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Train station unit railroads its way through the competition

The Draughtsman Alehouse is ‘highly commended’ in CAMRA’s Pub Design Award for Conversion to Pub Use

The Draughtsman Alehouse in Doncaster has been ‘highly commended’ in CAMRA’s Pub Design Awards for its conversion to pub use in April 2017.

What was once an unused 6mx4m unit filled with general clutter at Doncaster rail station has been innovatively transformed into a bustling micropub on platform 3b, while still showing off its many original features.

With the help of local historian Peter Tuffrey, licensee Russ Thompson looked through archive pictures to establish a style that would be both practical and sympathetic to the 1900s origin of the area. Corner seating was installed and a typical cafe barrier system was introduced to serve the pub’s three cask and five keg beer lines.

CAMRA will be celebrating the achievement with a presentation event today, just days before the launch of its Summer of Pub campaign, which aims to promote pub-going over the warmer months and celebrate the contribution of the great British pub to our heritage.

Andrew Davison, chair of CAMRA’s judging panel said: “The Draughtsman is the first micropub to make an appearance at the Pub Design Awards. The careful restoration of original features such as the Victorian tiling gives considerable character to what is a very small bar. Modern fixtures and fittings such as the bar counter and the wall shelving behind it have been deliberately designed to be as simple and basic as possible so as not to compete with the original ones. A very attractive melding of old with new, it is well worth missing a train to experience the Draughtsman.”

Licensee Russ Thompson said: This recognition is very much appreciated, so a big thank you to all involved within CAMRA. My son Luke and I started out wanting to create a venue that we ourselves would like to visit and after two years of trading, we are very pleased with what we have achieved. We have created a meeting point that can be enjoyed by all, whether you are catching a train or not.

“I am a big believer in cities, towns and villages retaining as much of their heritage as possible, so hopefully we will encourage others to seek out the Old or Run-Down and breathe new life into some forgotten buildings.”

A presentation event for the pub will be taking place at the Coopers Tavern in Burton-on-Trent, which won the Historic England Conservation Award and will host the ceremony this year. The event is open to the press and will take place on 23 May at 12 noon.

Images of the pub are available here 

The Pub Design Awards, run in conjunction with Historic England, recognise the very best in British pub architecture and design. This year’s winners include:

  • The Pilot Boat in Lyme Regis for a refurbishment project described as a ‘labour of love’ by Palmers Brewery which brought the tired and dated seaside inn into the modern era
  • The Royal Pavilion in Ramsgate for the conversion of a dilapidated pavilion to a bustling seaside pub by Wetherspoons
  • The Slaughterhouse in Guernsey for the inspired conversion of a historic slaughterhouse into a unique and distinctive pub in the hub of St Peter’s Port by R W Randall
  • The Coopers Tavern in Burton-on-Trent for Joules’ Brewery’s tasteful conservation of the historic tap house dating back to the 1800s
  • The Cardigan Arms in Leeds which was saved from closure by Kirstall Brewery, which turned around the pub’s fortunes

Pubs that were highly commended include:

  • The Sekforde Arms, London for its restoration after nearly 200 years of serving pints
  • The Butcher’s Hook, Thornbury which was left empty and derelict before significant investment brought the former butcher shop back to life
  • The Draughtsman Alehouse, Doncaster which was transformed from a disused storage area into a bustling micropub on platform 3b of Doncaster rail station