CAMRA recognises cool pub conversions

By Emily Hawkins

- Last updated on GMT

Grand designs: award-winning pubs include a micropub and a former slaughterhouse
Grand designs: award-winning pubs include a micropub and a former slaughterhouse

Related tags Camra Design

The winners of CAMRA’s Pub Design Awards have been announced, with pubs recognised for their efforts in converting disused buildings into pubs and protecting historic taverns.

Awarded for design


Winner: the Pilot Boat, Lyme Regis, Dorset

Highly commended: the Sekforde Arms, Farringdon, London

Conversion to pub use

Joint winner: the Royal Pavilon, Ramsgate, Kent

Joint winner: the Slaughterhouse, Guernsey

Highly commended: the Butcher’s Hook, Thornbury, Gloucestershire

Highly commended: the Draughtsman Alehouse, Doncaster, South Yorkshire

Historic England award for conservation

Winner: the Coopers Tavern, Burton-on-Trent, east Staffordshire

Joe Goodwin award (best street corner local)

Winner: Cardigan Arms, Leeds, West Yorkshire

Award-winning pubs include a micropub transformed from a disused storage area at Doncaster station and a former slaughterhouse in Guernsey converted into a pub. 

Overall, five pubs were crowned as winners and three sites awarded highly commended across different categories.

Alive and kicking

Andrew Davison, chair of CAMRA’s judging panel said: “This year’s judges have selected an eclectic range of buildings, ranging from a 6m x 4m micropub on a bustling railway platform to a vast seaside pavilion to a former slaughterhouse.

He added: “What all these buildings demonstrate is that it is possible to fight back against what is sometimes seen as a trajectory of inevitable decline, using imagination and good design.

“The awards are clear evidence the great British pub is indeed alive and kicking.”

Thriving watering hole: The Pilot Boat, Lyme Regis
Thriving watering hole: The Pilot Boat, Lyme Regis

The Pilot Boat, in Lyme Regis, won the category for refurbished pubs after Palmers Brewery modernised the seaside site.

Changes included the addition of a new restaurant and an open kitchen involving the use of reclaimed ship timber and a bi-folding glass wall for an ‘inside-outside feel’.

Davison said the site would be a “thriving watering hole for visitors to the magnificent Jurassic Coast” for many years to come.

He added: “What really impresses is the use of good-quality finishes such as the lovely dark blue tiles in the gents’, the oak casing of the piers in the front bar, the rustic character of the bar counter, and – especially – the restrained, non-cliché look of the references to things maritime (when it would have been all too easy to overdo it here).”

Micropub debut

Worth missing a train for: the Draughtsman Alehouse, Doncaster
Worth missing a train for: the Draughtsman Alehouse, Doncaster

Awarded highly commended for the conversion to pub use category, the Draughtsman Alehouse, Doncaster, was designed with the help of a local historian to be in-keeping with its 20th century history.

It is the first micropub to be awarded by the design awards.

“A very attractive melding of old with new, it is well worth missing a train to experience the Draughtsman,” Davidson said.

Iconic landmark

Unique design: The Slaughterhouse, Guernsey
Unique design: The Slaughterhouse, Guernsey

The Slaughterhouse, in Guernsey, jointly won in the conversion category. It was converted to a pub in 2013 and reopened in 2017 after a revamp that enables customers to look at the yard where the animals were tethered.

Davison said: “The Slaughterhouse’s unique and distinctive design has made it an iconic landmark.”

Winners were presented their awards at a ceremony held at the Coopers Tavern in Burton-on-Trent, which won the Historic England Conservation Award, today (Thursday 23 May).

CAMRA is encouraging pub operators to unite in its ‘summer of pub’ campaign,​ with a schedule of events hosted by pubs this summer listed on its website.

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