Community-owned pubs are an innovative way for local groups to save much-loved buildings and provide residents with a chance to run and shape a business that meets the specific needs of their community, offering key services and activities. As people up and down Britain raise a glass to celebrate Beer Day, the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) is looking at some of the projects we have supported across England and Wales that have brought historic pubs in the heart of their towns and cities into community ownership, transforming them into much more than just a pub.
In Wickham Market, Suffolk, The George is the only survivor of seven key public houses that once served the community in 1910. Dating back around five centuries, it is also one of four earliest recorded inns in the village and was in continuous use until a major fire in 2013. In response to a campaign to save the building from commercial development, The George Community Pub was formed to conserve and restore The George as a sustainable community-owned pub, helping to revitalise Wickham Market’s High Street. The overall aim of the project is to make The George a comfortable and welcoming space for everyone to enjoy, with a pub and restaurant at ground floor and fully-accessible community rooms on the first floor to accommodate a wide range of social and educational activities. The AHF has supported this project with three grants since 2017 and match funding through the Community Shares Booster Programme.
Ty’n Llan in Llandwrog, Wales, was built in the 1830s and remained in use as a public house until its closure in 2017. Menter Ty’n Llan was established to reopen the building as a community-owned pub and hub providing a range of facilities and services. The Society launched its community share offer in April 2021 and was subsequently able to purchase the building in June that same year. Following a heroic volunteering effort to clean, tidy and decorate the pub, Ty’n Llan opened just before Christmas. The enterprise is now providing employment and spaces for a wide range of community activities to take place, including coffee mornings, a walking club, a youth project and a Welsh learners club. The AHF supported this project with two grants in 2021. Menter Ty’n Llan has also received a grant from Round One of the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ Community Ownership Fund.
Built by Truman’s brewery in the 1930s, the Ivy House in Southwark was originally called the Newlands Tavern. In 2012, the pub was closed down and sold to a property developer. To save the building, a group of local residents came together and established Ivy House Community Pub. After having the building listed as an Asset of Community Value, Ivy House Community Pub then went on to raise £1 million through a mixture of loans and grants – including an AHF loan that helped to secure the freehold of the building. The group completed the purchase of the building in 2013, making the Ivy House the first community-owned pub in London. Following its refurbishment, the pub now hosts a large range of community activities, including musical entertainment, beer and cider festivals, comedy events, yoga classes, book clubs, children’s dance classes and more. The AHF has also supported Ivy House Community Pub with a Cultural Recovery Grant and a Community Shares Booster Grant.
If you would like to learn more about these community-owned pubs, please visit: