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My Primrose Hill: Manager of The Pembroke reveals railway history of pub

Tom Hobbs Tom Hobbs

Sunday, August 17, 2014
11:00 AM

Tom Hobbs is the manager of The Pembroke Castle pub in Gloucester Avenue, Primrose Hill, which has just reopened following refurbishment.

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What brought you to Primrose Hill?

I came to Primrose Hill about eight years ago. I had been running bars all over the country and I saw that the Pembroke Castle had a vacancy for a general manager, it was already part of the company I worked for and by sheer coincidence it was the closest pub to where my brother and his family lived, so I had actually been to it before without realising. So it was a really easy choice to move here. It is such a lovely area and being close to family tipped it for me so.

What changes have you seen in the area?

My first impression of Primrose hill was that it was just so picturesque, a real village feel in the heart of London with bustling Camden just a stone’s throw away. I think that it hasn’t really changed in my time, or maybe I have just got so comfortable in the area it just feels like home.

You have a day off to spend as you wish in the area, what do you get up to?

When I have a day off, I just like to relax. I love walking up to Primrose hill especially on a beautiful sunny day, I love to sit on the hill and read a book. Sometimes I try to find a lovely café or pub to hide away in the corner of and watch the world go by.

If you were guest editor of the Ham&High for a day, what one local issue would you most like to see reported?

I think I might sneak in a double-page feature on local pubs and great places to eat and drink in the area – but that might just be because I am biased.

If there was one thing that would help pubs survive in the area, what would it be?

Focus on the basics, which is to serve great beer and food in a comfortable and friendly environment. I really think that in this area we are lucky to have that in abundance.

What makes you smile when you walk to work?

The greatest aspect of walking to work, or walking around the area in general, is that it is just so friendly and inviting. Just going to the post office I probably stop and chat to someone two or three times. I always have a big smile when I bump into my niece and nephews.

What would you say is the area’s best kept secret?

The sheer amount of history it has. Even the Pembroke Castle features in that history, being the designated Welsh pub for the Welsh workers building the road and rail, along with its sister pubs the Edinboro Castle, Dublin Castle and formerly a Windsor Castle.

If you had to write your own epitaph, what would it say?

It would probably say “Do you know something I don’t know?”

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