Welcome to The Bartons Arms. For more than 100 years this public house has stood on this site. The stunning design of the current Bartons Arms remains one of the finest examples of Victorian pub architecture and one of the most beautiful pub interiors in the country.
The existing building was built in 1901 at a cost of some £12,000 on the site of a former pub purchased for £10,000. Designed by a Mr. Brassington of James and Lister Lea, the area’s primary pub building firm at the time, to be the flagship of the Mitchell and Butlers brewery estate. While the exterior, sporting a foursquare clock tower is in an imposing brick and stone neo-Jacobean style, said to be inspired by the nearby Aston Hall, the interior is the epitome of Victorian decorative grandeur. You will find a riot of original features, rich mahogany woodworking’s, stained and engraved windows and mirrors, snob-screens, sweeping wrought-iron staircase and what the pub is best known for, its wall to wall Minton-Hollins tiles, from shiny-glazed decorative patterns to huge painted scenes.
The Bartons Arms is famed for its long association with the Aston Hippodrome, once the Midland’s premier variety theatre. The most famous double act in film history Arthur Stanley Jefferson and Norvell Hardy, were patrons of The Bartons Arms. Known as Laurel & Hardy they worked the variety show circuit, when not busy making films, which brought them to The Bartons Arms. Working at the now demolished Aston Hippodrome they would rest at The Bartons Arms between shows on their last tour of the UK in May 1954.
As you stand at the bottom of the fabulous flight of stairs and gaze up toward the stunning stain glass window, just for a brief moment you are whisked away to a time gone by. It is easy to imagine, that at any moment, these two larger than life characters will appear and descend this gorgeous Victorian staircase.
With stars of the music halls regularly frequenting The Bartons Arms, a simple local worker from the area could have felt like lord of the manor for the price of a pint, whilst enjoying the magnificent surroundings and illustrious company. More recently patrons of The Bartons Arms have had the pleasure of rubbing shoulders with Nigel Kennedy and Ozzy Osbourne.
Marie Lloyd, Sid Field, Enrico Caruso and the immortal Charlie Chaplin also drank and lodged at The Bartons Arms.
The huge cellars under The Bartons Arms and barrel stillaging areas are testament to the vast quantities of ale consumed by those flooding through its busy doors.
The atmosphere in the public areas must have been alive with music hall girls gracing the venue. However, venturing down into the cellar is a completely different experience. The cellar with its cold grey floors, walls and harsh atmosphere, is to some the heart of the building, the complete opposite of the opulence and warmth of the upstairs.
The vast cellar runs the entire length of the building, ensuring that the barrels of beer are stored at their optimum condition prior to consumption. In fact, the cellar is even larger than it looks, but the rest is now closed off. Allegedly there is a tunnel that used to run from the cellar of the original pub that was on the site and the nearby Aston Hall.