A historic former pub in Sheffield was left badly pock-marked after a darts board was hung from prized oak panelling, it has emerged.
Carbrook Hall in Attercliffe, which is one of the city's oldest buildings, is being restored ahead of its conversion into a drive-thru Starbucks cafe.
The building’s owner Sean Fogg says experts working on the Grade II*-listed premises were horrified to find intricately carved panelling in the opulent Oak Room riddled with holes left by stray darts.
He claimed the discovery showed how the former occupants and owners had failed to adequately preserve what he described as one of Sheffield’s greatest architectural treasures.
Mr Fogg, of West Street Leisure, said the panelling was being painstakingly repaired as part of efforts to restore the building to its former glory, the cost of which had soared from the initial £455,000 budgeted to an estimated £625,000.
“There was a darts board pinned to the ornate panelling in what was the grand hall dating back hundreds of years, which is disgraceful,” he said.
“The area around the board was badly perforated where drunken players had missed the board completely, and we’ve had to repair the extensive damage.
“We've also had to clean years of grime from the ceiling caused by beer and cigarette smoke. I firmly believe it was sacrilegious to allow it to become a pub, given how it was treated over the years.”
Mr Fogg had come in for criticism from some heritage campaigners after the building was damaged in an arson attack last year, leading him to step up security at the site.
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He said the restoration was going well and he hoped to be able to hand over the site to Starbucks next month, with the cafe expected to open this summer.
Some 600 tonnes of tarmac had been removed from the grounds, he said, allowing the building to breathe; the original stonework had been exposed; and an old suit of armour had been lovingly restored, ready to go on display.
“We've worked closely with the council and conservation people, who’ve been fantastic, to make sure we get this right and restore this fantastic building for the public to appreciate," he added.
Carbrook Hall dates back to the 12th century, though the oldest surviving part is believed to have been built in around 1620, and it is where Parliamentarians met before the siege of Sheffield Castle in 1644.
The building, on Attercliffe Common, close to Valley Centertainment, is also reputed to be one of Yorkshire’s most-haunted places.