Behind the scenes at Birmingham’s most iconic pub
Paul Bancroft has managed iconic Birmingham pub and theatre The Old Joint Stock for the past 11 years. Over that time, he has unlocked the pub’s true potential, taking the award-winning venue from strength-to-strength.
Awarded the title of Town Pub of the Year by the 2019 Good Pub Guide, the Best Birmingham Independent Pub/Bar in the 2019 What's On Readers' Awards, and listed as one of Birmingham's best pubs according to Timeout, The Old Joint Stock has a proud history in Birmingham and has become a true local icon.
We asked Paul what’s kept him at the pub’s helm for over a decade and how The Old Joint Stock continues to flourish year on year.
The Old Joint Stock Manager Paul Bancroft with the Best Birmingham Pub Award
from What's On
Where it all began
Paul’s career with Fuller’s started 15 years ago when he managed The Butcher’s Hook & Cleaver in West Smithfield in London. Formerly a branch of The Midland Bank and a wholesale meat supply shop, the pub is right next door to Smithfield Market – the oldest functioning meat market in London.
“I had managed pubs in London for another company for nine years before joining Fuller’s. I applied because Fuller’s was a large, independent, family owned pub company – which was my draw to them.”
Five years later, Paul had made such a notable difference at The Butcher’s Hook & Cleaver that he was asked to help at The Old Joint Stock in Birmingham – where it was love at first sight.
“I spent a week there each month for three months to assist the manager. I thought the pub was absolutely amazing and had so much potential.”
A few months later Paul was offered the job at The Old Joint Stock. He packed his things and moved to Birmingham to take the reins of the iconic pub.
“Having spent the majority of my life and career in London and Kent, I took a chance and went full lock, stock and barrel up to Birmingham. Now I’ve been here 11 years.”
When asked why he was drawn to The Old Joint Stock, Paul said: “It’s iconic, beautiful and very special. You have to visit to see and feel it for yourself.”
The Old Joint Stock’s charm
Built in 1862 and designed by Julius Alfred Chatwin, the Grade II listed building started out as a library before it was quickly acquired by the Birmingham Joint Stock Bank.
In 1997, Fuller’s transformed the building into a stylish pub and restaurant specialising in British homemade pies and cask ale, while maintaining the building’s Victorian architectural style. To make the pub even more spectacular, a 100-seat theatre was introduced in 2006 – the brainchild of the previous manager, Alison Turner, Paul explained.
“The theatre was a great idea, but it needed a lot of development. Now we have our very own production company and we do a lot of musical theatre. It’s created a whole new business within the business. It’s unique, especially for Birmingham, and we have become nationally known for our theatre.”
The most wonderful time of the year
The pub is also known as a Christmas destination in Birmingham. Christmas is the busiest time of the year for the pub, which Paul said is also coincidently his favourite time of the year.
“Christmas at The Old Joint Stock is absolutely amazing. We’re one of the busiest Fuller’s pubs for the entire Christmas period, which starts the first week of November for us, and we do a lot for
Christmas with events and decorations. It also helps that the German Market is on our doorstep, which is one of the best in Europe.”
Although The Old Joint Stock is owned by Fuller’s, Paul runs the iconic pub as if it was his own. Since being opened in 1997, Paul is only the second manager the pub has ever had.
“Some people think that managing a pub owned by a pub company means you have no freedom to make the pub your own – you do as you’re told. But that’s not what it’s like at Fuller’s pubs,” Paul explained.
“I love being a pub manager for Fuller’s. For me, I’m given the power to make the business into what it is. I’m given the freedom to do what’s right for my business. You don’t work for a company for 15 years and not love it. I love everything about my pub.”
“I love being a pub manager for Fuller’s. For me, I’m given the power to make the business into what it is. I’m given the freedom to do what’s right for my business." - Paul Bancroft.
Visit The Old Joint Stock
The Old Joint Stock is located at 4 Temple Row West, Birmingham, West Midlands, B2 5NY. For more information visit The Old Joint Stock Pub & Theatre website.
Follow The Old Joint Stock Pub & Theatre on Facebook to keep up to date with their latest shows an special offers.
To find out more about becoming a Fuller’s pub manager, visit Fuller’s pub and hotel jobs.
Click here to find out how to run your own pub.