Leeds pub given Grade II* listed protection by Historic England

Whitlock's Ale House has been given the status as part of a project to save rare pub interiors. Credit: Historic England/PA

A pub in Leeds has been given Grade II* listed protection due to its historical importance as a surviving upmarket Victorian "luncheon bar".

Whitlock's Ale House which is tucked away down an alley in Leeds city centre, has been given the second-highest possible protection by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on the advice of Historic England, as part of a project to help save rare historic pub interiors.

The Grade II* status means it is in the top 5.8% of protected historic buildings in England.

Historic England said that Whitelock’s is one of the best examples of a late-19th century upmarket luncheon bar.

It said the pub was described by Sir John Betjeman as “the very heart of Leeds” and has been frequented by celebrities over the years, becoming a favourite of Peter O’Toole and Dame Margot Fonteyn.

It still has its 1895 interior decorative scheme and a wealth of high-quality features, including stained-glass windows and a rare ceramic-tiled bar counter.

Whitelock’s is close to another Grade II* listed building, the City Varieties music hall – home of the long-running BBC TV show The Good Old Days – which gained the reputation of being the social and cultural hub of Leeds.

The bar is located down a narrow alleyway in Leeds city centre. Credit: Historic England/PA

It is joined by another Victorian pub – the Prince Alfred in Maida Vale, London – which has also been upgraded to Grade II*.

The list of pubs was proposed by the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) Pub Heritage Group, as part of a collaboration with Historic England to protect historic pubs.

Duncan Wilson, chief executive, Historic England said: “At a time when many historic pubs in England are susceptible to change or at risk of closure, we are pleased to celebrate pubs that have kept their remarkable interiors.

“These rare interiors help tell the fascinating story of pubs over the centuries and how they reflected society. From celebrity haunt Whitelock’s Ale House in Leeds to the Prince Alfred in London with its ‘snob screens’, they all fully deserve the protection given by listing.”

Paul Ainsworth, chairman of Camra’s Pub Heritage Group said: “Times are tough for all pubs at the moment, including those with important historic interiors. The more protection they can receive, the better.”