Midlands & East Anglia Premier Hospitality

Unique piece of Lincoln’s history is restored

Cardinal’s Hat
Written by Roma Publications

Cardinal’s Hat

Built in the 1400s, the Grade II Listed Cardinal’s Hat pub in High Street, Lincoln, has had many former ‘lives’ – including as a fishmongers, a grocery store, a bank and even the HQ of St John Ambulance – before being magnificently restored to its full glory as a beautiful old English tavern.

Interior designers for this impressive scheme were Concorde BGW.

At the start of the refurbishment, the new owner Rupert Abbot chose to completely strip out the modern additions to the building. This allowed historians to date the site back to 1255 and also exposed a Roman wall that truly demonstrates the heritage of the site.

Emma Scarff of Concorde BGW told Premier Hospitality: “Throughout the project, Rupert was the driving force in bringing the pub back to its former glory, celebrating its rich history and re-establishing a great alehouse.

“From the initial interior design planning stage, the clear focus was rejuvenating the historic features of the building and creating a cosy atmosphere through individual rooms sets and snugs.

“The Tudor layout and character of the building were further emphasised by uncovering existing stonework, brick and original finishes, before adding hand crafted bespoke timber flooring.

“An already eclectic interior lent itself to a sympathetic restoration, using a combination of vintage furniture and fittings with a light touch of modernity only where required.

“Beer and service were at the top of the agenda and the brand new timber bar has a wide selection of hand-pulls and bottles boasting ales, beers and ciders from across the UK and even some exclusive niche world beers form around the globe. Rupert also serves a ‘British Tapas’ style menu with small plates and snacks featuring a wealth of local produce sourced from the agricultural richness of Lincolnshire.”

The main bar features timber paneling, including reclaimed doors to maintain a feeling of traditional quality, with bespoke joinery throughout, including a hand crafted timber floor.

Cardinal’s Hat

The bar itself features an industrial style metal framework and a traditional timber counter, completed by inset drip trays and fully functioning self-service vintage water tap to the bar front. The bar is finished with gentlemen’s club style canes housing analogue newspapers and an antique cabinet providing complimentary reading glasses.

Quaint window seats feature delicate stud-work and deep buttoning into the unusually low backs, designed to allow views onto Lincoln’s historic High Street.

Hand selected pieces of reclaimed furniture restored by Yorkshire company REVIVALIST create an distinctly vintage interior style that is topped off with original oil paintings and a selection of thoughtfully framed prints featuring original images of Lincoln.

Industrial style light fittings bathe this scene with a warm light that is subtly contrasted with highlights of cut glass chandeliers, exposed pipe work and galvanised conduit.

Emma Scarff added: “A quick exploration reveals a cosy snug visible through a glass wall in the bar, the welcoming fire and warmly paneled walls invite the visitor to dwell a while on the vintage lounge furniture, especially the comfy wingback chairs, whilst the slightly more adventurous customer could search for the ‘hidden room’ that is accessed through a bookcase.

“This room celebrates the fact that the pub is housed in a group of buildings called Dernstall House. Dernstall” was the medieval name for the narrow part of the High Street and In Old English, “dierne steall” means ‘a hidden place’.”

On the first floor, The Great Chamber has been restored to a condition the Tudors themselves would probably recognise. The exposed original beams, hardwood floor and original leaded windows provide a quintessentially English backdrop for a mix of leather sofas, wooden furniture and vintage upholstery. One of the finishing touches to this stunning room is an original upright pub piano.

For warmer days, the hidden terrace garden provides a sunny space enclosed by old redbrick walls and simple reclaimed timber cladding. Topiary planting surrounds heavy wrought iron furniture and highly practical fixed seating, all illuminated at night by the soft light of festoon bulbs.

Even the toilets are an enjoyable heritage experience, and feature smart paneled cubicles, beautiful heritage tiling, bespoke metal pipework and Belfast style sink units.

Emma Scarff concluded: “It is fitting that this much loved pub, which found itself selling fish, food and finance before administrating first aid, has finally been brought back to life serve the very best of British beer.”

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Roma Publications

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