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Records of Bucks
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Historic Buildings Group

Historic Pubs:
First we had to get the survey process right...

The project team chose Chesham for its first survey but found two immediate problems:

  • This was too large a parish to cut
    their teeth on: there are always more pubs and former pubs than you think
    there will be, and
  • More background research was
    necessary before tramping the
    streets – because pub names and buildings change, so today’s Red Lion
    may bear no relation to the one you
    found in that Victorian photograph.
The Bell, a 17th-century pub in Bell Walk, Winslow.

So from their experience in Chesham the team defined a way of working which meant that when they undertook ‘fieldwork’, going round the town looking at historic pub buildings, they already had sufficient information to know what they were looking for. In other words, they had a ‘methodology’.

Then a smaller town, Winslow, was chosen to test this out. This survey proved much more focused and successful. Although there are only four existing pubs in the town, twenty buildings were identified as having previously been public houses and these were all recorded. However six buildings that were noted in records had vanished without trace.

With just a little tweaking, the methodology was ready for members of the Historic Buildings Group to have a go, so Weston Turville was chosen for an evening’s survey in June 2010. The village dates back before Domesday Book, though none of its three pubs today is that old. But at one time this relatively small village had no fewer than nine pubs. With a little research, all could still be identified.

So it’s time to widen the search...

Now, with two surveys under its belt, the project team had set up the methodology - the "how to do it" Guide and defined the survey forms that could be used to survey historic pubs and their buildings across Buckinghamshire.

The next step was to get some surveys started....