Phil and Jane Banks arrived at the Wheatsheaf Public House in Sutton Leach more than 20 years ago to begin what has been a remarkable transformation of a tired local pub.
They spent many years creating a traditional and homely business with lots of character and a welcoming atmosphere.
The walls are filled with hundreds of 'knick-knacks', including brass ornaments, pictures of the surrounding area and a wide range of memorabilia collected over the years.
Food was introducted to The Wheatsheaf over 10 years ago and the restaurant has thrived ever since. It is now one of the top restaurants in St Helens on TripAdvisor.
In August 2015 as we were declared as a grade II listed building by Historic England, one of only 21 pubs nationwide and one of only 2 in the Merseyside area*.
Although the listing is not a preservation order, it does prevent any changes to the building that would affect the interest of the public house.
The Wheatsheaf, including its tiered bowling-green viewing terrace gained the award beacuse it is an interesting example of an inter-war pub built to serve a semi-rural mining community.
Architecturally it is a good example of the “Brewers’ Tudor” style of public house. The interior and exterior (largely) has remained intact for many years which adds to its traditional and architectural importance.
In addition the building has retaining the tiered bowling-green viewing terrace that serves its recreational facilities and exemplifies an 'improved' pub of the 1930s
Full details can be found on the Historic England website
*At the time of the award.Find Out More
The Wheatsheaf was constructed during 1936-38 for the brewery Greenall and Whitley & Co. Ltd of St Helens and Warrington. During this period there were a lot of 'small backstreet boozers' that existed in St Helens, therefore The Wheatsheaf was designed to draw people away from that culture, by giving people more things to do and enjoy in pubs.
However, this unveiling was not welcomed by everybody in the community. On the opening day in 1938, it is reported that a large crowd of would-be drinkers were met by campaigners protesting against the new 'House of the Devil'. This was due to the poor reputation of conventional pubs in the area. In spite of this perception, The Wheatsheaf hoped to appeal to more 'respectable' customers by offering more than just a place to drink.
Aswell as the fantastic bowling green, the building also boasts a number of small cosy rooms which were used to attract a wider clientele, in particular women. One of the features of the building, which is still present, is the names of these rooms, they are still clearly signed on large oak doors. Rooms include, 'dining, buffet, lounge and smoking rooms' named after their historical uses.
Another unique feature of The Wheatsheaf is its slanted floors, this has been caused by the mining subsidence. The building was constructed at the same level as the opposing road but has sank up to 18 feet at its lowest point. Many visitors of the pub have suggested that they 'feel intstantly drunk' when walking into the uneven building, it really does need to be seen to be believed.