Which Sheffield pub once had a children's entrance? And which is built on holy ground? Hit new guide book reveals all

A fascinating guide to Sheffield's most historic pubs has quickly become an online sensation.

Friday, 15th December 2017, 2:17 pm
Updated Monday, 18th December 2017, 12:45 pm
The Cross Keys pub in Handsworth is apparently one of only three in the UK built on holy ground (photo by Dave Pickersgill)

Beer-lovers are lapping up the Sheffield's Real Heritage Pubs book, which has been downloaded more than 16,000 times since it was launched at the end of October.

To put that into context, the editor Dave Pickersgill, from Sheffield & District CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale), points out that the print run of CAMRA's equivalent guide covering the whole of Yorkshire was only 5,000.

The guide's cover features a photo of the White Lion pub in Heeley (photo by Mick Slaughter)

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The free Sheffield guide is crammed with quirky, painstakingly researched facts about more than 60 surviving watering holes across the city, plus a handful which are sadly no longer open.

Its stories shine a light on the changing face of drinking in the city, like the revelation The Lescar, in Sharrow, once included a children's entrance, detailed in the 1909 plans.

This allowed dutiful youngsters to collect drinks for their parents, but contained obscured glass to shield their innocent gaze from the potentially unwholesome goings-on within the main body of the pub.

Among other interesting tidbits, the book reveals how The Cross Keys, in Handsworth, which contains a cemetery within its land, is one of just three pubs in the UK built on holy ground.

Fagan's has had just three licensees in the last 100 years (photo by Mick Slaughter)

It also tells how The Friendship, in Stocksbridge, was once a domino gambling hotspot; and Fagan's, on Broad Lane, in the city centre, has had just three licensees in the past 100 years, with ex-Bomber Command airman Joe Fagan, who ran the venue from 1947 to 1985, becoming Tetley's longest-serving landlord. Joe, who is commemorated on the pub's sign, passed the tenancy to current landlord Tom Boulding just a few week prior to his death.

Mr Pickersgill said: "Sheffield is the beer capital of the world, and this book just adds to that recognition. We're delighted with the response we've had so far and how many people have already downloaded the guide.

"We hope that by recording the rich heritage of Sheffield's pubs, and the story of their evolution, this book will encourage more people to visit the pubs listed and learn about the tales behind them."

The book was initially launched as a free download to attract more readers and get them to help proofread the entries by highlighting any errors or omissions, but a printed copy may be produced in future.

The Tap Room at The Friendship pub in Stocksbridge, which was once used for gambling on dominoes (photo by Mick Slaughter)

Mr Pickersgill told how just five years ago, only around eight Sheffield pubs had made CAMRA's regional heritage guide.

Local research means that guide now contains more than 20 entries from the city, but the Sheffield edition is helping to spread the word about even more of the city's storied watering holes.

The former children's entrance at The Lescar (photo by Dave Pickersgill)
The guide's cover features a photo of the White Lion pub in Heeley (photo by Mick Slaughter)
Fagan's has had just three licensees in the last 100 years (photo by Mick Slaughter)
The Tap Room at The Friendship pub in Stocksbridge, which was once used for gambling on dominoes (photo by Mick Slaughter)
The former children's entrance at The Lescar (photo by Dave Pickersgill)