The Crown Public House
The Crown Hotel was constructed 1895-7 and was Grade II listed in 1996, meaning it is a building of special interest and warrants every effort to preserve it.
The building was designed by Joseph D Wood and probably built by Messrs. Harley and Son of Smethwick. The Clerk of the Works was Mr Bray of Smethwick. It is a heavily decorated three storey building of stone and red brick built in the ‘Gothic Revival’ style. This style was mostly used in church architecture during the Victorian period, but extended to a limited number of commercial buildings such as university colleges and the St Pancras Hotel in London. The Crown was built to create a high profile for the brewery, its corner turret and spire providing a dramatic gateway to the oldest part of Wolverhampton Street.
Prior to the construction of The Crown Hotel a pub called the Coach & Horses occupied the site. The name of this pub probably reflects the days of horse-drawn carriages thundering along the road.
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In August 1895 the County Advertiser newspaper reported that a “Mr Ward had applied on behalf of Butler’s Crown Brewery Limited, of Birmingham, for the sanction of the magistrates to re-construct the Coach & Horses Inn. He stated that if the application were granted, the company proposed to build a hotel fitted with commercial, dining, coffee rooms and all the accessories necessary to a hotel…Mr Ward said the premises would neither be a gin palace nor spirit vaults”. The plans were approved in September 1895. The Coach & Horses was gradually taken down as the new inn was erected. It was a difficult task for the builders, as the new building had to be set back to a “new building line” in both streets, and a contract had been signed to the effect “that business was to be carried on without let or hindrance”. By April/May 1897 The Crown was open for business.
The Crown was named as such for two possible reasons: either to reflect the brewery’s title, or because 1897 was Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee year. In 1898 Butler’s Crown Brewery Ltd merged with Henry Mitchell & Co Ltd to form Mitchell & Butler’s Ltd.
No records have been found to describe the original internal layout, which has been altered over the years, but the original stairs remain intact. The large first floor ‘clubroom’ has an attractive plaster ceiling, a ‘Crown’ etched mirror and some external windows are also etched.