The Lost Pubs of Burton on Trent

The brewing capital of the United Kingdom, Burton upon Trent, has kept the United Kingdom and the wider world in beer for hundreds of years. The special qualities of the water table underneath the town, with its underground gypsum deposits, was perfect for brewing beer. That led to many local breweries being established, the biggest names being Bass and Worthington’s, as well as brewers from other parts of the country (such as Marston’s, the London based brewers Truman’s and Manchester’s Boddington) setting up in the town. The town’s brewing industry has declined in recent years, with only Marstons and Molson Coors having large breweries in the town, although there are a number of smaller microbreweries. The Bass name, synonymous with Burton on Trent’s brewing heritage, disappeared in 2000 when the company was sold to Belgian brewing company Interbrew.

It has been estimated that around 270 pubs have existed in Burton over the years, with a peak of around 200 at any one time. Nowadays, many factors have contributed to the closure of numerous pubs. Competition from cut-price beer in the supermarkets, the Smoking Ban of 2007 and a change in the population’s drinking habits are just some of the factors which have led to the decline of the licensed trade, and the subsequent closure of pubs in Burton on Trent, and all around the country. The Covid-19 pandemic in the 2020s may have been the final nail in the coffin for many pubs in Burton and elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

Since the summer of 2021, I have been putting together a list of lost pubs, something which has become a bit of an obsession for me. Using lists I have found online, old maps and books, I have put together a spreadsheet and a map of local pubs. I don’t claim that this is an exhaustive list of Burton’s pubs, it is still very much a work in progress. Also, the exact locations of some of the pubs are unknown to me. If you have any further information about these pubs, or any that I have missed, then please get in touch via the contact page.

Click on the blue markers on the map for the name of the pub, and, if available, a photo of what it looks like today.

According to my spreadsheet, there are still around forty pubs open in the Burton on Trent area. However, hardly a month goes by without an article in the local paper (The Burton Mail) talking about a “once-loved Burton pub” being closed and converted into housing, or being demolished for new development. Among the more recent closures have been the Derby Inn in Derby Road, the Wellington Arms in Wellington Street and the New Inn/Coach House on Horninglow Road North.

While putting together my spreadsheet and map, I was surprised at how many buildings I have walked past many times which, unknown to me, actually used to be pubs. Like The British Lion and The Rifleman on Derby Street, and the Waterloo on Waterloo Street, for example.

I hope to update the Lost Pubs page on here with new information about old pubs as and when I find it, and I am also planning to photograph many of the defunct pubs which still exist and post them on the map. The only ones I will not be photographing are those which are now single private homes, as I don’t want to invade anyone’s privacy.