HEREFORDSHIRE - Kington, Olde Tavern (Ye)
An historic pub interior of national importance
22 Victoria Road, Kington, HR5 3BX
Tel: 01544 239033
Opening Hours: Not weekday lunchtimes
Draught Beer & Cider: Real ales from Hobsons, Ludlow and Wye Valley breweries
Public Transport: Buses to/from Hereford until late (operated by Sargents of Kington)
Accomodation: None. YHA Kington Hostel nearby
CAMRA Awards: Herefordshire CAMRA and Marches Area POTY 2009
Listed Status: Grade II
View this pub in WhatPub
A Victorian pub looking like a house apart from the glass sign over the front door: "Fred Jones - Wines (Licensed Brewer) Spirits - Ye Olde Tavern". It remained in the Jones family from 1884 through to 2002 and the pub held one hundred consecutive licences to brew its own beer - the former brewery building at the rear was converted into a bistro in 2002, which is now little used. The Olde Tavern was virtually untouched with three small rooms but in 2002 there were drastic changes to two of them. As the public bar is practically like it was at the end of the 19th century the pub remains one of 'Britain's Real Heritage Pubs'.
The external lobby has bench seating either side, an old brass "Bass in Bottle" advert and glass fronted ones for Guinness and Worthington. The internal lobby still retains its serving hatch for off-sales. A latch door on the left leads into the small public bar which is practically unchanged in over 100 years. It has a 19th-century counter, a 19th-century bar-back fitting with pelmet, old tongue & grooved dado panelling, fixed bench seating on rear wall, and bare wall benches around the bay window.
The only change appears to be to the fireplace which looks like it has an inter-war brick interior but it retains its older mantlepiece. To the left and right are built in cupboards - the left one is full of historic nick-nacks including an old cask label "Alfred Jones Brewer Kington Wholesale and Retail All Our Home Brewed Ales Guaranteed Pure, Please Cork, Spile & Return This Cask As Soon As Possible" - the right one has a display of pewter plates. The till is a traditional one of a block of wood with shallow indentations and is hidden in a cupboard - no modern electronic gadgets here!
Through a latch door from the lobby on the right is the smoke room with a flagstone floor, very old tongue-and- grooved half-height panelling with bench seating attached and around the bay window. Service is from a split door to the back of the bar. Prior to 2002 in the right-hand room, there was (and it is still mentioned in the listing description) "a very tall, curved settle, the back of which forms the right-hand side of the corridor wall". It was removed to make a very small room larger and the reason given was "to make the pub more viable" - you can see the line of where the settle was situated on the floor.
Through a latch door to the rear was a little-used, small, third room which included (according to the listing description) "a straight settle, the back of which defines the corridor, and fixed wall seating". These historic fittings were removed and the room converted in 2002 into new inside toilets as the former outside gents' was on land of an adjoining property.