Good Sunday evening to you wherever you may be reading and I hope that your weekend went well, in fact I hope that it went very well, the sort of well you feel when you find a few notes of cash in the pocket of something you haven’t worn in a long time. I love that feeling, it’s like robbing yourself with no victims – just free found money.
Over the years on the blog I’ve found myself lamenting the closure of music venues and pubs, record shops and other spots that I think are a crucial part of our collective musical heritage. It seems that the vast majority of the time greed and ‘progress’ win out and another building filled with irreplaceable memories is turned into dust to build new flats or more shoebox retail or coffee shops. Therefore it’s pleasing to sometimes report that the odds are defeated such as the famed 100 Club in London’s Oxford Street surviving what looked like imminent closure when I wrote about it fairly recently.
A less celebrated but still Clash related venue earlier looked doomed in South London and I wrote about The Ivy House back on January 24 of this year. The locally famous and historically significant pub hosted Joe Strummer when he was with the 101′ers, Dr. Feelgood and Elvis Costello along with many others. Great news then that the pub is the first to be saved in the UK under the auspices of a new law that allows residents to demonstrate that the building is vital to the community. The building which holds Grade II-listed status looked almost certain to face the axe when the owners placed it on the market a year ago, a property developer purchased the building for close to £500,000 in October and later placed it back on the market with the intention of a conversion to flats at a significantly higher price.
As I mentioned in the previous post local residents formed an active group that used the Localism Act to put pressure on Southwark council to protect the pub from closure. Under the law residents can cite to the local governing body that the building merits being listed as an ‘asset of community value’ which halts any plans to change the property and allows local groups the opportunity to purchase the site. According to the London Evening Standard:
“Southwark subsequently have approved the application and last weekend The Ivy House Community Pub Limited, formed by the campaign group, completed its £810,000 purchase of The Ivy House with the help of a £500,000 loan from the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) and another grant. The group has launched a community share issue scheme under which people can invest anything from £200 to £20,000 to help reopen and run the pub as a going concern”
It’s great news in terms of holding onto musical heritage but also keeps alive an important part of the community. Another location to add to my (still to be written) Clash Blog guide to the world! I do hope that the end result is as positive as it now appears it may be, but I can’t help wondering how many other important buildings might have been saved if this law was already on the books. You might find interesting this interview with Paul Heaton (ex Housemartins/The Beautiful South) about the struggles being faced by British pubs throughout the land. My sincere apologies that it’s in the Daily Star.
The only other thing this morning is a huge thank you – I made a commitment to writing more often this year and so far the blog(s) have received a 12% increase in traffic over the first 3 months of last year, especially from countries outside the top 3 (US/UK/Canada) so thank you so much for reading, commenting and sharing. It’s nice to know the audience keeps growing, in fact March saw the most visits in the last fifteen months which was excellent. Thank you.
I’ll be back with more soon, don’t forget to enter the competition from the last post if you haven’t already done so and keep an eye on the sister site for more updates too.