Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Save the Ivy House!

Sad news that the Ivy House pub off Peckham Rye (Stuart Road SE15) looks set to close. As posted on South East Central today:

'Yes, the rumours are true. This Sunday (April 22nd) will be our last day of trading. The gorgeous, lovely people at Enterprise Inns have finally managed to sell The Ivy House and are kicking us out in a stylish and classy last-minute way. On Monday one of South London's most iconic venues will be boarded up.  As far as we know it's been sold to developers and will never re-open as a pub again.

We're obviously gutted, after just 10 months we were really starting to turn this place into a popular and lively pub and venue. Lots of great stuff was already booked in for the next few months, all now sadly cancelled... Our final 5 days:

Wed - Hankdog's Easycome Acoustic Club
Thurs - Silent Film Night - Nosferatu (1922), with live accompaniment from musical genius Igor Outkine
Fri - Private party in the ballroom, front bar open as usual
Sat - Comedy Club - Scott Capurro, Steve Best and more
Sun - Big fat leaving party

Massive thanks and love to all the people who've supported us in our time here, we've had some amazing nights and met lots of lovely new friends.  I hope you'll be able to join us for a goodbye drink before the end of the week, we plan on going out with a bang rather than a whimper - watch this space for details of our 'closing down/drink the bar dry/so what if it's a school night' party on Sunday. For those of you who'll miss the pizzas the most, get yourselves down to The Joiners Arms in Camberwell - same recipe, same chefs, same awesomeness.

Big Love,
Nick and the whole Ivy House team'.

Photo by Ewan Munro at Flickr

Ivy House and Newlands Tavern

With the recent demise of the Montague Arms in New Cross, we now look set to lose two of the best music pubs in South London.

I've had some memorable nights at the Ivy House, notably Brockley Jack Film Club's showing of Piccadilly and indie-pop lovelies The June Brides. As noted at Transpontine before, the pub has a long history as a music venue, 'particularly in its previous incarnation as the Newlands Tavern when it was a key point on the 1970s pub rock circuit in the lead up to punk. Bands that played there at this time included Eddie and the Hot Rods, Flip City (with Elvis Costello), The Kursaal Flyers, Kilburn and the High Roads (with Ian Dury), The 101ers (Joe Strummer's pre-Clash band), Dr Feelgood and Johnny Sox (with Hugh Cornwall, later of The Stranglers). According to 'No Sleep Till Canvey Island - The Great Pub Rock Revolution' by Will Birch, Graham Parker and The Rumour rehearsed and debuted there in 1975.

It's not over yet...

Some pubs die on their feet because nobody wants what they have to offer anymore, but this is not the case with The Ivy House. It's been coming along fine since its latest relaunch last year. The problem is that like many other pubs it is owned by one of a small number of corporate pub chains - in this case Enterprise Inns -  with no real commitment to pubs as local social spaces, especially if they think they can make a short term profit by selling off pubs to developers. Nunhead is what estate agents call 'up and coming', so no doubt the pub site has value as potential space for housing. Never mind the long term needs of the people in that area for places to eat, drink, be merry, dance, listen to music and watch movies.

Still the strategy of selling off pubs for housing is dependent upon Councils agreeing to give planning permission  to change the use of historic buildings like the Ivy House (an application to have the building listed is currently being considered by English Heritage). In Deptford recently, Lewisham Council refused planning permission to demolish the Lord Clyde, as reported by Deptford Misc:

'The Lord Clyde public house building has been identified by the local planning authority as an undesignated heritage asset, which has both historical value and architectural character and adds positively to the local distinctiveness of the area. Inadequate justification has been provided for the demolition of the existing building, and as such its demolition would result in an unacceptable loss of a heritage asset and consequently would result in unacceptable harm to the character and appearance of the surrounding area'.

So while sadly it looks like the present tenants of the Ivy House are facing imminent eviction, it's certainly not out of the question that the pub could be saved if enough people make a fuss.

Update, Friday 20th April - there is now a Save the Ivy House group on Facebook and Twitter. The former has picked up over 1000 members in the last two days. More importantly the digital outrage has been followed through with some real community organising, with people meeting last night at the pub to discuss what to do next.


Ewan said...

I too have some great memories of the Ivy House from when I was living in Nunhead. Used to go to the Klinker music nights, and that screening of Piccadilly you mentioned. Those were good times. Hope that it gets saved (even if I no longer live nearby).

(Also, I feel churlish pointing this out here, but please credit me when using my photos, thanks! Cheers, Ewan)

Anonymous said...

Mairzy toats
n dozy toats
n little goatsy tivy
A piggly tivy too
wouldn't you?

Ian on the Hill said...

It is disgusting. The onus is with local councils - they can preserve community pubs by refusing to allow a change use or planning permission.

. said...

@Ewan - sorry, have now credited you for photo, must admit I sourced in late at night after a drink or two and didn't note where it was from.

@anon - eh?

@Ian - yes, although the planning powers of the Council have been diluted by successive governments.

stereforth said...

As an ex licensee of The Ivyhouse (2007-09) I was sorry to hear the latest news. I have seen numerous tennants attempt to turn the pub around. When London Town Pubs took over from me (2010) it was making a profit and London Town had long term plans, which were scuppered by the parent company's cash-flow problems.The next lot (known as "the brothers") were generally regarded as a disaster.Nick and the current staff had done great to re-invigorate this splendid music venue. Sad to see all that work thrown away.
Is there a strategy to save it? I don't know. The way things are these days, I see litle chance of a reprieve.
My sympathy also for the residents in the letting rooms, some of whom are my friends and have lived there for over twelve years.
Nationally the whole pub business is slowly going. Few pubs servive now as drinking and entertainment venues in the traditional sense. Unless your set=up caters for the EDT crowd (young drinkers) or the fine diners (Paxton Crowd) it seems destined to oblivion.
Sad times.

J Mark Dodds said...

The Montague Arms is under offer... to be a pub again