Drinkers, both local and from afar, will be sad to learn that the Trafalgar in High Path, South Wimbledon, is now permanently closed. I won’t go into the full story but following a change of ownership, combined with some uncertainty over a nearby redevelopment, the pub’s operator, Rodger Molyneux, was put in the position of no longer being able to trade. The pub was still viable and, were the matter in Rodger’s hands, it would still be open. Rodger has put all of the pictures and other decorations from the pub into safe storage and hopefully we will see them again because Rodger very much hopes to be back in the trade in the same area as soon as he can. I’m sure that all former customers wish him the best of luck in this and also commiserate with him over the loss of his home.
Once a Charrington’s house, the distinctive and compact single storey building was, in some ways, a micropub long before the term was coined. Despite its size, the Traf also became well known for its live music. It first came to prominence under the management of David Norman and Karen Wood, who took over in 2004. It was CAMRA South West London’s branch Pub of the Year in 2007, 2009 and 2011, going on to be London Region Pub of the Year in 2008. Rodger took over in 2014, since when it has been branch Pub of the Year in 2015 and 2017. Recently, Rodger’s daughter, Rowan, had managed the pub on a day-to-day basis. The final event held there was the presentation of a Lockdown Hero award.
The fate of the building is not currently known but its demolition is almost inevitable. Merton Council refused an application from CAMRA South West London branch to list it as an Asset of Community Value.
I, along with my branch colleagues, had many happy nights in the Trafalgar and I will miss it enormously. One memory that remains is of the evening we adjourned there after a fundraising event at the nearby church, with several Morris sides dancing in the road outside late into the night while a certain CAMRA regional director directed the traffic.