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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 July, 2003, 15:25 GMT 16:25 UK
Pubs lose their character and history
Fewer pubs are retaining their original features
Only 4% of pubs have retained features of historic significance
The traditional image of the British pub, full of atmosphere and original features, has been shattered in a report by pressure group Camra.

The Campaign for Real Ale says most of the 60,000 pubs in the UK have undergone so many alterations in recent years that only 4% have retained any historic features.

Of those, less than 250 are deemed worthy of mention in Camra's new report on "pubs with interiors of note".

The National Inventory: Pub Interiors of Outstanding Historic Interest lists 205 pubs with exceptional historic interiors and a further 43 pubs with particular internal features of national historic importance.

Author of the report Dr Geoff Brandwood said the public and pub owners needed to be made more aware about the importance of preserving historic features in pubs.

"We are not trying to preserve pubs in aspic - obviously they are commercial businesses and have to change and adapt to the market - but we want people to be aware when they have got something special to keep it."

People have a great feeling for history
Dr Geoff Brandwood, Camra

Mr Brandwood said that many pubs and bars had been "themed" by major leisure groups only to find themselves rebranded after a couple of years. By then the damage had been done.

"There is no point in making all pubs look exactly the same. Let's have diversity, lets have the modern stuff, but also, let's have the historic stuff too.

"People have a great feeling for history," he added.

Council lists

Camra is urging local authorities to set up lists of pubs with features of interest in their areas.

The lists could play a major part in influencing local planning policies and raising awareness about important historic buildings, including pubs.

Camra believes that, at the present time, only a third of local authorities maintain such lists.

Pubs in the UK
60,000 pubs in the UK
19,700 are brewery-owned
21,700 owned by pub companies
18,600 independently owned
Over 25% of adults visit the pub at least once a week
Britain's oldest pub is reputed to be the 11thC Fighting Cocks in St Albans, Herts. But rivals dispute its claim to fame

"Many pubs have interiors which are simple and unsophisticated and do not qualify for statutory listing, yet they are still of value to the people who use them and help to define the sense of local community.

"The local list initiative holds promise as a vehicle for protecting valuable local pubs and their historic interiors so that future generations can enjoy them," added Mr Brandwood.

According to the survey there were no pubs with historic interiors of interest in Northamptonshire and Surrey.

Watney's had been very "aggressive" in doing up its pubs in Northamptonshire, and pubs in affluent Surrey had received makeovers because there was enough money sloshing around in the county to do it.

Birmingham, Greater Manchester and London came out on top as the areas who had preserved pub interiors best.

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