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The Old Contemptibles scoops national pub award

Mitchells & Butlers pub, The Old Contemptibles on Edmund Street, Birmingham, has scooped a leading industry award celebrating the refurbishment and restoration of this historic city centre pub.

The popular pub won the top accolade in the ‘Pub Design' category at the Publican Awards, voted for by industry leaders, beating off competition from hundreds of pubs across the UK.  The judging panel described the pub's design as "heart warming and respectful to its traditions" as well as stating: "This is a genuine attempt to capture what is often forgotten about Victorian pubs - their warmth and opulence."

Last year the Old Contemptibles was carefully refurbished to restore and preserve its heritage.  Local carpenters hand-made much of the panelling and woodwork, including the ornate carving featured throughout the pub, and light-hearted scenes taken from photographs of the trenches were painted in the alcoves behind the bar.

A separate room was also been developed as part of the restoration, as a tribute to the First World War military campaigns in which the Old Contemptibles were involved. Called the Campaign Room, this room reveals old WWI campaign maps set into the dark wood panelled walls.

Manager of the pub, Helen O'Neill, collected the award at a ceremony in London hosted by comedy duo, Alan Carr and Justin Lee Collins.  Helen said:  "The pub has been really popular since the refurbishment and customers appreciate the combination of its rich history alongside our extensive drinks range and traditional pub food menu."

Mike Bramley, managing director pubs and bars for Mitchells & Butlers, added:  "We're proud to accept this award which is testament to the hard work and planning put in by all of the team involved in the restoration.  The Old Contemptibles is a fine city centre pub which attracts a wide customer base and the pub's team is doing a great job since it reopened last year."

Local records show that the first pub on the site was known as the Adelphi Wine Vaults, which was built in the late 18th Century.  In 1880 the site was redeveloped by William Hale and became the Albion Hotel.

The pub's current name dates back to 1953, in recognition of the achievements of a small group of men who met regularly at the pub.  The group had been members of the original infantry divisions of the British Expeditionary Force, sent to France in World War I, whom Kaiser Wilhelm II was said to have referred to as "Sir John French's contemptible little army"; so they called themselves the Old Contemptibles.

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