Plans submitted to restore iconic Stoke-on-Trent pub

Burslem pub fire Burslem pub fire

The Leopard, located in Burslem, was badly damaged by a fire in January 2022. For over two years, the historic pub – which was established in 1765 – has lain in disrepair. 

Once a landmark of the town, the Leopard has since become a boarded-up eyesore and a target for vandalism. 

Historically significant in several ways, the Leopard was an important meeting place between James Brindley and Josiah Wedgwood, who planned the building of the Trent and Mersey Canal there in 1765. 

The Leopard is also said to have inspired the Tiger Pub in Arnold Bennett’s books, as claimed by Alasdair Brooks.

Now, Jane Ashworth, the Stoke-on-Trent Council leader, has announced that plans have been submitted to restore the pub. Ms Ashworth also suggested that the council will be tougher on landlords who leave historic buildings to become “vandalised by neglect” in the future. 

The council has been in regular communication with the pub’s owner over the last two years, but a myriad of complications have slowed restoration plans. Ms Ashworth blamed the two-year wait on “internal bureaucracy”. 

Several MPs have expressed frustration at the slow restoration progress, including Jonathan Gullis, the Stoke-on-Trent North MP. 

Given the significance of the pub, the plans must first be approved by Historic England. 

It remains unclear what caused the Leopard Pub fire, which took 40 firefighters to extinguish. Four men were arrested on suspicion of arson at the time but were later released on bail. No further action was taken.

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