A LANDLADY in Great Harwood is celebrating after being told she has the best pub in Hyndburn.

Former nurse Jean Baxter, who runs the Victoria in St John’s Street, said all the hard work had paid off as Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) handed her the Hyndburn Pub Of The Year Award.

She said: “It’s absolutely brilliant. It makes it all worthwhile. The hard work has paid off. It’s quite good for pubs in this day and age to be recognised because there’s so many closing down.”

Jean previously worked at Lancaster Moor Hospital, the county’s first ‘lunatic asylum’, before deciding to change her career when her husband Stephen died.

“I have been here 14 years ago now,” she said. “It’s hard work but it’s enjoyable. We have five rooms so we can have meetings during the week.

“I don’t play any loud music, just background music, because this is a talking pub.”

The pub was built in 1905 by Alfred Nuttall and still retains many of its original features. Mosaic tiles cover the walls and there are still several separate rooms from the bar with bench seating, including wooden laths.

The historic building is a near-complete example of an early 20th century public house. It is known locally as the ‘Butcher Brig’, after an old slaughterhouse and a nearby bridge.

A free house, the pub serves a varying choice of real ales.

Chair of East Lancashire Camra, John Webster, said: “Jean runs a very, very good pub with a selection of fine real ales.

“Because we are such a widespread branch, we decided to do pubs of the year in each of the six areas, so it’s a new thing.

“The Hyndburn lads have been round all the pubs in that area, and picked a winner - which is quite an accolade.”