THE latest award to arrive at platform 1B at Sheffield railway station is for the best pub conversion in the country.
Real ale enthusiasts this week declared the Sheffield Tap as one of the winners of its pub design awards in recognition of the way it has been sensitively restored from derelict former waiting rooms.
It is another accolade for two Sheffield businessmen, Jamie Hawksworth and Jon Holdsworth, who opened the bar in December 2009 after spotting the rundown building while waiting for a train.
They embarked on a long, difficult and often frustrating process of overcoming red tape and securing the money to pave the way for the refurbishment of the grade II-listed building and to carry out the work, which included restoring the ornate ceiling, original tiles and mahogany bar.
National judges of the Campaign for Real Ale said: “Since 1976 this fine, listed interior had been left by successive railway companies to decay; as a result, the woodwork rotted away and the superb plaster ceiling finally succumbed to unchecked water leaks.
“In 2008, though, restoration of this fine interior finally began under the auspices of East Midlands Trains and with generous funding assistance from the Railway Heritage Trust.
“Craftsmen Jamie Hawksworth, Jon Holdsworth and their team worked hard to recapture the Edwardian feel of the room.
“Altogether this is a fine example of a splendidly atmospheric interior that has been rescued from the dead through vision, dedication and love.”
Already the Sheffield Tap has been voted Cask Ale Pub of the Year by the Publican newspaper and has won a National Heritage Award for best restoration of 2010.
Supplied by Thornbridge Brewery, it has proved so popular that it has been expanded, and the concept has been replicated at Euston station in London.
The Camra award is backed by English Heritage and the Victorian Society and follows judging by a team of architects, historians and experienced pub campaigners.
It is another reflection of the standing of Sheffield as a haven for real ale fans. The Kelham Island Tavern won Pub of the Year two years running and the organisation held its annual conference in the city earlier this year.
lThornbridge success, page 18.