CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

‘We’ve taken it back for the people’: Squatters move into Constitution pub

Young's begin legal action

06 March, 2020 — By Tom Foot

Inside the Constitution pub

SQUATTERS have “taken back control of the Constitution pub for the people” after it was shut down suddenly by new owners.

Around 20 people have secured the “Con” and its popular back garden in St Pancras Way, Camden Town. Young’s brewery closed the pub and laid off its staff in February, ahead of a revamp.

The New Journal was this week invited in by the enthusiastic group to have a look at what has become of one of Camden’s best and most celebrated pubs.

One of the squatters, a man living in a covered area of the pub’s popular garden, said: “People who had known each other for 50 years had been coming here to jam and tell jokes, and have a nice time together. Sud­denly, it closed. Where do we go to? That’s why I’m back here in this garden I have loved. The closure was sudden, but not to the people who owned this place.”

Inside the Constitution pub this week, and three of the occupants

The squatters inside the pub say they have lived in several buildings around Camden for years, including 100 Avenue Road and Belgo restaurant in Chalk Farm.

A court notice has been served on the squatters who have been enjoying lots of alcohol left in the pub which has now run out. The pool table was removed before the squatters moved in.


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One of the group, called Blue, said: “It’s out of necessity. I’m going out begging to get food later. I’ve done a lot of political squatting before. I like to take homeless people off the streets and into government buildings. They say they don’t have the money to renew residential buildings, but if they took even a small portion of budget and put it into changing commercial buildings that have been empty for years into residential format – even if it’s just pods.”

“The government need homelessness. They need bums sitting around to remind people that their own lives could be worse. They could solve the homeless problem, but they don’t.”

Downstairs at The Constitution

Another squatter, PJ, said: “Squatting has opened my mind up. My mind used to be so closed, and sheltered, and riddled with mental problems. Coming into a squat community has opened my eyes up to so much responsibility. You have to learn to accept people. Some people are going to work here. Some are trying to get into work, some are trying to float in float out, doing tattoos, selling shirts and shit like that.”

A spokesman for Young’s said: “There are legal proceedings currently in place to address this [the squatters] and we intend to open the pub as originally planned in the summer following its refurbishment. We regret there has been an impact on staff due to the extended refurbishment. We will be rehiring in the summer and would encourage existing staff to apply at that time.”

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