Book guide to Yorkshire's heritage pubs

DRINKERS who like their pubs with a bit of character now have their ideal Yorkshire guide to the dwindling number with historic interiors.

Yorkshire's Real Heritage Pubs lists 129 in the region – but the authors have warned that the numbers are shrinking all the time.

In the last 10 years, Yorkshire has lost 20 more pub interiors which would have made it into the guide, launched yesterday by the Campaign for Real Ale.

Among the losses to demolition were three in Leeds – City Varieties Stalls Bar, Irwin Arms and the White Stag.

Others have changed use, including three in Bradford – the Coach and Horses, Ring O'Bells and Thornbury Hotel. The Stumble Inn, Sheffield, and Market House, Dewsbury, have gone the same way.

And others have been subject to "unsympathetic alteration", such as the Four Horseshoes in Milnsbridge, Huddersfield, the Queen in Greetland, near Halifax, and the Commercial, Slaithwaite, Huddersfield.

The authors have called on drinkers and local authorities, as well as pub companies, to do their bit to preserve what is left.

Some cities, such as Leeds and York, have many entries in the book while others, such as Bradford, with two, have seen numbers shrink.

The book describes some of the pubs as "treasures of national stature" but warns that mainstream conservationists have failed to protect them.

It says: "Our guide's 129 entries are a mere two per cent of Yorkshire's total pub stock (of around 6,000) and the need to safeguard the little we have left has become a pressing conservation challenge.

"The dwindling of our pub heritage has gone largely ignored by mainstream conservationists and it has fallen to CAMRA to fill the gaps, both of knowledge and of serious preservation effort."

As well as celebrating time-warp pubs, the book calls for better protection for them.

"Its aim is not just to celebrate the genuine pub heritage that survives here, but to share an understanding of its importance and, crucially, to sound a call-to-arms for its better recognition and protection."

The book's editor David Gamston, speaking at the Garden Gate pub in Leeds, said he hoped the book would serve as a serious working reference source for those who own and control Yorkshire's pubs and the officials who influence changes to them.

He added: "What a special pleasure it is to be holding the launch at the Garden Gate, described in the guide as 'probably the jewel in the crown of historic pub architecture in Yorkshire'."

The book is priced at 4.99.

Six of the best in region

Book editor Dave Gamston's top six:

Garden Gate, Whitfield Place, Leeds: Virtually untouched since 1902.

Birch Hall, Beck Hole, near Goathland: Time-warp pub.

The Eagle, Skerne: Simple rural pub, closed and awaiting rescue.

The Three Pigeons, Halifax: Art Deco and "something special".

Coach and Horses, Barnburgh: National rarity.

The Swan, Bishopsgate Street, York: Thirties survivor.