Saturday 16 November 2013

Unwanted Inn

Here’s another in my occasional series of landmark pubs that have called time forever. This is the Wanted Inn at Sparrowpit in the Peak District, on a notoriously sharp bend on the scenic A623 road between Chapel-en-le-Frith and Baslow. Originally called the Duke of Devonshire, it gained its more recent name because in the 1950s the Devonshire Estate decided to dispose of it, and it took nearly two years before it found a buyer who “wanted” it. This may have been Robinson’s brewery, as for many years it was one of their tied houses before it fell victim, along with plenty of others, to their recent pub cull. The StreetView image from November 2012 shows that it survived long enough to gain Robinson’s new livery. The hamlet of Sparrowpit has thirty or so houses, so some people will no longer have a local pub within walking distance.

Only about three miles away, Robinson’s have also recently closed the handsome Crown & Mitre at Chinley, but as the forecourt seems to be being used as an extension of the used car dealership opposite it wasn’t possible to get a decent photo. I recall many years ago listening to a female customer in this pub going on at great and tedious length about the quality of own-label groceries sold by ALDI.

Incidentally, it is my understanding that Robinson’s are not applying restrictive covenants to any of these pubs, so if you fancy taking one on the opportunity is there. Don’t all rush at once.


  1. I've driven past the Wanted many times; it's something of a landmark in that area.

  2. The Wanted Inn was a really nice pub inside,i am sure Robinsons took the pub on in the 50s,there wee old photo's on the pubs inside wall showing the pub almost covered in snow,i went in the pub in May 2004.

    The Crown and Mitre was also a nice Robinsons tied house that was visible from trains passing on the Sheffield to Manchester line,i went in this pub in May 2004.

    If you need any photo's of pubs i would be able to send them via Email,i have had a look at your closed pubs site,i have loads of photo's of closed pubs,but when they were up and running,so probably not much use to yoer site.

  3. There are plenty of unwanted inn's around the country simply because "going to the pub" and drinking beer has been abandonded by the young, in their places are costa coffee and starbucks, only the trendiest pubs in the right location will survive or good restuarants that are pubs by name only.

    The blame game is pointless really, the truth is that this generation has no interest in traditional pubs that have been around for decades, the smoking ban hits pubs with good food and starbucks etc, yet they survive and thrive.

    Old fashioned buisnesses go bust, chimney sweeps aren't around either and greengrocers etc.

    Blame prices, blame taxes , blame pubcos, blame smoking ban, blame the government the truth is that traditional pubs have had their day and will not return.

  4. I went to a pub last night with my folks for a meal and I made a bet that when we walked out past the bar that there would be few or people under the age of 30 drnking there. And sure enough there was no one that looked under the age of 30 out of about 20 - 30 people. As far as I could work out they were pretty much all middle aged non-smokers. Is this my imagination or is the mean age of pub users going up? If true it means that pub users are not being replaced. I just wonder if this has been noted by others or is just the pubs I go to?!?

  5. @Rickie, I hear what you say but this isn't universal. My local has a large number of young customers who are in three or four times a week. (A lot of old codgers as well, including myself). As for greengrocers etc, there are two in walking distance plus three butchers, two fishmongers, three bakers and a deli. You have to use these these places or lose them. Luckily, around here they are used. (Cheaper than the supermarkets too)
    I also know a chimney sweep.

  6. I have it on good authority - from the putative manager - that the Wanted will be reopening as a free house, hopefully before Christmass

  7. @Mudgie, I also should have said that both these pubs look like cracking boozers. @David C Brown has provided some hope re The Wanted. The Crown & Mitre also looks handsome and hopefully someone will come in for it unless there is a demand for "period" flats in the area.

  8. @DCB - let's hope it does reopen as a free house, as have some of Robbies' other closed pubs. Some have been obvious no-hopers, but despite its rural location I don't think this one is.

    You do wonder whether their strategy is not so much getting rid of unviable pubs as just weeding out those that deliver a lower rate of return.

  9. Lord Egbert Nobacon17 November 2013 at 09:23

    A large pub on a dangerous road bend in a hamlet of just 30 houses - any clues as to why it has struggled to survive ?

  10. It would make a lovely country cottage and improve the area by ensuring no rough pubs were nearby and maintaining the peacefulness

  11. Worse than that, it's not in a position whereby the millions of people visiting the Peak District hang out like Castleton and it's not a centre for walking or little gift shops. Although because the bend is so bad, cars don't tend to go around it very fast :-) In the past, I'm guessing it was the centre of the small community there but as has been highlighted, pub going has just reduced and passing trade just tended to do that as it sort of jumped out at you.

    Opening as a free house? Hmm, maybe... of course with the right licensee and a favourable wind, rural pubs can be turned around but risky IMO.

    There *is* some cracking walking country around there, just not right *there* ;-) People tend to head for the high peaks as found in the Hope Valley.

    Two complete tangents though - this pub is on the same road as the most eclectic Three Stags Head at Wardlow - which is a CAMRA historic pub interior listing. For goodness sake, don't ask for lager. Can be made part of a very nice circular walk from Litton taking in the Monsall head railway, ParkHorse at Little Longston (isn't Thornbridge around there?), over the moors to the TSH and then back to Litton along the limestone cuttings.

    The other tangent was I've just been prompted to report a huge pot hole near Sparrowpit which shredded my front tyre a week ago. Rather amusingly, the place is called "Pot Holes" ;-)

  12. Just to say "The Wanted" at Sparrowpit is open again as a Freehouse !!

  13. The Wanted is open again ,it is a free house !!! It also has quite a few young ones in due to landlady being young!! Lot's of young farmers!!. Good beers &good home made food. Call up soon .

  14. The Wanted is now open again & a freehouse run by a local farming family. All welcome !!!!!



Comments, especially on older posts, may require prior approval by the blog owner. See here for details of my comment policy.

Please register an account to comment. Unregistered comments will generally be rejected unless I recognise the author. If you want to comment using an unregistered ID, you will need to tell me something about yourself.