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Campaign to save Hampstead pub makes New York Times front page

16:59 21 February 2014

Campaigners dress up to save the Old White Bear in Well Road. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Campaigners dress up to save the Old White Bear in Well Road. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

A grass roots campaign to save one of Hampstead’s oldest pubs has made the front page of America’s most illustrious newspaper.

Thousands backed the fight to save The Old White Bear, including comedian Ricky Gervais and TV presenter Caroline Flack, but it was still a surprise to learn that the news has spread to the US.

The New York Times ran the story about the threat to the 300-year-old watering hole, in Well Road, on the front page on Monday and the story even made its way into the Russian paper, RBK Daily.

Heathman’s Russian is a little rusty, but the NYT piece highlighted Bear as an example of the UK’s declining pub trade, which has seen 7,000 close since 2008.

“One by one, pubs are disappearing in Hampstead,” the article began, under the heading “Saving an Endangered British Species: The Pub”.

The Old White Bear itself is not looking quite so endangered after Camden Council blocked plans to turn it into a home.

The Campaign for Real Ale’s John Cryne believes our pubs are a major draw for tourists – and that their loss is a global concern. “It would be like us reading that the Grand Canyon is closing,” he said.

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