Pub News – January 2024

• Sorry! In the WhatPub Update column in the last edition, we said that there was ‘still no real ale’ in the Jam Circus. This was wrong. The pub, which is operated by the Antic Collective, has two regular beers from Volden (Session and Pale) plus up to six guests. We have apologised to Antic accordingly. The entry on WhatPub itself has always been correct. Some clarification may help here. The pub, at 120-122 Deptford High Street, was previously named the Job Centre. The Jam Circus was originally what has become the Crofton Park Tavern. After Antic disposed of that property they transferred the name to the Deptford site. (WhatPub Compiler’s note: There was no real ale on when I last visited the pub in Autumn 2021. As the WhatPub update process showed no change in real ale status I made an erroneous assumption based on that visit rather than double checking).

• Back in June (but missed at the time), the Portobello Pub Company acquired the freehold of the Catford Bridge Tavern (SE6 4RE). This substantial piece of Brewer’s Tudor survived a serious fire in 2015. Happily, Portobello have reinstated cask beer, the previous owners having removed the handpumps in 2021.

• The December CAMRA Pub Heritage Bulletin reports that the Cauliflower in Ilford is likely to reopen this year following a serious fire in 2018. The pub, a classic ‘gin palace’ dating from 1900, is Grade II-listed and rates two stars on CAMRA’s register of heritage pubs. Unfortunately, a planning application approved last October will create a very different pub. The second and third floors are being converted into five flats, with the addition of side extensions. The basement is set to become a members’ club and, although the bar will remain, it is understood that it will be food oriented. A further application has been submitted to develop the car park. As far as can be ascertained, the name is now unique. There was also a Cauliflower not too far away in Rainham, but this was converted into a restaurant some time ago.

The Cauliflower in Ilford

• After a substantial refurbishment, Young’s will be reopening the Constitution in Camden Town in February. The pub will now operate across three floors including a rooftop terrace at first floor level with views over the Regent’s Canal. There will also be a garden area. The food offering will focus on seasonal British produce from local suppliers. It will still host events such as live music, comedy and quiz nights. The pub, which dates from 1858, is said to be the last remaining building from the Agar Town district, a short-lived working-class community that disappeared with the construction of St Pancras station.

• Further to the report in the previous edition, the situation regarding the Duke of York in Fitzrovia has changed. Although the first planning application was withdrawn when owners Shaftesbury Capital announced their decision to sell their Fitzrovia property portfolio, they have now submitted another one. Although this application only covers the second and third floors, thus leaving the first floor function room in place, this sort of ‘Trojan horse’ development is still unwelcome and CAMRA’s West London branch will be objecting accordingly.

• Sadly, the Hand in Hand on Wimbledon Common was struck by Storm Henk with the glorious horse chestnut tree that stood in the corner of the front patio being uprooted. Fortunately no one was hurt and the pub was not damaged. It does however now look quite different.

Photo taken before the recent uprooting

• A new operator has applied for a licence for the Lady Hamilton in Kentish Town, which closed last August. The pub, originally called the Star and Garter, dates from 1885. Interestingly, the application comes from a company called Kenilworth Hospitality LLC that is registered in New Jersey, USA.

• We can confirm that, as previewed a while back, the Leyton Technical (E10 5QN) has been acquired by the Remarkable Pubs group. The Grade II-listed former town hall, dating from 1895, will reopen as the Leyton Engineer in the not too distant future. Delays are the result of having to apply for Listed Building Consent.

• The Tattenham Corner at Epsom Downs, overlooking the race course, has been acquired by Young’s from Whitbread, who still operate the Beefeater chain. The site has been closed for refurbishment. This is a very large pub with a garden and car park. Young’s chief executive, Simon Dodd, said, “As Young’s continues to expand its presence in the home counties, Tattenham Corner offers a great opportunity for growth as an established site in an affluent area where we are yet to make our mark.” Young’s intend to offer jobs to the existing staff.

• The Grade II-listed Washington in Belsize Park, which dates from 1865 and rates three stars on CAMRA’s register of historic pub interiors, reopened in December after refurbishment. Additional seating has been created by the relocation of the gents’ toilet. The pub’s Victorian woodwork, cut and etched glass, painted mirrors and stucco ceiling have all been retained but part of the original counter has been replaced with a marble slab. Note the mosaic on the floor of the entrance saying ‘Washington Hotel and Billiards’.

• This edition’s cover photo is of the Wellington in the Strand. The pub is part of the Nicholson’s (Mitchells & Butlers) chain and reopened in November after an extensive refurbishment. The pub dates from 1903 and retains its neo-gothic interior with a sculpted ceiling on the ground floor, stained glass windows and an original marble fireplace. With thanks to Nicholson’s for the photo.

• Finally, having mentioned Wellington, here is news of Waterloo, the station that is, not the battle. Although they already have a large site there, called the Sidings, BrewDog are opening a second outlet on the main concourse which they describe as a ‘modern take on the traditional commuter pub’. J D Wetherspoons are also getting in on the act with a large outlet called the Lion & Unicorn, which will be right next to the Sidings. There are also three other bars of various sorts already open or coming shortly and of course, still some decent pubs nearby, such as the Hole in the Wall and the Wellington.