A scene from Only Fools and Horses
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Should These 5 Fictional Pubs be Listed?

From the Rovers Return to the Queen Vic, we take a look at the history of five famous boozers from film and television.

The silver screen has some of our favourite boozers. Should they be considered national treasures?

1. The Rovers Return, Manchester

The Rovers Return Inn, built by the brewery Newton and Ridley, opened in 1902.

The Rovers Return Inn on Coronation Street
The Rovers Return Inn on Coronation Street. Source: Steventattum via Wikimedia Commons.

It’s been a free house since 1995, although the brewery continues to supply it. It is said that the name comes from Ye Olde Rovers Return (demolished in 1958), a 14th-century building in Withy Grove, Manchester.

The Rovers is particularly popular with the residents of Weatherfield and often hosts community events.

The Select function room was used for hosting events and was part of the original layout. After a fire damaged the pub in 1986 (accidentally set by Jack Duckworth), the Rovers was modernised, with the Snug and Select removed and the Public expanded.

2. The Queen Vic, London

The Queen Victoria Public House, known by locals as The Queen Vic, was built around 1860 during Queen Victoria’s reign.

The Queen Victoria pub
The Queen Victoria. Source: Matt Pearson via Wikimedia Commons.

It originally had two bars: the Public and the Saloon. In 1985, publican Den Watts decided to dismantle the partitions between the two bars, opening it into one bar as it remains to this day.

It’s said that the pub is the most haunted spot in Walford, given the number of deaths in or outside the pub, including Den Watts, Archie Mitchell, Bradley Branning, Tiffany Mitchell and Tom Clements.

3. The Woolpack, Yorkshire

The Woolpack was built around 1776 and was owned by Ephraim Monks Brewery until 1973.

The Woolpack, Emmerdale
The Woolpack, Emmerdale. Source: ianpudsey via Wikimedia Commons.

In 1976, the bar was subsequently moved to its current location when it was found to be slowly collapsing due to subsidence.

The pub has had many landlords – its longest-reigning landlord being Amos Brearly (43 years!) – and withstood many disasters, such as a plane crash (1993), a storm when the pub was hit by lightning (2003/2004) and The Woolpack Siege (2013), when Cameron Murray took several regulars hostage.

4. The Leaky Cauldron, London

Is this the site of the oldest pub in London? The witch Daisy Dodderidge built the Leaky Cauldron in the early 1550s as a gateway between the non-wizarding world and Diagon Alley, a hub of magical shops and restaurants. Regulars include Rubeus Hagrid and Dedalus Diggle.

Leadenhall Market
Leadenhall Market. Source: Diliff via Wikimedia Commons.

The wizard Harry Potter first visited the Leaky Cauldron in 1991, but to muggles (non-magical people), The Leaky Cauldron first appeared in 2001 as an optician in Bull’s Head Passage in Leadenhall Market.

One of the oldest markets in London, its ornate roof structure was designed by architect Sir Horace Jones in 1881, a superb example of Victorian construction.

In 2004, though, the entrance to the pub magically changed to a small shop in Borough Market.

5. The Nag’s Head, London

It’s unknown when The Nag’s Head in London was built, but Mike Fisher has been its landlord since 1983.

Actors (L-R) Nicholas Lyndhurst, David Jason and Buster Merryfield in a pub scene from episode 'The Chance of a Lunchtime' of the television sitcom 'Only Fools and Horses', December 2nd 1990. (Photo by Don Smith/Radio Times/Getty Images)
Actors Nicholas Lyndhurst, David Jason and Buster Merryfield in a pub scene from episode ‘The Chance of a Lunchtime’ of the television sitcom ‘Only Fools and Horses’, 2 December 1990. © Don Smith/Radio Times/Getty Images.

While The Nag’s Head is the regular of Derek ‘Del Boy’ Trotter, his brother Rodney and their friends and family, some may know the pub as The Pelton Arms in Greenwich.

It’s not where Del Boy famously fell through the bar, but The Nag’s Head has served up many memories for its regulars, including Rodney and Cassandra’s wedding reception and Uncle Albert’s birthday. It was also the scene of many of Del Boy’s dodgy dealings.

What have we missed? Let us know your favourite fictional pubs in the comments below.

Further reading

17 comments on “Should These 5 Fictional Pubs be Listed?

  1. Kate Harwood

    Is there a Listing category for fictional buildings – a Fictional Listing perhaps? Maybe we should also have a Fictional Register for Fictional Landscapes – much better for your liver

  2. Andrew C. More

    Definitely not the Rovers Return as it’s almost certainly a fake building. Look at the brickwork – it is clearly of cavity construction which surely wouldn’t have been used for a building erected in 1902. As a TV set it really is very unconvincing and jars every time I see it.

  3. Moquette

    Well ‘one’ of these ‘fictional’ pubs is actually already Listed!

    Although the current ‘Woolpack’ is on the set of Emmerdale, the ‘original’ Woolpack was The Commercial Inn in Esholt, Bradford, and was Listed at Grade 2 in 1983. I wonder if they got LBC to change the signs!

  4. Ah, Andrew C. More those discrepancies you see may be related to the partial rebuild of 1979 when a lorry crashed into the front of the pub.

    • Andrew C. More

      Noted, but I’m not convinced as the adjoining domestic buildings which are in the same style and so would seem to date form the same 1902 era are also in cavity brick bond – it’s just not a very good set and so not worthy of listing.

  5. I was hoping that this would be fictional pubs like the Green Dragon at Bywater and the inn at Bree. Oh well.

    • Charles Watson

      “The Nags Head” is actually the “Peltom Arms” in Greenwich not the “Pelham Arms”! I have photos of the pub, that used to be my lunchtime local many years ago, showing both names at the same time. If I knew how to add photos I would include them!

      • Historic England

        Thanks for spotting, that’s been updated!

      • Interesting, thanks! I don’t know if you can add photos in WordPress comments.

  6. Medlycott

    I would add the Prancing Pony in Bree and The Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade to the listing

  7. Coronation Street is real in the sense it is true to life for thousands who watch it now, and for millions who have watched it for generation after generation. It is bricks and mortar and rooted in the culture of the north.

  8. Alan Brown

    How about The Bull in Ambridge from The Archers, a soap that predates all those mentioned above?

  9. Robert Sissons

    How about the Adensfield Arms from Heartbeat?

  10. David Brown

    I’ve got to put in a mention for The Mended Drum (previously The Broken Drum) in Ankh-Morpork and it should get a blue plaque as the tavern of choice by Death and his granddaughter as well as Adora Belle Dearheart. We will gloss over one the regulars being a monkey……..

    • Mary Smith

      The Librarian (who is an orangutan) usually gets very upset if he is called a monkey.

  11. Sandy L.

    The Oxford Bar in Edinburgh needs to here on this list. Rebus would like it, not to mention Rankin.

  12. Isobel Rose

    What about The Winchester and The Bull in Ambridge?

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