Meet the man taking photos of all of Sheffield’s pub carpets

Chris Delamere, who is documenting pub floors in Sheffield on his mobile and posting them on Twitter'Picture Dean Atkins
Chris Delamere, who is documenting pub floors in Sheffield on his mobile and posting them on Twitter'Picture Dean Atkins
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Some people collect coins, others plump for stamps or comic books.

But for Chris Delamere, a very different passion has sparked his interest – pub carpets.

The 28-year-old, from Lane End, Chapeltown, has been studiously documenting the threads underfoot in various Sheffield watering holes, pulled in by their psychedelic patterns and unusual colours.

“Here are surfaces worn thin from daily abuse, pockmarked with gum or ash burns, sticky and peeling around the edges, saturated with spilt drink and the stories of the drink spillers,” says Chris.

“At their dampest and dirtiest, these floors suggest years of social history, maybe not all of it pleasant: a meeting of minds, a forging of friendships, angry or amorous moments that have gone too far, some break-ups, some make-ups and plenty of people talking complete rubbish.

“It’s a mouldering theatre of past productions, some of which never got past their first night.

“Those hyper-hygienic high street chain pubs may be clean and inviting, but their floor history is lacking, so shrines to some long-gone local industry plaster their walls to make up for it.

“Once you start looking at pub floors you start noticing that it is not unusual for pub carpets to be some kind of aggressive psychedelic vomit.

“These tessellating patterns, swirling feathers and spiralling leaves in bright colour are all the more arresting for having been previously ignored.”

Chris snaps photographs of various pub carpets on his phone and has now amassed a collection of some 45 different pubs.

It first began with a fateful pub crawl about six weeks ago.

He said: “We were trying to break out of a rut, so we decided to do a bit of a pub crawl.

“The first pub we went to was in Chapeltown. I looked down at the carpets and thought they were so strange, because they were so aggressive – something you would never ever have in your home.

“So I thought ‘I have got to start recording this’.

“I decided to go to different pubs over the city. It’s a good excuse to get out and visit them.

“I have done about 45 now, and I think I’m getting to the edge of the places I would normally visit now, and so I’m having to go to new places.

“I haven’t told the pub owners, I wanted to remain anonymous.

“It’s not really about me as a collector. It’s about the collection.”

Could Chris’ pub passion lead to romance?

“Our eyes meet across a swirling carpet pattern? I don’t think it’s likely somehow,” Chris adds.

So which floors are the most popular?

“A popular pub floor pattern is the black and white chessboard, where life is not a play anymore, it’s a game. And not necessarily a fun game either. The pub is many moves ahead of you and you’ve left your queen exposed.”

Chris has set up a Twitter account to ask for recommendations for pubs, and posts the floors online.

“I don’t think people understand why I’m doing it. But I say to them: ‘Why not?’.”