CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Pubs matter, they serve the local communities

20 September, 2019

The former White Bear landlord Jonathan Marchant-Heatley

• I WAS sickened and saddened when I read your report about the eviction of the White Bear publican and the gentrification that will follow, (Former Farringdon publican: ‘Working people priced out of area – and out of pint’ , September 13).

This confirms my view that certain landowners and developers are causing more damage than the Great Fire of London.

Sadly I never had the privilege of tasting a cask ale at the White Bear, but I can readily relate to this story; and if the new licensees are preoccupied with lager and craft ales then I’ve lost my chance.

Developers like to pretend that there is no difference between a pub and a trendy bar. All they see is a bar counter and a till and they just measure the value of the real estate.

To the average bar manager a bar is just a place of work, but to a publican the pub is a home and it serves as a hub of the community. (Assuming, of course, that the community itself hasn’t been socially cleansed from its base.)

This story is not unique in London but it is an unfortunate milestone for Farringdon because it is the final nail in the coffin for family-run pubs and the area will never be the same again.

On this occasion it seems that the developers have acted ruthlessly but they haven’t broken any rules.

This is in contrast to the disgraceful behaviour of Mendoza Limited and their agents who destroyed the Carpenters Arms in King’s Cross and converted it to a trendy cocktail bar, (Carpenters campaigners drink to a ‘moral victory’, October 5, 2018).

Regular readers of the Tribune will remember how the publican was evicted to make way for an illegal conversion. The agents even tried to claim they were doing King’s Cross a favour by reflecting the “new affluence” of the area.

To add insult to injury the developers have escaped any form of punishment and cocktail consumers remain blissfully unaware that they have helped to displace their immediate neighbours.

It’s quite depressing to imagine what London will look and feel like in 10 years’ time if these trends continue.

But at least I can feel assured that some of these property developers will find it very overcrowded in Hell as they compete with each other for the least worst location.

IAN SHACKLOCK
Monsell Road, N4

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