In May 2021, as pubs all over Shropshire re-opened their doors, we launched a new project called ‘Inn Sites’. For the next few months our team will be traveling up and down the Shropshire countryside recording information about a selection of old, rural pub buildings.
These buildings have always been an important feature of Shropshire’s everyday life, as well as being a draw to tourists and contributing to the local economy. The project will help to celebrate that legacy by investigating their past, through the buildings themselves, and the people that use them.
Remembering and Recording Shropshire’s Rural Pub Heritage
The project, which is funded by Historic England, involves desk-based research and site visits to characterise these local heritage assets and their significance. We will produce records for each pub that will be held by the Shropshire Historic Environment Record (HER) and Archive. This means that the results will be available to key decision makers – strategic planners, Conservation Officers and Planning Officers – if they need to understand the significance of a building (for example, as part of the planning process) – as well as anyone involved in further assessment or research.
Adding to our knowledge
Our project is focussing on ‘rural and undesignated pubs’ because we know so little about these particular buildings. That means that we won’t be covering the pubs in the 127 Conservation Areas or the 327 listed buildings in the county that are recorded as having been public houses, inns, hotels or ale houses!
But there are still plenty on our list! Historic mapping shows that in Shropshire, around 140 years ago, 205 undesignated rural buildings were public houses, inns, hotels or ale houses.
In March 2021, 128 of these were still licensed pubs.
As well as being concerned with these pubs as physical historical assets, the project will use them as means of gathering collective, cultural memories and an opportunity to carry out activities and training allied to the research within local communities. This work will help establish the significance of the assets which are still identified as ‘pubs’ in planning or licensing terms, as well as improving capacity, knowledge and heritage skills within local communities, and helping them champion the conservation and enhancement of their local historic environment.
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