Search

Heritage: The Clifton in St John’s Wood gets new lease of life

PUBLISHED: 07:54 22 April 2017 | UPDATED: 07:22 16 June 2017

It will be a relief to many that a watering hole in St John’s Wood dating back more than 200 years will stand to serve another pint on May 2.

The Clifton in Clifton Hill is being given a new lease of life by Hampstead born brothers Ben and Ed Robson who are steering the pub while minding its rich historical importance to many in the area.

Ben said: “We looked into the pub before we got the lease. It pub dates back to 1820 – 1850 on a council demographic map and there are two versions of its history. It’s wasn’t a pub originally, it was a house which someone applied for an inn keeper licence.

“I’ve also been told it used to be an old hunting lodge which became an inn – maybe it’s a little bit of both.”

Christine Cowdray of the St John’s Wood Society said: “The Clifton pub was built in 1846 on a 99 year lease granted to Mr Thomas Barnett.”

“The Clifton was initially a hunting lodge until the merchant owner obtained an ale license and it became a pub.”

In Bertie: A Life of Edward V11 Professor Jane Ridley explains the area was popular with wealthy men who would bring their mistresses.

Christine added: “Edward V11 conducted his affair with actress Lillie Langtry at the Clifton after they met at a Mayfair dinner party in 1877.

“As royalty was not permitted to frequent pubs, the King had the pub’s name changed to The Clifton Hotel and it has remained so ever since although locally it is referred to simply as The Clifton.”

In St John’s Memories, a website dedicated to the history of the area, Louise Brodie, tells of her interviews with residents of Clifton Hill.

Of Allen Lydon, who moved from Ireland to Kilburn with his family in the 1950’s she said: “Allen remembers the Clifton pub, where all generations were welcome. There were many characters who met there, artists, musicians, manual labourers, gays, eccentrics.

“They closed at 2pm and again at 11pm, so you knew when to find people there. Many people, such as construction workers, got paid in the pub on a Friday night. Allen feels that there is less atmosphere with pubs open all day now.”

The atmosphere did change, and not in the most positive of ways.

In 2002 local residents set up the Clifton Hill and Springfield Road Residents Association to counter the rise in crime and antisocial behaviour in the area which they largely attributed to the pub.

The Clifton Hotel was bought by a foreign investor in December 2013 and closed without warning just days before Christmas – which led to a showdown between rival camps. Those that wanted a pub and those that didn’t.

Campaigners came out in force to protect the pub, which was listed as an Asset of Community Value in 2015, while local residents battled for peace and quiet.

Last March objectors to a new licence wrote to Westminster saying: “The local residents breathed a sigh of relief when the previous premises (The Clifton) finally shut its doors for good in December 2013.

Prior to the closure, there had been regular occurrences of crime and disorder with abusive language from revelers[sic], urination and vomiting in the street and residents’ cars being vandalised. There have also been occasions where single women, walking alone at night, have felt threatened by the abusive and disorderly conduct of patrons.”

Last summer the Robson brothers bought the lease for 20 years bringing with them a wealth of experience and bags of ideas from managing the Horseshoe Pub in Hampstead together.

They are retaining original features such as fireplaces and wood panelling that are synonymous with this traditional pub and serving up hearty meals.

St John’s Wood historical watering hole saved.

For more information go to the cliftonnw8.com

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

48 minutes ago

A fire engine was left marooned for nine hours at East Finchley Allotment, home to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s vegetable patch, after it responded to a fire on Thursday morning.

17:00

The chief executive of a secular pressure group has backed under-fire inner north London senior coroner Mary Hassell, saying “religion shouldn’t be a trump card.”

16:17

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is in jail because of an argument between Britain and Iran, campaigners claim.

10:12

There will be no police dogs patrolling Hampstead Heath following a cost-cutting exercise, the Ham&High can reveal.

An open letter to His Excellency Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei from supporter of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, Jessica Learmond-Criqui.

Time is a precious commodity for politicians and there never seems to be enough of it.

Yesterday, 16:43

The victims of Tuesday night’s stabbings have been named as 17-year-old Abdikarim Hassan, and 20-year-old Sadiq Adan Mohamed.

Yesterday, 15:27

A mother of three with cancer forced to sell the family home to pay for treatment abroad has called for the life-saving therapy to be made available on the NHS.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Melange, with locations in Barnet and Crouch End, has opened a third in Belsize Park. Here co-owner Justina Markauskaite talks about removing the borders between cuisines and why they put family at the centre of everything they do

Less is More, a group exhibition at the Daniel Raphael Gallery will feature emerging artists from England, Italy, France and the Czech Republic, from January 24 to February 16.

For people who suffer with feet problems, it is often difficult to find footwear that is both comfortable and stylish. There is a shop in the West End dedicated to changing that.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now