Beacon Hotel - Listed Building

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The Beacon Hotel and Brewery is a grade 2 listed building (List Entry Number: 1393977)

Here is the List Description (

A joined public house and brewery, initially built c.1851 and altered in the later C19 and c.1921. The building is of red brick, partially colourwashed and with a tile roof.

PLAN: The hotel has two storeys and a cellar and the brewery has three storeys. The hotel fronts onto Bilston Street and its ground floor plan consists of a central corridor, to either side of which are four principal bar areas, the Snug, Tap Room, Lounge and Family Room, and also a Private room for the staff.

EXTERIOR: The road front has a three-bay, near-symmetrical front of colour-washed brick with pilaster buttresses to the corners and a doorway slightly at right of centre with arched fanlight and a wrought iron lamp bracket . At either side of this are tripartite sash windows with painted stone sills and bracketed heads. At first floor level are three sashes with four panes. The roof has paired chimneys to each gable end. The east flank has a ground floor extension to right and four ground floor windows with bracketed heads. The west front has two sash windows to each floor. Extending at left, and in-line with the gabled flank, is a rear wing which connects to the brewery and marks the height of its original roof, before the extra floor was added in the 1920s. This has a canted bay window to the ground floor which was added in the 1970s. To the left of this is the late C20 conservatory with canted end and arched lights and at left again the lavatories and barrel store, all of which are single-storeyed and stand in front of the brewery tower. The north face has at left a single-storey addition with a canted bay, added in the 1970s but appearing mid-Victorian in its details.

INTERIOR: The central passage has a quarry-tiled floor and an egg-and-dart cornice. The closed-string staircase has square balusters and a turned newel. The off-sales hatch in the west wall has a panelled apron and stained glass internal light above the panelled hatch. The Tap Room is near square with a chimneybreast to the centre of the east wall and the door opposed to it. The range in the fireplace is a late C20 import. Surrounding the lower walls is a plain wooden bench which appears to be an original fitting and the room has match boarded panelling to the walls forming a bench back. The Snug has a similar arrangement of chimney breast opposite the door and has upholstered, fixed benches running around the walls. The C19 marble fire surround is a C20 replacement of the plainer, mid-C20 tiled surround shown in photographs. The Lounge has matchboard panelling to the walls which is apparently original and there are two slate fireplaces with cast iron inserts which were brought from upstairs rooms and installed in the 1970s. Around the walls are upholstered benches, which are shown in situ in early C20 photographs. The floor has linoleum tiles and a border which appear to date from the 1920s. The Private Room has a wooden fire surround with tiled slips which dates from the 1920s. The kitchen has fitted cupboards and a sink which are of the late C19 or C20. The present Family Room was formed from a courtyard area in the late C20 which was roofed and given a wall to its northern end with a door to the garden and canted window in imitation of a mid-C19 arrangement. To the upper floors the plan remains little altered and there are wallpapers and borders dating from the 1920s. Beneath the pub, the original layout of cellars remains largely undisturbed, with C19 brick barrel platforms running around the walls of one room.

THE BREWERY is built in-line with the rear wing of the pub and joined to it to form one building. In terms of process, the making of beer at the Sarah Hughes Brewery depends on a gravity method with tanks arranged over three floors and a cellar. Water is heated to boiling point in the hot liquor tank at the top of the building. This water is mixed in the mash tun with malt taken from the grist case. After mixing it is sieved through the under back and falls down to the copper on the floor below where it is boiled and where hops are added. From there it is run off into the hop back and cooled and then falls down to the fermenting vats on the floor below. Yeast is added and the brew is left to ferment for six days. After skimming the beer is run off into the racking tank and thence to the casks in the cellar below.

EXTERIOR: The east front opens onto a small yard and has two sets of double doors to the ground floor. Above are two cambered-headed windows to the first and second floors. There is a single bay to the west side, with a round-arched metal-framed window to the second floor and the north gable end has a similar round-headed metal window at this height. To the ridge is a louvered vent, and there is a stack to the centre of the north gable.

INTERIOR: The top floor, which was added in the 1920s, has a square grist case with tapered profile clad in matchboarding. The mash tun is of stainless steel and a C20 addition with wooden palings to the side. The hot liquor tank is encased in brick and now heated by a gas burner, but the original furnace is preserved. To the south end of the floor is an enclosed sugar store with boarded and glazed doors built in the late C20. The copper, which is set in a tiled brick surround, has its mouth on the top floor and the body is set on the middle floor, where the heating is provided by gas burners, although the original furnace is still in situ. The present hop back is a C20 stainless steel tank. There is an original fireplace with wood surround and cast iron grate to the east wall. The ground floor contains the racking tanks and fermenting vats which are C20.

HISTORY: The brewery and public house were first granted a licence in 1852 and the buildings appear to have been erected at around that date, facing onto a turnpike road. Despite being called a hotel, the business operated principally as a public house. The Carter and Baker families owned the business until 1921 when it was bought at auction by Sarah Hughes. The following year the licence was issued in her name and she remained the owner until 1951, when the business passed to her son and then in turn to her grandson, John Hughes. Sarah Hughes undertook alterations to the buildings, including the addition of a third floor to the brewery block to create a gravity system of liquid transfer in a tower brewery. At the same time the plan of the rooms in the public house were rationalised by building a screened bar area with hatches which served both front and back bars on the west side (Snug and Lounge), and off sales from the central passageway. Otherwise the basic structure was little altered, although details such as fire surrounds and wall panelling were changed in the mid-C20. Brewing stopped on site in 1958, but was started again in 1987 by John Hughes, using traditional methods and equipment where these were consistent with current legislation. In the 1970s an attempt was made to strip out the later alterations and return the building to its mid-Victorian appearance and some fittings were brought in and others were re-arranged. A single-storey extension was built to the north and west in the late C20, including a conservatory and internal lavatories and a barrel store.

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: The Beacon Hotel and Sarah Hughes Brewery, Dudley, are designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * The combination of a public house and brewery building, both originating in the mid-C19 and surviving in largely original condition, is rare. * The last significant alteration to the core of the building happened in the early 1920s and the core plan of both brewery and public house contains much fabric and many fixtures which can be dated to the mid-C19 when the building was put up. * Although there have been alterations, these have been carried out in sympathy with the existing fabric and do not detract from the building's special interest.