixed seating is modern.
The internal window is a later addition, at the same time as the movement of the door in the Tap Room.
William (Billy) Yale was born in Newport, Shropshire in 1843. He was employed by Copeland from c.1869-83, where he was known for painting marine views and winter scenes. After he left Copeland, he set up his own studio on Liverpool Road in Stoke-on-Trent advertising himself as ‘a Tile and Slab Decorator’. During this time, he began decorating sagger ware plaques which he acquired from other potteries and fired in a kiln attached to his premises.
At the rear left up three steps is a function room, originally the billiard room, which still retains its original bench seating on a platform for easy viewing of games. There are original bell pushes around the room but it has lost its fireplace and the full sized snooker table. This is currently used as a function room.
Rear right of ground floor includes a room (originally a concert room) which was last used in 1975. It is currently derelict. However, a restoration is planned.
By the 1980’s, the Friendship was one of many Bass Charrington (Stones) large keg-only pubs. The Friendship was sold by Enterprise Inns, taken on, redecorated and reopened in December 2014. The new owners have carried out a sensitive refurbishment preserving and enhancing the historic interior.
There is also an active bowling green. It is believed that this was originally built as part of the pub. It is currently used by Stocksbridge Friendship Bowling Club (founded 1911) on a long-term lease (over 10 years to run).
A subsequent edition of ‘Beer Matters’ will include information about the New Barrack.
– Dave Pickersgill & Mick Slaughter