Inn Sites

In May 2021, as pubs all over Shropshire re-open their doors, a new TDR Heritage project called ‘Inn Sites’ launches too. Over the next nine 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. This will result in a consistent dataset, held by the Shropshire Historic Environment Record (HER), which means that the results will be available to key decision makers – strategic planners, Conservation Officers and planning officers, and individuals who may be involved in further assessment work.

Crown Inn at Wentnor, shown on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey Map of 1883 (National Library for Scotland)

 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.

The project is focussing on ‘rural and undesignated pubs’ which excludes pubs that are in the 127 Conservation Areas in Shropshire or in urban areas. It also excludes the 327 listed buildings in the county that are recorded as having been public houses, inns, hotels or ale houses.

The early 18th century Stables Inn (formerly Hopesgate Inn) Hopesgate South Shropshire © Giles Carey

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.

Project highlights include:

  • A free training day in Bridgnorth, Wem and Bishops’ Castle for people interested in learning more about how to explore local history
  • Working with a documentary photographer to offer young people a chance to learn new digital skills while exploring pub heritage
  • Funding a training placement for an early career heritage consultant to give them on-the-job experience of assessing and recording historic buildings.

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