History in Structure

The Duke William

A Grade II Listed Building in Stoke-on-Trent, City of Stoke-on-Trent

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Latitude: 53.0448 / 53°2'41"N

Longitude: -2.1994 / 2°11'57"W

OS Eastings: 386728

OS Northings: 349742

OS Grid: SJ867497

Mapcode National: GBR MF3.G1

Mapcode Global: WHBCM.5QXN

Plus Code: 9C5V2RV2+W6

Entry Name: The Duke William

Listing Date: 24 August 2015

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1428185

Also known as: The Duke William, Stoke-on-Trent

ID on this website: 101428185

Location: Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, ST6

County: City of Stoke-on-Trent

Electoral Ward/Division: Burslem Central

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Stoke-on-Trent

Traditional County: Staffordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Staffordshire

Church of England Parish: Burslem St Paul

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield

Tagged with: Pub

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The Duke William, rebuilt in c1929, with later alterations. Architect unknown. Neo-Tudor style.


The Duke William, c1929, with later alterations. Architect unknown. Neo-Tudor style.

MATERIALS: the ground floor is of brick laid in Flemish bond, with ashlar dressings. The upper two levels are rendered with vertical and horizontal half-timbering. There are decorative areas of framing beneath the oriel windows and to either side of the first-floor windows. The building has brick chimney stacks and a plain clay tile roof. Timber casement windows, with leaded lights and some stained and textured glass panels, throughout.

PLAN: on a corner plot, and orientated south-east to north-west, it has a roughly square footprint. The St John’s Square frontage (north-east) has a central entrance lobby. The off-sales area is to the immediate right of the lobby and now provides access to the L-shaped public bar which occupies the north-east corner of the pub and is served by the north-east part of the central, island servery. The room to the south-east corner appears to have been the saloon lounge and the room to the south-west corner was probably the smoke room. Both rooms are separated from the central servery by the dogleg passageway which connects the St John’s Square lobby and the Newcastle Street lobby. To the rear of the building is the staircase and to the north-west corner are the toilets. At the first-floor is the former function room, which is now a restaurant, and extends over the public bar and saloon lounge, and the kitchen is above the former smoke room. To the second-floor is the former landlord’s flat.

EXTERIOR: of three storeys with cellar. Its principal façade faces St John’s Square and is of three bays. The central doorway is set within a stone doorcase with a four-centred arch head and an entablature supported on fluted brackets. To its right is a single-light window to the public bar and off-sales area lobby. To either side are three-light casement windows, with a wider central pane. To the base of the right-hand bay is a metal cellar grille. The first floor has a four-light casement to each bay, and the second floor has a two light casement to the centre flanked by four-light oriel windows with jettied gables above. The gables all have carved bargeboards decorated with Tudor roses and a finial. To the south-east end is a gable-end stack. The canted north elevation is blind, since it forms a chimneystack. The secondary façade faces Newcastle Street and is of two bays. The left-hand bay has a three-light casement to the ground and first floor and a three light oriel window to the second floor with gable above. The right-hand bay is narrower with a doorway to the ground floor, identical to that on St John’s Square, and a single-light window to each of the floors above. To its rear (south-west) elevation a fire-escape had been added and to the ground floor is the five-light bow window of the former smoke room.

INTERIOR: steps from the main entrance on St John’s Square lead to the terrazzo-floored lobby, with two steps leading right towards the public bar and former off-sales area, and a further two steps leading straight ahead towards the pub’s ‘smarter’ rooms. The door to the public bar is now no longer in use but is in-situ and bears the word ‘bar’ in a central glazed rectangle, and has a fanlight above. The public bar is now accessed through the doorway to the former off-sales area. The off-sales area has floor to ceiling partitions of timber and glazed panels with original decorative leadwork and small areas of stained glass. This area has its original terrazzo floor and a counter screen to the servery. A panel of timber and glazed partition on the right has been removed to create a doorway into the public bar. The public bar is L-shaped, and is situated at the Duke William’s north-east corner, with windows on to St John’s Square and Newcastle Street. The room has its original fixed seating with heating pipes beneath, curved bar counter with fielded panels and fluted pilasters. A heating pipe, which also functions as a foot rail, continues around the base of the bar counter. The bar counter forms part of the pub’s central servery and to its centre is an island bar back. The central part of the bar back’s entablature rises up in a curve and contains a clock. At the canted north corner of the public bar is a panelled timber fireplace with a glazed, greyish-blue coloured tile inset. To the north-west side of the room is a doorway to the terrazzo-floored Newcastle Street lobby. The lobby has double-doors with decorative glazed panels to the passageway.

The double doors from the St John’s Square lobby, which have had their glass panels replaced, lead into a passageway, with the servery immediately on the right. The servery curves and bows around the corner to the rear where it meets the Newcastle Street lobby entrance. The lower levels of the counter are panelled and the design is identical to that of the counter in the public bar; the upper levels rise up to the ceiling and have glazed screens with original leadwork. Service is now provided through open hatches, though presumably these originally contained sliding glazed counter screens. The passageway retains its original terrazzo flooring, though some areas are now carpeted.

On the left side of the passageway are the saloon lounge and the former smoke room. The doorway to the saloon lounge has been opened up, whilst the doorway to the smoke room remains, although the door has been removed. The saloon lounge overlooks St John’s Square and has three-quarter height panelling and fixed seating with heating pipes beneath. The section of fixed seating to the rear of this room appears to be post-war. Above the benches are bell pushes, indicating that this area had waiter service. The timber fireplace to the south-east wall has decorative lozenge-work; the insert is modern and is surrounded by blue and white tiles in the style of Delftware. This tiling is probably not original. The partition wall between the saloon lounge and the smoke room has been opened up. The smoke room is lit from the rear bow window with decorative leadwork and stained glass. It has three-quarter height panelling and a projecting chimney breast on the south-east wall; the fireplace has been removed. To the opposite wall and beneath the bow window is fixed seating with underfloor heating pipes. Immediately to the right-hand side of this room, in the passageway, is the staircase leading to the pub’s upper levels. To right of the staircase are the toilets. The gentlemen’s toilets include much original work, including glazed screening, urinals, black and white floor tiles, doors and door furniture. The ladies’ toilets have been modernised, but the original door survives with the glazed panel containing decorative leadwork and ‘ladies’ in a rectangle at its centre.

To the first-floor, above the public bar and saloon lounge, is the opened-up function room. The function room retains its original oak floor, cross-axial ceiling beams and cornices but the matchboard dado-height wall panelling, fixed seating and bar counter appear to be later insertions. The fireplaces have been removed. Above the smoke room, to the south-west side of the function room, is the modern kitchen. The toilets on this floor have also been modernised. To the second floor is domestic accommodation. The three-panelled doors and Bakelite door handles are in-situ and to the room at the south-west corner is a pair of pantry cupboards, each with sliding doors and one with a ventilation grille. There is an inter-war marble fireplace with tiled inset to the south-east room.

The cellar has a concrete floor, a brick platform to the perimeter walls and associated drainage channels, and timber plank and panelled doors.


Inter-war ‘improved’ or ‘reformed’ pubs stemmed from a desire to cut back on the amount of drunkenness associated with conventional Victorian and Edwardian public houses. Licensing magistrates and breweries combined to improve the facilities and reputation of the building type. Improved pubs were generally more spacious than their predecessors, often with restaurant facilities, function rooms and gardens, and consciously appealed to families and to a mix of incomes and classes. Central, island serveries with counters opening onto several bar areas allowed the monitoring of customers and also the efficient distribution of staff to whichever area needed service. Many, although not all, of the new pubs were built as an accompaniment to new suburban development around cities, and a policy of ‘fewer and better’ was followed by magistrates both in town and on the outskirts. A licence might be granted for a new establishment on surrender of one or more licences for smaller urban premises. Approximately 1,000 new pubs were built in the 1920s – the vast majority of them on ‘improved’ lines - and almost 2,000 in the period 1935-39. Neo-Tudor and Neo-Georgian were the favoured styles, although others began to appear at the end of the period.

The Duke William is on the north-west corner of St John’s Square and Newcastle Street in the centre of Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent. There has been a public house on this site since at least 1818, when The Duke William was one of five pubs listed in St John’s Square in the trade directory of that year. Shortly after the 1851 map was prepared, the Duke William was apparently reworked, becoming a more substantial building of two storeys with entrances from St John’s Square and Newcastle Street. In 1864, the pub appears to have been acquired by Bass, Ratcliff and Gretton, then one of the world’s largest breweries.

The Duke William pub was rebuilt in the inter-war period, as is illustrated by a comparison of the building’s plot shown on the Ordnance Survey maps of 1925 and 1937. By 1937, the building had taken in the adjacent property (Nos. 6-8 St John’s Square), doubling its width, and its north-east elevation which had previously aligned with neighbouring properties, was set-back. The pub was also increased in height, from two to three storeys. An aerial photograph of Burslem, taken in July 1929, shows that The Duke William was in its new form by that time. In photographs of the immediate post-war decades, the pub still bears the name ‘Bass’, and this company was clearly responsible for its inter-war reconstruction. The design of the pub is an example of what has been termed ‘Brewers' Tudor’, an architectural style influenced by the Domestic Revival style of the 1860s and 1870s. This style, which reached its height of popularity in the 1920s and 1930s, was intended to evoke romantic notions of a Merrie England and employed half-timbering, carved barge-boards and internal wooden panelling.

The northern street corner, which is shown as square on the 1937 OS map, had been altered to its angled form by the 1940s, and is included in an historic photograph. The change, which led to the alteration of the chimney stack, is in keeping with the style and materials of the rest of the building.

The Duke William was re-furbished in 2010.

Reasons for Listing

The Duke William, rebuilt in c1929, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: as an early C19 urban public house rebuilt in the inter-war period along ‘improved’ lines;
* Architectural interest: a characteristic example of the Brewers’ Tudor style popular in the 1920s and '30s;
* Intactness: the building is very well-preserved both externally and internally and employs high-quality, well-crafted materials including terrazzo flooring, glazed screenwork, wall panelling and panelled bar counters;
* Planning interest: the survival of its plan form as three distinct bar areas arranged around a central island servery, and for the rare survival of its off-sales area.

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