THE BIRTHDAY BASH
Back in 1973, CAMRA in London reorganised into three branches: North & East, West and South. To commemorate this milestone, on 24 June, CAMRA’s North London branch hosted a party in the downstairs bar at the Penderel’s Oak in High Holborn. The afternoon attracted around 100 members, including a few whom we had not seen for a while and a number now living out of London. We all enjoyed the beers on offer, from Sambrook’s, Windsor & Eton and Portobello breweries, along with the free raffle which offered almost £300 worth of prizes donated by London breweries.
The pub reported that almost 400 pints of ale were bought and members used over 200 CAMRA vouchers. Shift leader Vladimira Binova said, “We were delighted that CAMRA members chose our pub for this special event. The London beers served on the day proved extremely popular.” With thanks to Gillian Evans and Wetherspoons News for the photo.
GREATER LONDON CLUB OF THE YEAR
Congratulations to the Leyton Orient Supporters Club, CAMRA’s East London & City branch’s perennial Club of the Year, because the club has, once again, gone on to be voted CAMRA’s Greater London Club of the Year for 2023. They now go forward into the final sixteen. The eventual winner will be announced in January 2024. The club’s full address is the Breyer Group Stadium, Oliver Road, Leyton E10 5NF. This volunteer run club has restricted opening hours organised around home fixtures and it often stages brewery takeovers and beer festivals. You are advised to check before visiting (https://www.orientsupporters.org).
SAVED ISLINGTON PUB WINS PUB OF THE SEASON AWARD
LLast summer, the Compton Arms in Islington looked like it might lose its licence. After a feisty campaign led by locals, and supported by CAMRA, the pub’s licence was retained with minor changes and it has now been recognised by CAMRA’s North London Branch with their Summer Pub of the Season award.
Branch chair Colin Coyne said, “We are delighted to celebrate the success of the 2022 campaign to fight the changes wanted by a handful of residents and to make this award to the team at the Compton Arms for running such a great pub. It is not for nothing that this pub inspired George Orwell’s Perfect Pub essay.” Colin continued, “George Orwell described his perfect pub as somewhere the clientele go for conversation as much as for the beer. And he also said ‘If you are asked why you favour a particular public house, it would seem natural to put the beer first, but the thing that most appeals to me about the Moon Under Water is what people call its ‘atmosphere’. I think we all agree that the Compton Arms has that in spades. It truly is a local landmark and long may it stay that way.“
The Compton Arms is a small, attractive cottage style building in a narrow side street dating from the 18th century. The main part of the pub is a narrow and bare boarded, with bottle glass panelled windows to the street. To the rear of the bar is a smaller dining area and there is also a lower lounge area that leads to a pleasant patio courtyard. The pub is independently owned by Nick Stephens, (Locals Club Ltd) who also operates the Gun in Homerton.
The photo shows Colin handing the award to Tom, the assistant manager, who said, “We’d like to thank the North London branch of CAMRA for this award and the recognition it brings to the pub.” The full address is 4 Compton Avenue, Canonbury N1 2XD.
ALL ABOARD THE EPPING ONGAR ALE-WAY
The weekend of 19 to 21 July saw the Epping Ongar Railway host a CAMRA beer festival again for the first time since 2019. Despite some downpours on the Saturday, over the three days around 1,200 people visited the event. The Beer of the Festival was Quadrant Oatmeal Stout (5.8% ABV) from the East London Brewing Co and more than £500 was donated by visitors to the festival charity, St Clare’s Hospice in Harlow.
Huge thanks are due to the team of over 50 event volunteers, alongside those who operated the trains and buses that make the occasion so special. Planning has already started for the 2024 festival; keep an eye out for the dates in due course!
NORWICH BEER FESTIVAL
I know that this event is a particular favourite with many readers. There were rumours that the usual venue, the Blackfriars’ and St Andrew’s Halls, would not be available this year but, happily, this is not so. The festival will go ahead as usual, for the 45th time, from Monday 23 to Saturday 28 October. Festival organiser Craig Harmer, from CAMRA’s Norwich & District branch, said, “We are delighted to be returning for another year to the halls and hope this will be a record-breaking year for attendance, with plenty of new and familiar faces. We especially appreciate those who organise groups or travel from afar to enjoy the festival.” You can buy your ticket in advance at https://norwich.camra.org.uk/festival/advance-tickets/ although it will also be possible to pay on the door. There are other social activities planned in conjunction with the festival. Details can be found on the branch website https://norwich.camra.org.uk/socials/.
CAMRA IS MOVING!
After more years than many of us care to remember, the CAMRA office is leaving St Albans. It has long been intended that new premises would be found that were suitable for all of CAMRA’s operations, including meeting rooms and warehousing. The new premises are in Dallow Road, Luton and the move should happen between late spring and early summer 2024, once the building has been fitted out.