Search

Couple to say tearful goodbye to regulars like Liz Hurley and Tom Hardy after 30 years of running Highgate pub

09:00 17 February 2014

Pat and Val ,Tenants of Winchester pub in Archway Road, Highgate are leaving in March after 30 years of being at the heart of the community. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Pat and Val ,Tenants of Winchester pub in Archway Road, Highgate are leaving in March after 30 years of being at the heart of the community. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

A couple who have run a Highgate pub for more than 30 years – welcoming stars like Tom Hardy and Liz Hurley through its doors – are to bid a tearful farewell at the end of next month.

Pat and Val Collins will call last orders at the Winchester pub and hotel in Archway Road for the final time in March before they move to Ireland, where Mrs Collins grew up.

In 32 years running the much-loved pub, they have served drinks to the likes of Liz Hurley, Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden, actor Martin Clunes and The Dark Knight Rises star Tom Hardy, when he was just a budding actor.

Mr and Mrs Collins, who were at the heart of a campaign to stop Archway Road becoming a six-lane motorway in the 1980s and 1990s, called the Winchester “more of a community centre than a pub”.

The couple, who were married at St Joseph’s Church in Highgate Hill in 1990, said they will miss their regulars when they swap Highgate for Kildare, and were in no doubt of many tears being shed at a farewell party planned for March.

Of their reasons for quitting the pub, Mrs Collins, 45, said: “I think we’ve done enough. When you’ve done something for as long as we have, you’ve given it enough.

“My mum lives with us, she’s 83, and it’s getting to the stage where it’s important for her to be near family and for us to be near family too.

“And to have some quality of life too. We’ve been living in a fish bowl for the last 30 years, so it will be nice to have a normal life and to have some quality time.”

The pub has been bought by developers, not a pub company.

Though Mrs Collins said she was happy to let the new owners do what they liked with the building, she hopes the developers will keep it as a pub as she would like to enjoy a drink there in years to come.

Mr Collins, 55, who grew up in York Way, King’s Cross, and attended the now-closed Richard of Chichester Roman Catholic School in Royal College Street, Kentish Town, said one of the most memorable moments in the pub’s history was the night when their Labrador Kelly saved the building – and them – from burning to the ground.

“The carpet was smouldering,” he said. “The dog came downstairs and I saw him looking at something in the corner and barking. There was no-one there so I turned off the lights and went upstairs. Kelly started to scratch at the door, which woke me.

“She went downstairs and started barking at the stage area and then I could see that the stage was glowing and the carpet was smouldering.

“If it wasn’t for the dog, the whole place might not be here today.”

0 comments

Latest News Stories

08:00
James Nelson celebrated his 100th birthday at the Henderson Court Resource Centre. Picture: Nigel Sutton

An award-winning scientist who invented scientific instruments at his Belsize Park firm has died aged 101.

Yesterday, 12:30
Tessa Walker with her award. Picture: Paul Starr

A Whittington Hospital nurse has been recognised at the Young Epilepsy Champions Awards.

Yesterday, 08:00
Peter Barber, Head of Map Collections, British Library

Historian Peter Barber OBE is head of maps at the British Library and has lived in or near Highgate nearly all his life. The 66-year-old, now of Crouch End, sits on the council at Lauderdale House and has documented its history in 1993 tome, Lauderdale Revealed

Fri, 17:46
Mike Freer. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

With just under three weeks left until the general election, Conservative Mike Freer is locked in a fierce battle with Labour’s Sarah Sackman for re-election as Finchley and Golders Green MP. Tim Lamden caught up with Mr Freer ahead of the May 7 election.

Most read news

Property Newsletter Sign-up

The latest North London property news and features straight into your inbox.

Other Emails:
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Glen Moray whiskey could be winging its way to you.

The Glen Moray Classic is a classic Speyside single malt and forms the starting point for the Classic Range.

Seasons 1-4 on Blu-ray, as well as a shiny new Sony Blu-ray player could be coming your way!

To celebrate the fifth series of George RR Martin and HBO’s epic fantasy Game of Thrones, Ladbrokes is giving away a series one to four Blu-ray box set along with a Sony Blu-ray player to one lucky winner!

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder