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Fight to save iconic Hoxton pub begins

14:04 27 September 2010

Tessa Norton (brown coat) and Sian Murphy outside the Wenlock Arms

Tessa Norton (brown coat) and Sian Murphy outside the Wenlock Arms

Archant

Award winning boozer up for sale with locals fearing property developers ready to pounce.

TWO regulars at an iconic real ale pubs have started a campaign to save it from the wrecking ball.

The multiple-award winning Wenlock Arms, in Wenlock Road, Hoxton, is on the verge of being sold by owners Steve Barnes and Will Williams, who have presided over 16 years of unrivalled success.

Property developers are believed to be circling and charity worker Tessa Norton and teacher Sian Murphy are so heartbroken at the thought of losing their local they have taken up the fight.

Ms Norton, 29, who works for a community development charity off Goswell Road, Finsbury, said: “Community development is all about people power and I love this pub with all my stupid heart. So when the bar staff told us it was probably going to be demolished we had to do something.

“The current owners have done such an amazing jobs that no-one would begrudge them retiring, but we want whoever buys it to realise just how special it is.

“If it stops being a pub, if it’s knocked down, or if offices are built, it can never go back. That site that’s been a pub since 1835, survived the Blitz, survived 80s dereliction - will never exist again. All that history, that community, will just end.”

Tessa and Sian have started a blog where they post pictures and memories, set up a facebook page and are using twitter to get as many people as possible involved in the campaign. And last week they had a meeting with representatives from the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra).

John Cryne, chairman, North London Camra, said: “The Wenlock Arms is among the ten best Real Ale pubs in the capital and is a four time Camra North London pub of the year winner.

“The current owners bought it 16 years ago as a run down back street boozer and transformed it into an iconic real ale pub. They led from the front and began selling ales and ciders at a time when they were not that fashionable.”

Current co-owner Steve Barnes said: “The pub will probably go on the market this week and of course we would much prefer whoever buys it to keep it as a pub.

“We can’t really control that but I can say that some recent events have made it more likely it will stay as a pub than it was looking at one stage.”

- To share your memories and photos of the Wenlock Arms go to http://savethewenlock.blogspot.com

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