Thursday, April 08, 2010

Death of the Deptford Arms?

Sad news that the Deptford Arms, one of the last pubs in the High Street, looks set to close. Crosswhatfields? and Deptford Dame have the lowdown, but it seems that Paddy Power are hoping to turn it into another bookies (though they have been refused planning permission to make some alterations to the outside of the building). I am not one to assume that bookmakers are the source of all evil but a high street with seven bookies (there are already six) and only one place to drink and socialise is seriously out of balance, and the pub has also been a significant music venue.

Recently it has hosted the Kit and Cutter folk club, with a gig last month by Scottish singer Alasdair Roberts and a planned May Day event with Martin Carthy - let's hope the pub at least lasts that long. Back in the 1970s, Squeeze had an early residency at the pub.

The pub has recently come under pressure from the local police, who initiated a review of the pub's license by Lewisham Licensing Committee following a police raid to close down a music event with underage drinkers in November 2009. The Committee imposed a new license condition that the pub should supply police with details of any event at least 14 days in advance.

In other local pub news, Simon Nundy - landlord of the New Cross Inn - is standing for the Tories as their candidate for Mayor of Lewisham. Funnily enough there's been a close connection between the NX Inn and the Deptford Arms - for a while they had a joint facebook group and the same promoter (Tristan Scutt). Are they owned by the same people?


Scott Wood said...

Sad news about the Deptford Arms, that Alasdare Roberts gig was great.

We got a whole tory newspaper through our door in Lewisham headlined "Lewisham Landlord Calls Time on Gordon Brown". The article didn't actually manage to say which pub he ran. Quite suprised it's the New X Inn.

Sue said...

Trans, youse the only source as one who knows Simon Noodleface is the landlord (as in manager?) since surely Declan O'Brien (he of the Deptford Arms) owns the New X Inn? Tristran & Kate have been running both as who is Simon? The plot thickeneth.

. said...

Simon Nundy's campaign website says that 'he runs the New Cross Inn'. However, I think you are right that Declan O'Brien owns both this pub and the New Cross Inn - it states so in this 2006 Lewisham Licensing Committee report. Not sure what the relationship is between Declan O'Brien and Simon Nundy is though. Maybe former owns and latter manages?

Anonymous said...

Declan O'Brien previously owned the Centurion (, happy home to My Eyes...My Eyes and Instant Music)improv) nights, he walked away from that one despite much vocal opposition...can see the Arms going the same way sadly, Clive

Robin Tudge said...

It is a sick joke to have another pub lost to the nag mafia as yet another money pit for one of London's poorest areas opens up. But where are the reams of locals up in arms about this? Why aren't they barricading themselves in?

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit late to the party here but to clear some facts up. Declan O'Brien sold The New Cross Inn about two years ago. Nundy does indeed run the New Cross Inn presently. Kate & Tristan gave up the New Cross Inn to run the Deptford Arms for Declan around four years ago and gave that up a year later to open their own boutique next door to the New Cross Inn which closed recently.

Anonymous said...

Deptford arms.. blimey what a pub! back in the 70s and early 80s it was owned/run by Ronnie French. Ronnie had respect in the area by all the petty crooks and villians. I was a regular to the pub popping down there with my mates. We knew it was going be a good night for a punch up or a good night for a decent bands to play for the likes of Squeeze and the Brilliant but not making as big as The Squeeze ...The Kraze! fronted by mates of mine Tony Tall And Steve Little. The place used to be packed out when these bands played and when tickets were in demand.. the shows would be held in the Crypt of Deptford church, the albany empire in Creek road or the Lady Vic (changed name to Tights)in Depford Broadway. Its a shame the pub is closing down i have great memories of it as a kid in the sixties when we used to climb over the wall into the pubs yard and nick a few empty beer bottles and the climb back over the wall and walk into the pub to collect the deposit back on the bottles! my mates and i did this to a few pubs in the area.. as to not arouse suspicion.. never stealing more than half a dozen bottles to take back into the pubs.

. said...

Thanks for those memories, sad to report the pub is now closed.

boxer said...

did anybody remember johnny griffin who drank in the duke early 70s who remembers the ska and reggae good old times

Michael said...

Sadly, yet another pub has closed. It used to be said that if you went in the Centurion at the top of Deptford High Street and had just a teaspoonful of beer, then kept doubling it at each pub along the High Street, you’d be well drunk by the time you had a drink in the Noah’s Ark at the bottom of the High Street.

Here is the result of doing the above in the pubs in Deptford High Street in 1905:

Start with one teaspoon (= 5 ml) and double it at each subsequent pub. Info shows amount drunk in each pub, and then the cumulative amount:

Centurion 5 ml 5 ml
Red Lion 10 ml 15 ml
Cambridge 20 ml 35 ml
Prince Regent 40 ml 75 ml
Mechanics Arms 80 ml 155 ml
Brown Bear 160 ml 315 ml
Royal Oak 1/2Pint 1 Pint
Pilot 1 Pint 2 Pints
City Arms 2 Pints 4 Pints
White Swan 4 Pints 8 Pints
Red Cow 8 Pints 16 Pints
Noah’s Ark 16 Pints 32 Pints
* 320 ml is slightly more than half a pint, but for the sake of clarity I have used round figures.

• Although the postal addresses of the two pubs on the south corner of the High Street (Centurion) and the north corner (Noah’s Ark) are not in the High Street, by general consensus they most certainly are.
• What was to become the Windsor Castle pub, 163 High Street, has not been included, as in 1905 it was a beer retailer’s and not a pub. It was known as Marshall’s, and even into the 1970s and 1980s it was still known by older locals by that name.

It is clearly much easier to complete the Deptford High Street teaspoon challenge pub-crawl today.