Skip to content

Sheffield Licensees Receive Prestigious Long Service Award

The licensees of one of Sheffield’s oldest and most iconic pubs – Fagans on Broad Street – have received a prestigious long-service award in recognition of more than 35 years at the helm.


Sheffield born-and-bred Tom Boulding and his wife Barbara – who hales from Barnsley – took over the pub in 1985 when it was called The Barrel. The couple renamed it Fagans after its local nickname and in honour of the previous landlord  -Joe Fagan - who ran the pub from 1947. The award from the building’s owners, Star Pubs & Bars, highlights the contribution the Bouldings have made to Sheffield life during their time at the pub.


The historic local dates back to the late 1700s and is believed to be the longest-licensed pub in Sheffield*. One of the last traditional pubs in the city centre, Fagans is known for its Irish heritage, cask ale and legendary Guinness, good conversation, and live music sessions, which are open to musicians five nights a week.


Whilst Tom and Barbara have introduced food, hand-pulled beers and two popular weekly quizzes, little else has changed inside the pub since its last major refurbishment in 1953. A good number of Tom and Barbara’s regulars are unchanged too, and the couple are now serving their third generation of some Sheffield families.


The biggest alteration to the outside of Fagans came in 2013, when renowned Sheffield artist Peter McKee painted his first-ever mural – The Snog – on the pub’s exterior. The artwork has further boosted Fagans’ status as a city landmark.


Says Tom: “Walking into Fagans is like stepping back in time. It’s a proper old-fashioned pub. That’s why we wanted it. We loved it just as it was when we first saw it, and we still do. The area around has transformed out of all recognition since the mid-eighties. The factories and offices have gone and we’re surrounded by new buildings, but Fagans remains the same.”


Despite the lack of changes, Fagans has stood the test of time. The walls of its acoustically-superb music room are adorned with pictures of musicians - such as Richard Hawley and Jools Holland - who have played at Fagans over the years, and music lovers travel from far and wide to the pub. It is a destination for many visitors to the city, attracts regulars from across Sheffield and is popular with pub goers of all ages, from students to its eldest customer, who is aged 103.


Adds Tom: “It’s fantastic to be paid for doing a job you love. Many of our customers have become great friends. Running Fagans is like having a party in our house every night; the only difference is that the guests buy their own beer!”


The public’s appreciation for Fagans shone through during the pandemic. The Bouldings were inundated with offers of financial support when the first lockdown came. Comments Barbara: “We were astonished and very touched; it showed just how much Fagans means to people. Fortunately, we didn’t need to take a penny, as we had first-class rent support from Star Pubs & Bars, which kept the pub afloat.”


Says Star Pubs & Bars’ area manager Anthony Lowther-Knowles: “It’s a great honour to present this award to Tom and Barbara. They put their hearts and souls into Fagans, and have retained all its wonderful quirkiness, friendliness and character. It’s all credit to them that Fagans is still thriving and is such a well-loved Sheffield institution."