Design accolade for pub’s refurbishment

THE Sheep & Penguin in Tucker Street, Wells, has been acclaimed for the quality of the refurbishment in CAMRA’s prestigious Pub Design Awards.

The CAMRA (Campaign For Real Ale) group’s awards recognise the highest standards of architecture in the refurbishment and historic conservation of pubs across the UK, plus the most innovative construction and conversions of new venues.

The awards are judged by a panel of experts in design and conservation, with categories ranging from refurbishment to new build.

The Sheep & Penguin won Commended in the competitive Refurbishment category. The Refurbishment category is awarded to the best renovation of an existing pub building. This can range from a complete gutting and replacement, to enhancing the design of what was originally in the pub. As with the other awards, the judges were looking for originality and imagination in the way the building is treated.

Owner Nick James and the family said: “We are very proud to receive this award and what we have created as a family. The project arose from Nick’s passion for pubs and was crafted by his wife Jayne’s flair and talent for design, his son Sam’s technical and organisational skills, and his daughter Charlotte’s eye for detail.

“Meanwhile, his youngest son Max deployed his charm and bar skills to enhance the reputation of their sister pub, The Queens Chew Magna.

“Countless hours of dedication and careful consideration went into crafting the design of The Sheep & Penguin, aiming to create a welcoming proper pub environment that reflects our personality and brings something a little bit different to the wonderful city of Wells.”

Having been closed for years and in a near-derelict condition, the pub – previously known as the Mermaid – reopened last August. The judges described it as “a bright and welcoming place for a drink or a meal”.

The Refurbishment overall winner was the Kings Arms in Elham, Kent.

Chair of the Pub Design Awards judging panel, Andrew Davison, said: “Despite everything thrown at it, we believe that the pub has a key role to play in our communities, and that it will continue to flourish as an institution. The high quality of the entries for these Awards provides evidence to support that belief.”

• The Sheep & Penguin is putting the final touches to the first ever Wells Beer Fest that it is hosting. Scheduled for July 12 and 13, the event promises two days of great beer, live music, and tasty street food. More at