In May 2021, as pubs all over Shropshire re-opened their doors, we launched a new Historic England-funded project called ‘Inn Sites’.
The project focussed on Shropshire’s rural pubs – an important feature of Shropshire’s everyday life, as well as being a draw to tourists and contributing to the local economy. Our project was intended to help to celebrate that legacy by investigating their past – both through the buildings themselves, and the people that use them.
We gave a talk on the project, along with colleagues from Historic England, Lincolnshire County Council and CAMRA, at an online symposium in June 2022. Click here to read about this event and watch the recorded talks.
Remembering and Recording Shropshire’s Rural Pub Heritage
The project was funded by Historic England and involved desk-based research and site visits to assess these local heritage assets and their significance.
We have now produced records for each pub and these will be held by the Shropshire Historic Environment Record (HER) and Archive. 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.
As part of the project, we’ve run three one day courses in rural Shropshire to introduce people to researching local places, and a two day event for young people, using one of our project pubs to teach filming and editing ‘digital skills’. Read more and watch the fabulous videos created by these young people here.
With the help of local volunteers, we have also amassed more detailed information about 10 of our ‘project pubs’ which we will soon be adding to this page.
Adding to our knowledge
Our project focussed on ‘rural and undesignated pubs’ because we know so little about these particular buildings and their lack of protection means that they are most ‘at risk’ from change.
That means that we didn’t include 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 were 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 also used them to gather collective, cultural memories and a way of carrying out activities and training allied to the research within local communities. This work has helped 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.