Celebs show their support for Engineer pub
�David Miliband celebrated his 40th birthday there, Lisa Snowden regularly pops in for breakfast and one of the landladies is Laurence Olivier’s daughter.
But few could have predicted that so many famous faces would turn up at The Engineer pub on Tuesday morning to vent their fury at the owners’ plans to evict the landladies – and take a bigger slice of the profits.
Tamsin Olivier, daughter of the late Laurence Olivier, and Abigail Osborne have run the Primrose Hill pub for the past 17 years, building up an enviable clientele and transforming it into one of the most highly respected gastro pubs in London.
But the owners Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) have announced that they do not wish to renew the lease with the duo when it expires in October and will run it as part of their wider franchise of 1,600 pubs.
A disappointed Ms Olivier told the Ham&High: “We’re quite successful and they’re (M&B) looking at what we’re doing and feel they could do the same. We’ve spent 17 years building up this business and our relationship with the community – and we treasure it.
“They won’t use the local community in the same way, or have the same relationship.
“It’s a locally-fed business. Our locals use us for breakfast, lunch, dinner. It’s like people’s alternative home.”
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Actor Robert Powell, who starred in Jesus of Nazareth, turned up to show his support. Abigail Osborne is the daughter of one of his oldest friends – the architect Harry Osborne – and he helped to paint it when it opened.
Mr Powell, who lives in Highgate, said: “They have turned a grotty pub into an extraordinarily well-respected, prize-winning restaurant and bar.
“The fact that any company can dismantle something like this with six months’ notice is outrageous. This is also a deeply moral issue. Squatters would have more rights than Tamsin and Abigail.”
A spokeswoman for Mitchells &Butlers said: “The Engineer is a superb pub in an unrivalled location. It remains one of the best pubs owned by us and we intend to continue running it as a unique, warm and welcoming place when the current lease expires in October this year. We have no intention of converting The Engineer to any sort of chain or branded operation.”