Built in 1821 as a multi-roomed coaching inn, Shakespeare’s has undergone various changes. For many years an S.H. Ward’s pub, the well-known live music venue was closed by Punch Taverns in early 2010. It re-opened 18 months later, with the original passageway to the yard creatively turned into another room. At the same time, the above-bar panelling was added and the long-established bar moved slightly forward.
The terrazzo flooring which flows from the entrance lobby indicates the original floor plan. There is a leaded ‘Ward’s Fine Malt Ales’ window and a distinctive exterior sign with the same wording. In earlier days, the pub name was over the door, in a similar style (see 1982 photo).
A 1946 plan (Hadfield Cawkwell, Sheffield) indicates that the rear room was split into two, the right-hand ‘Parlour’ having a separate door (opposite the bar). ‘Service’ and ‘Tap Room’ (front left) are both in their current positions. This plan has 1980 amendments which indicate the position of gaming machines. A 1962 plan (Hadfield, Cawkwell & Davidson, Rotherham for Messrs. S.H. Ward & Co.Ltd.) shows a new counter for the bar and the removal of a screen into the rear left Public Bar.
A December 1981 plan (Sackville Design Co.) shows the rear rooms changing into a single ‘Lounge’ and the conversion of a kitchen and wash room into a smaller ‘catering kitchen’ and internal toilets. This is repeated on a 1984 plan (Jenkinson Palmer & Associated, Rotherham).
Dave Pickersgill and Mick Slaughter