A PUB landlord described how a few spare mugs turned into his incredible collection of more than 1,600.

John Les Tomos runs The Oak in Hendre with his wife Zena.

When he first came to the pub in 1997 he and his wife had some spare kitchenware and thought up a novel idea to get their unused cups and mugs out of the way.

“When we came here we were still tripping over boxes,” he explained.


“We had all the mugs from our previous home and they were all to do with the Eisteddfod.

“We used to go there and get a mug every year so we had a collection.

“I had this bright idea at the time to stick them in the roof to get them out of the way.

“Then people started saying - I’ve got a mug you haven’t got, or I’ve been on holiday and I’ve got a mug for you.


“Then it just snowballed. We had a customer whose nickname was Yogi and he loved going round the car boot sales and markets.

“He’d often bring us three or four - or even half a dozen.

“A lady who used to come here for her Sunday lunches died and her son-in-law came in one day with a box. There were plates and mugs to do with churches and she had dedicated them to us.

“We even had the BT chap in one day doing some work and he said he had a mug for us, it was a Guinness one.”


The pub now features 1,666 mugs of all shapes and sizes, as well as bottles - some of which are over a century old.

There are various rows of different themes such as the Royal Family, football clubs, TV channels, chocolate brands and more.

One end of the bar is filled with mugs displaying the holiday destinations of Mr Tomos’ regulars.

He said: “There are very few places that are not represented here, we have mugs from all over the world.”


One of the first mugs bought for the pub came from New York after customer and farmer Dai Hughes ran the New York Marathon.

The 1,666th and most recent addition is a mug commemorating the Great Fire of London, which occurred in 1666.

But Mr Tomos has had all manner of special donations over the years, including an FBI mug sent from Washington DC, two personalised mugs from Germany bearing pictures of The Oak and many more.

He recently had every mug down from the ceiling to be cleaned - a task which took a staggering four days.

“I didn’t expect to get any mugs,” he said. “People love them - I think we’ll just keep collecting until I retire.”