Historic Sunderland pubs are Britain’s ‘hidden gems’

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TWO Sunderland pubs have been made the list of Britain’s hidden gems.

The Mountain Daisy, in Hylton Road, and The Dun Cow, in High Street West, both feature in a new publication from The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra).

Chris Royal, landlord at the Mountain Daisy on Hylton Road, toasts the news that one of his pub's rooms has been singled out for a special mention by CAMRA in their latest guide.

Chris Royal, landlord at the Mountain Daisy on Hylton Road, toasts the news that one of his pub's rooms has been singled out for a special mention by CAMRA in their latest guide.

Britain’s Best Real Heritage Pubs is a celebration of pub interiors, featuring 270 watering holes nationwide that have altered little in the last 80 years.

The Mountain Daisy makes the list for its back bar, which the Camra guide describes as “one of the most spectacular pub rooms anywhere in the country”.

The walls are tiled from floor to ceiling, with seven panels depicting North East scenes, including the Tyne and Wearmouth Bridges, Durham Cathedral and Marsden Rock.

“It is fabulous,” said landlord Chris Royal.

“We have open days occasionally and I love showing people around.”

The Dun Cow is featured for “one of the most stunning bar-backs in Britain – a splendid traceried Indo-Gothic web billowing out to form platforms on which bottles can be displayed”.

The woodwork, which American star Howard Keel famously tried to buy during a stint at the Empire Theatre next door, is decorated with delicate Art Nouveau woodcarving and has two rows of bevelled mirror sections.

Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage, said: “Pubs are an intrinsic part of British life, and nationwide, there are about 50,000 opening their doors every day.

“But historic pub interiors are something rarer.

“Across the UK, only 270 have been identified as having the level of national importance necessary for listing in this guide.

“English Heritage has been working with Camra for 20 years now, and the legacy of that partnership is beautifully revealed within the pages of this book. From wonderful Victorian tiled interiors, through to the simple splendour of Art Deco decoration, the range of pubs recognised through the historic pub interiors project is staggering.”

The book will be available from May 6 in all good bookshops and via www.camra.org.uk/shop.