The awards, held by CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) in conjunction with Historic England, celebrate exceptional pubs across the country that have undergone conversion or conservation work, or are newly built.
Hall & Woodhouse, Wichelstowe first opened its doors to guests in February 2019 following a £5m investment. The canal-side pub is situated in the new housing expansion at Wichelstowe and has become a flagship symbol of the emerging community.
Taking inspiration from the building’s surroundings, designers looked at creative ways they could incorporate the canal and reflect the architectural heritage of industrial Swindon into both the pub’s interior and striking exterior. An innovative, purpose-built canal boat named Lady Rose protrudes from the front entrance of the building and contains self-serve beer pumps in sectioned booths that can seat up to 20 people.
Mark James, property director at Hall & Woodhouse, said: “It is important to us to create a welcoming atmosphere that makes guests feel at home – a place where they can relax over a coffee or a meal, or enjoy a drink with friends. Hall & Woodhouse, Wichelstowe was a real labour of love for our design team, who spent months sourcing unique features to enhance the pub’s iconic appearance. When you walk around the pub you are surrounded by not only pieces of Swindon’s history, but also artefacts that convey our brewing heritage of more than 240 years.
“We are so thankful for this national recognition and are proud of the work that went into creating this beautiful pub.”
Glazed drinking and dining areas extend along the canal frontage to represent a terrace of traditional boathouses, with gabled roofs opening onto the water’s edge, forming an extensive area of covered outdoor space. The taller accommodation block also symbolises traditional canal-side warehouses.
The internal décor is a juxtaposition of industrial structure and soft furnishings, with walls adorned with images of local boatbuilding, the Hall & Woodhouse family and the company’s brewing heritage. Knick-knacks from all over the country have been specifically sourced to enhance the building’s atmosphere, including an original lock gate which has been used for one of the pedestrian entrances to the car park.
Andrew Davison, chair of CAMRA’s Pub Design Award judging panel, added: “The New Build Award is rarely awarded, so it is a testament to the quality of Hall & Woodhouse at Wichelstowe that it has won.
“The commitment Hall & Woodhouse make to individual, location-specific design is praiseworthy.”
Hall & Woodhouse is an independent Dorset family company that brews award-winning Badger Ales and runs an estate of high-quality pubs in the south of England. Hall & Woodhouse also previously won the coveted CAMRA New Build Pub Award for the design of its pub at Portishead, Bristol.