Monday, May 23, 2011

Pubs Living and Dying

Pubs are too good an idea to die out, and recently we have seen two iconic South London hostelries refurbished and re-opened: the New Cross House (ex-Goldsmiths Tavern) and the Thomas a Becket on the Old Kent Road (opposite Tescos on corner of Albany Road). I haven't been into the latter yet, but looks good from the outside.

Plenty of places seem to be thriving, for instance I had a drink in the Elephant and Castle last week - the successor to the pub that gave that area its name is not much to look at from the outside, but it has a good atmosphere and plenty of people were enjoying its Thai food as well as the beer.

Elsewhere though, pubs continue to close. On Walworth Road both the Temple Bar and the Beaten Path have closed recently.

If pubs are closing, other businesses seem to be doing fine in the economic downturn. Next to the Beaten Path is Payday Loans, Temple Bar is rumoured to be in line to be replaced by a Poundland store. Legal loan sharks, pawn shops, pound shops, betting shops -the spreading retail architecture of poverty and hopelessness in the less affluent high streets of South London.

Meanwhile elsewhere in Walworth, the Crown on Brandon Street has closed after 130 years. Local campaigners are concerned that having failed to secure planning permission to turn it into flats, the owners - Terramek Ltd - might consider demolishing it to make way for new build housing.

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