5 historic pub interiors in Luton and Dunstable highlighted in new guide

Hidden gems feature in list of 76 pub interiors of outstanding historic interest
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Five pubs in Luton and Dunstable have been highlighted as hidden gems of British pub architecture in a new edition of the East of England Real Heritage Pubs guide.

The guide, published by CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, features 76 pub interiors of outstanding historic interest across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.

The East of England Real Heritage Pubs is a celebration of pub interiors, from rural time-warps to old coaching inns, and includes some unsung pub interiors from the interwar and post-war periods. It is beautifully illustrated with over 350 photographs.

Five pubs in Luton and Dunstable have been highlighted as hidden gems of British pub architecture. Photos by Michael Slaughter.Five pubs in Luton and Dunstable have been highlighted as hidden gems of British pub architecture. Photos by Michael Slaughter.
Five pubs in Luton and Dunstable have been highlighted as hidden gems of British pub architecture. Photos by Michael Slaughter.

The pubs in the Luton and Dunstable area include The Crown, East End, Houghton Regis; Great Northern, Bute Street, Luton; Painters Arms, High Town Road, Luton; Cross Keys, Castle Hill Road, Totternhoe and Old Farm Inn, Church Road, Totternhoe.

Co-editor Paul Ainsworth said: “These pubs represent an important aspect of the area’s cultural and built heritage, with quite a number being true national treasures. That said, they account for less than 2% or so of the pubs in the area. This is because pub interiors have always been subject to change, and the pace of change has accelerated dramatically since the 1960s.”

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Co-editor Michael Slaughter added: “The East of England has the largest number of ancient snugs formed by settles. Within this guide, you will find Lord Nelson’s local; one of the claimants for the smallest pub in the county; and two of only eight pubs still operating without a bar counter. Discover what to look for when visiting these genuinely old pubs – some dating back 500 years.”

The Crown, Houghton RegisThe Crown, Houghton Regis
The Crown, Houghton Regis

Of the 90 pubs featured in the first edition of this guide, published in 2005, ten have been ruined inside while another ten have closed altogether.

Mr Ainsworth added: “Many of us are fascinated by our built heritage and spend time visiting historic buildings of many kinds. It is, though, only in recent years, and largely because of CAMRA’s efforts, that pubs with historic interiors have come to be valued by mainstream conservationists. “CAMRA picked up the baton on behalf of our pub heritage, filling the gaps in knowledge, and actively seeking to protect what is left.”

The guide is available to purchase here.

Photos by Michael Slaughter.