History in Structure

The Sportsman and the Marhaba takeaway

A Grade II Listed Building in Huddersfield, Kirklees

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Latitude: 53.6504 / 53°39'1"N

Longitude: -1.7842 / 1°47'3"W

OS Eastings: 414359

OS Northings: 417119

OS Grid: SE143171

Mapcode National: GBR HVZ7.J5

Mapcode Global: WHCB1.KHLX

Plus Code: 9C5WM628+58

Entry Name: The Sportsman and the Marhaba takeaway

Listing Date: 11 July 2019

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1464388

Also known as: 1 and 3 St John's Road

ID on this website: 101464388

Location: Shearing Cross, Kirklees, West Yorkshire, HD1

County: Kirklees

Electoral Ward/Division: Newsome

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Huddersfield

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Yorkshire

Tagged with: Pub


Public house, built in 1930 to the design of the architects H A Hoyle and C Smith of Huddersfield for the brewers Seth Senior and Sons. Altered by Hammonds Brewery in about 1950 when the public bar was opened out into a single space and a new curved bar and wooden banquette seating and side tables were carefully integrated.


Public house, built in 1930 to the design of the architects H A Hoyle and C Smith of Huddersfield for the brewers Seth Senior and Sons. Altered by Hammonds Brewery in about 1950 when the public bar was opened out into a single space and a new curved bar and wooden banquette seating and side tables were carefully integrated.

MATERIALS: squared and coursed quarry-faced stone with ashlar dressings and a slate-covered roof with ridge tiles.

PLAN: two-storeys and a cellar to a broadly L-shaped plan. Internally the ground floor has a public bar flanked by a tap room and gentlemens' lavatories on one side, and a smoke room and ladies’ lavatories on the other. Beyond the smoke room on the north aspect of the building is a kitchen, and, only accessible from Rook Street, a former pub dining room, shop, and living kitchen, which have been converted into a takeaway. The first floor is now private accommodation but consists of six former guest bedrooms, a bathroom and WC at the south, and the former landlord’s accommodation with a sitting room, two bedrooms and a bathroom at the north. The basement contains beer cellars with a barrel run, a former wash house, and former kitchen with pantry.

EXTERIOR: the pub is set on a corner plot with the main elevations facing Fitzwilliam Street at the south and St John’s Road at the east. It is built of quarry-faced stone with ashlar dressings in a neo-Georgian style. The main street fronts have tall single-paned sashes to the ground floor; the lower panes containing sand-blasted glass with an ‘H’ emblem, and shorter six-over-six paned sashes to the first floor, all set in deeply-moulded surrounds under moulded lintels. The ground floor sashes have cills supported on corbels. The main entrance is approached by stone steps and set into a single bay at the street corner, which has rusticated ashlar quoins. There is a heavily moulded doorcase with a lintel supported on consoles, which contains wooden double doors; each of five panels carved with a plain roundel or medallion. Above the entrance is a moulded and fielded relief panel bearing the letters: SPORTSMANS ARMS/ 1930. To the first floor of this entrance bay is a six-over-six paned sash window. The building has a hipped roof behind an ashlar parapet and tall, quarry-faced stone chimney stacks with red chimney pots.

The south front is of six bays of sash windows. The third bay from the left has a moulded doorway with a leaded transom light bearing the letters SPORTSMANS ARMS. It contains a ten-panelled timber door carved with plain medallions. Flanking the doorway is a roundel bearing the triangular trademark of the Bass brewery, and hanging from the lintel of the door is a Bass beer barrel. The east elevation comprises seven bays of sashes whilst at the north-west street corner is another entrance bay with ashlar quoins. This entrance originally provided access to the pub dining room and a shop but now (2019) serves a small takeaway. The entrance has a recent glazed door and wooden doorcase comprising engaged fluted columns supporting a pediment. The north elevation has a modern fixed window and a doorway with a transom light to the ground floor then a single six-over-six paned sash to the first floor. An ashlar string course runs across the elevation at the cill level of the first floor windows. The rear elevations face on to a small yard and are given a less refined finish of squared and coursed stone. The openings largely comprise single or paired one-over-one sashes but there are also doorways from the public bar and kitchen into the yard. An additional set of double doors originally lead out into the yard from behind the bar but these have been blocked, probably in about 1950 when the bar was replaced. A single storey stone lean-to is built into the angle of the yard.

INTERIOR: the main entrance leads into a 1930 full-height glazed screen vestibule or hallway with a colourful Art Deco terrazzo floor. Beyond it is the public bar, originally divided into two rooms and an off sales department with a central servery but opened out into a single space in around 1950. It has a parquet floor and curved wooden banquette fixed seating with integrated side tables and baffles. Part of the floor has been replaced by tile around the bar. A central octagonal column supports the first floor above and there is a 1950s curved bar with a sweeping canopy. The bar top has been replaced but the bar back is original, incorporating fluted columns, glass shelving and mosaic mirror panels as well as integrated wooden cupboards. On the left of the bar is the former tap room which has a tiled floor, original curved fixed banquette seating incorporating bell pushes, and an original fluted wooden fireplace surround. Next to it are the gentlemens' lavatories, which have a flush timber door, terrazzo floor, tiled walls incorporating hand-painted tiles depicting sporting scenes; horse-racing, shooting, sailing and football, as well as the original urinals and cistern. On the right of the bar is the former smoke room, which also has matching banquette seating with bell pushes. Next to it are the ladies’ lavatories, with tiled walls, wooden shelves and modern sanitary ware. A double-winder staircase with a wooden handrail and stick balusters leads up to guest bedrooms on the first floor. The north aspect of the ground floor is only accessible from Rook Street; it originally contained the pub dining room, a shop and kitchen but has been converted into a takeaway shop with modern kitchen units.

The first floor retains the original layout of six guest bedrooms, a bathroom and WC opening off a corridor, above the main public bar. There are original panelled doors, cornices to the ceilings and a tiled fireplace in one bedroom. Modern kitchen units have been inserted into the largest bedroom to serve as a kitchen-diner. Above the takeaway shop is the former landlord’s flat, which originally had two bedrooms, a bathroom and sitting room on the first floor: this was not inspected.

The basement beneath the public bar is accessed down a stone winder staircase and has beer cellars with flagstone floors, a former pantry, former washroom and coal store. It retains the original barrel run from the back yard. Beneath the takeaway is a former kitchen, pantry and coal store; this was not inspected.

Pursuant to s1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) it is declared that the following are not of special architectural or historic interest: the modern sanitary ware in the ladies’ lavatories and the modern kitchen units in The Sportsman; and the modern kitchen units in the Marhaba takeaway.


The inter-war years (1918-39) were a time of significance and change for the public house in England. Concerns about the social problem of drunkenness and the state of the pub reached a pitch during the First World War, and various possible solutions were discussed; these included state management at a national level and complete prohibition. Eventually, a less dramatic course was agreed upon: the public house was reformed or ‘improved’ through the efforts of breweries, architects and local licensing magistrates, the principal aim being a reduction in the emphasis on alcohol consumption. Breweries also had a desire to improve their image and appeal to a wider range of customers, thereby increasing their profits. ‘Improved’ or ‘reformed’ 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. Typically, inter-war pubs continued to include public bars and saloon bars but might also include a saloon lounge, private bar, smoking room, meal/games room, dining room and assembly, club or function room. 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, 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. The inter-war public house was typically detached and on an open or corner site, and was often plain in design. Neo-Tudor and neo-Georgian were the favoured styles, although others began to appear at the end of the period.

The Sportsman’s Arms (now known as The Sportsman) was built in 1930 to the design of the architects H A Hoyle and C Smith of Huddersfield for the brewers Seth Senior and Sons. As a street corner ‘local’, The Sportsman represents a type of smaller-scale improved pub that was being built by breweries in the inter-war period. Seth Senior and Sons was founded by stone mason Seth Senior in Shepley, West Yorkshire, in 1829 and had an office on King Street, Huddersfield, by 1937. It was acquired by Hammonds Brewery of Bradford in 1946. The interior of the Sportsman was partially reconfigured by Hammonds Brewery in around 1950: the central island servery and its off-sales department were removed, the rooms either side combined into a larger open space with a parquet floor, and a new curved bar installed. The pub later came under the Bass Brewery. In 2009 conservation work was carried out to The Sportsman, including the cleaning of the exterior stone work and repair of the sash windows, whilst the interior was redecorated. It subsequently won the English Heritage conservation award in the 2010 Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) Pub Design Awards.

Reasons for Listing

The Sportsman and the Marhaba takeaway, built as a public house in 1930 for the brewers Seth Senior and Sons, are listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* for the carefully-detailed neo-Georgian exterior, which survives relatively well and is built in high quality quarry-faced stone with ashlar dressings;
* for the range of historic signage, including the carved stone panel over the entrance, the leaded transom light above the south door, a Bass brewery roundel and a Bass beer barrel hanging from the door lintel;
* most notably, for the high quality surviving original internal fixtures and fittings, including fixed banquette seating incorporating bell pushes, a fluted wooden fireplace and hand-painted tiles depicting sporting scenes
* for the relatively rare and carefully integrated 1950s features such as the curved bar with a sweeping canopy and fixed seating with integrated side tables.

Historic interest:

* as a good representative surviving example of a street corner ‘local’ and smaller-scale improved pub built by a brewery in the inter-war period.

Group value:

* the public house is situated within the historic heart of Huddersfield adjacent to a Grade-II listed railway viaduct and close by several Grade-II listed C19 houses on Fitzwilliam Street within the town centre conservation area.

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