Heritage Pubs – The Wellington

Congratulations to the Wellington – it has recently become part of the CAMRA National Inventory of Pub Interiors in the SRI (Some Regional Importance) category. There are now 21 Sheffield pubs listed in the three inventories: pubheritage.camra.org.uk.

Built in 1839, the Wellington was the brewery tap for the A.H.Smith and Company, Don Brewery. In 1916, Tennants bought out Smiths, then following the 1962 takeover, Whitbread ran the pub.  The Wellington was refitted in 1940 and retains many fixtures in the three-roomed layout from that time. The previous layout included a ‘Smoke Rm.,’ ‘Small Tap Room,’ ‘Tap Room’ and ‘Public Bar.’  The servery was moved into the area previously occupied by the Small Tap Room; the former tap room on the front right had minor changes and became the smoke room and the rooms on the left of the door (smoke room, tiny public bar and the servery) were converted into the new Tap Room (Architect: Wiggul, Inott & Ridgeway for Messrs Tennant Bros.Ltd).

A passageway from the front door to the lobby bar area has a terrazzo floor, inter-war tiling to two-thirds height and double internal doors with leaded glazed panels. The lobby bar has a terrazzo floor, and retains the 1940 ply panelled bar counter (but it has been pushed back some 18 inches in recent years) and bar back fitting. There is some modification to the bar back such as small mirror pieces from the 1960s, and fridges and a glass washer have replaced two-thirds of lower shelving. Note the unusual keyhole in the part of the bar on the right top section – was it to lock the staff hatchway in place? A 2016 refurbishment introduced shelving to both the left and right of the bar area, including the two stained glass windows above the lounge bar.

The panelling on the walls of the lobby bar area and (painted) pine ceiling was installed in 1978 when new tenants, Gordon and Pauline Shaw, arrived. They left in 1983, having had a successful time, the (legendary) Highcliffe Folk Club taking up residence for a number of years.

Wellington 07 03 2017 (20)

A door on the left with a leaded glazed panel in the top and the figure ‘3’ leads to the tap room with inter-war fixed seating around most of it and it retains the 1940 ply panelled bar counter with a dark stain added. The exterior has 1930s stained and leaded windows and the fireplace is Victorian-style. The piece of wall near the counter is a modern addition having closed a gap created when the lobby bar counter was pushed back. There are good exterior inter-war (Tennants) leaded windows.

The front smoke room on the right has a wide gap to the lobby with more 1930s exterior windows but the fixed seating is post-war and has lost its fireplace. The terrazzo floor continues to the right with another door with 1930s stained and leaded windows and the figure ‘1’ and beyond is a terrazzo passage that goes past a door with the figure ‘5’ on it and the ladies’ toilet has a 1930s door and terrazzo floor (modern tiles); the gents’ toilet is modern.

The late 1980’s saw the pub becoming run-down, many original features becoming hidden. It became a free house in 1993 under the ownership of Neil and Sheila Clarke. At that time, the walls and ceilings were yellow and the bar was covered with hardboard. This was removed and stripped back to bare wood, before stain and varnish were added. Over a period of some years, they renovated the building. The window frames were stripped and repainted, the wood was stained dark and varnished, the walls were papered and boarding was removed from the door to the toilets.

Wellington 07 03 2017 (2b) bar

They renamed the pub as ‘The Cask and Cutler,’ establishing the Port Mahon Brewery in 2000. In 2006, when they moved to France, Richard Appleton took on the pub, reinstated the old name and, after a two year pause, restarted and renamed the brewery, Little Ale Cart. The brewery has hosted a number of cuckoo breweries, most notably Steel City who were in residence from their inception in 2010 until 2013. Brewing ceased in 2016, when the pub was taken on by James Birkett, owner of two other Sheffield pubs, the Blake and the Sheaf View. It was closed for a period, redecoration and some refurbishment occurring. The pub reopened in late September 2016 as the brewery tap for the nearby Neepsend Brewery.

Dave Pickersgill

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