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Surveying historic public houses
- the "how to do it" guide

The aim of the survey is to record the existing public houses in the parishes of Buckinghamshire and also to record buildings that were formerly public houses. Groups or individuals can survey a parish using the methodology set out below.

Before starting please eMail the click to send an emailProject Co-ordinator, to avoid duplication of parish surveys – and perhaps to find other people who might be interested in helping.

1 Determine the boundary of the parish you are surveying

List all its current public houses with their addresses, using:


Add former public houses, with addresses where possible, using:


Download the Pubs Survey Pack. This is a "zip" file which your computer will unpack for you, providing:

  • An Individual Survey Record Sheet - you will need one for each pub you record,
  • A Parish Summary Spreadsheet,
  • A Survey Front Cover.

Together these will give you a good idea of the information to be gathered. When completed, they will also form your report.


Visit the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies to consult background documents:

  • This is at County Hall in Aylesbury. Its entrance is off Walton Street, on the side of County Hall itself that faces the ring road. For more information visit their website or phone the Centre on 01296-382587.
  • You will find information about pubs and former pubs in:
    • Records generated by the 1872 Licensing Act.
    • The 1753-1828 Victuallers' Recognizances.
    • The Petty Session Register of Licences.
    • The "Wulcko Papers" - an earlier pubs survey.
  • There is also a good collection of local history books in the Local Studies area, so check this for any books and pamphlets on the area you're surveying.

Two other historical sources can be checked on-line:


Now obtain descriptions for any buildings that are 'listed' from the Historic Environment Record for the county, which can be accessed on-line at:


You should now have sufficient information to be able to identify the site of each pub on your list, even if it has changed its use or even been demolished.

So now is the time to get "out in the field" and find it, so that you can:

  • Write a description of its condition today,
  • Record its historical features,
  • Take digital photographs of the pub and any ancillary buildings,
  • and record this information on an Individual Survey Record sheet for the pub concerned (even if it has been demolished or become a shop, office or home).

Unless you've chosen a really large parish, you will probably be able to find most of the pubs and former pubs in one circuit of the area - with the aid of a car if you're chosen a country area.


Finally you're ready to complete your report. To do this you should:

  • Complete an individual Survey Record sheet for each pub or former pub you have found (or failed to find),
  • Complete a Parish Summary Spreadsheet, gathering summary information for each pub on to this single form,
  • Fill in a Survey Front Cover for your selected area, giving credit to those who have done all the work.

If you are "computer savvy" you will be able to do this by using your word processor and spreadsheet programmes to add to each form the information you have gathered - the files are in MSWord and MSExcel.

If not, then you should fill in printed copies of the forms by hand.


Finally, send your completed Survey Report to the Project Coordinator - either in electronic form as an eMail attachment or by post. The report you have produced will become part of the Buckinghamshire Historic Environment Record and will be published on this website.

If you have any queries, eMail the click to send an emailProject Co-ordinator.