Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Save Our Historic Pubs; New Brown Plaques for the Taverns That Have a Story to Tell

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Save Our Historic Pubs; New Brown Plaques for the Taverns That Have a Story to Tell

Article excerpt

Byline: JONATHAN WYNNE-JONES

A CAMPAIGN was launched today to save some of London's most historic pubs from being turned into offices and restaurants.

Over the last century, only one in 20 pubs in the capital has survived in its original state, with most either destroyed in the Second World War or more recently bought up by businesses.

The Campaign for Real Ale is launching its nationwide project amid growing fears that the future of some of the capital's most culturally significant pubs is under threat from developers and vandals.

Over the coming week, two historic London pubs will receive plaques designating them "Britain's Pubs in Time", with another 10 shortlisted for the next round of awards later in the year.

The Clissold Arms in Muswell Hill is being recognised for staging the first performance by Ray and Dave Davies of the Kinks.

The other recipient, the Town of Ramsgate in Wapping, where Judge Jeffries - notorious for sentencing hundreds of people to death in the 17th century - was caught and taken to the Tower of London.

Simon Davies, a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics, who is behind the initiative, said: "Many pubs don't realise what they're a part of.

Every pub has a great story to tell.

"When we saw the scale of the destruction, we saw that part of that national narrative was being lost forever. Future generations won't know what it's like to stand in this environment where great literary minds met, political decisions were taken and rock stars made their names." The transformation of the Marquee club on Wardour Street, where Led Zeppelin had their first booking, into another Conran restaurant is one of many losses bemoaned by Mr Davies.

The Roebuck in King's Road was where Johnny Rotten auditioned in front of Malcolm McLaren to join the Sex Pistols. It has been turned into a restaurant.

While the blue plaques introduced by English Heritage to celebrate great figures of the past have become a familiar feature of the London street scene, Camra is hoping the brown plaques will create "a national heritage trail around pubs", convincing developers to see them as more than mere buildings. …

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