Historic city pub’s protection is upgraded

Credit: JMA Photography

Whitelock’s Ale House, in Leeds city centre, has had it’s Listing status updated by Historic England from its existing Grade II-status to an enhanced Grade II*.

This is an accolade awarded to just the top 5.8% of protected buildings in England.

The award recognises Whitelocks’ largely untouched 1895 Victorian interior which was installed by the Whitelock family, after whom the pub is named.

Credit: JMA Photography

The pub itself is even older, and was first licensed in 1715 under the name “The Turk’s Head”.

The pub has been owned and operated by Ed Mason and his team since 2012. Mason said: “This award is a testament to the beautiful interior and history of this great pub which we are fortunate enough to be the current custodians of.

“But also, to have a humble public house recognised as one of the most important historical buildings in England is I think a recognition of the important role that pubs can play in serving the community and within our culture.

“We aim to offer a place of welcome, of hospitality, and of refuge and I think that this is something that Whitelock’s has always done for the people of Leeds, through the ages.”

Whitelock’s was a favourite watering hole for celebrities including actor Peter O’Toole and Prima Ballerina Assoluta Dame Margaret Evelyn (Margot Fonteyn). 

The pub has retained its 1895 interior decorative scheme and a wealth of high-quality features, including fixed-bench seating, stained-glass windows, mirrors and a rare ceramic-tiled bar counter.

Credit: JMA Photography

Duncan Wilson, chief executive, Historic England, said: “At a time when many historic pubs in England are susceptible to change or at risk of closure, we are pleased to celebrate pubs that have kept their remarkable interiors.

“These rare interiors help tell the fascinating story of pubs over the centuries and how they reflected society.”

Paul Ainsworth, chairman of CAMRA’s Pub Heritage Group said: “Times are tough for all pubs at the moment, including those with important historic interiors.

“The more protection they can receive, the better. We have been working with Historic England to identify pubs that deserve to be listed, upgraded or have their list descriptions enhanced so people can truly appreciate why they are special.”

You can read our review of the Whitelocks from last summer here.