Famous Ruth Ellis murder pub The Magdala shuts its doors

PUBLISHED: 17:26 12 February 2016

The Magdala. Picture: Polly Hancock

The Magdala. Picture: Polly Hancock


Hampstead’s world famous Magdala pub has closed its doors as its current landlords say they have been “unable to agree terms and conditions” on the lease with the company that owns it.

Ruth Ellis July 12 1955  Photo: PARuth Ellis July 12 1955 Photo: PA

The news comes just over a year after the watering hole, where the last woman to be hanged in Britain, Ruth Ellis, shot her boyfriend, re-opened under new management.

The news is a blow for residents and regulars who had launched a campaign to safeguard the historic pub, which is said to bear the bullet holes of the 1955 Ruth Ellis murder, after it was sold in 2014 and had it listed as an asset of community value by Camden Council in September that year.

Leaseholders Jonathan and Andrew Perritt, of Perritt & Perritt, who reopened the pub in January 2015, announced this week on the pub’s website: “The Magdala is a wonderful pub so it is with great regret that we have been unable to agree terms & conditions for a long term lease with the building owner. Our doors are closed with immediate effect. A big thank you to those that have supported & visited since we opened last year.”

David Kitchen, of the South End Green Association (SEGA), said: “The first we knew was on Tuesday night when it was all locked up and dark.

“We are very sad and disappointed, because we had great hopes for it when it reopened over a year ago after it had been shut for so long. The Perritt brothers had run it very well and there was a great prospect to make it into a very successful place again.

“The Magdala is an important piece of Hampstead’s rich history and part of the South End Green community. We held all of our Association’s meetings there.”

When Perritt & Perritt, who also run The Stag in Fleet Road, took over the lease, Jonathan Perritt, who lives in Hampstead, told the Ham&High: “We’re going to take our time and hopefully in January we will be opening a great local pub with a great drinks offer and a simple food offer.

“Hampstead is a great area, It’s been home to some great pubs over the centuries and it’s exciting to be part of that landscape.”

Mr Kitchen said regulars started to have concerns about the pub’s future as work to build a Mansard Roof extension on the top floor seemed to have been suddenly abandoned this month.

He said: “Work had started but then had been inactive for quite a few weeks with the tarpaulin covering the scaffolding damaged in the winds.”

The Magdala was bought by British Virgin Islands-based Bow Capital Ltd for £2.1million from Punch Taverns, who had owned it since 2003.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories


The Met has sought to reassure cabbies in St John’s Wood and Lisson Grove by saying it is taking “covert and non-covert” action against a gang in Lisson Grove targeting taxi drivers.


What happens when lightning strikes two of Highgate Wood’s grand old oak trees?


The Phoenix Cinema is looking for £50,000 in donations by the end of the financial year to avoid a loss, or its trustees could look to pursue a deal with the Curzon Cinema after all.

Councillors have backed neighbours’ fight against a Domino’s Pizza takeaway being built on a residential street in Camden.

Yesterday, 15:46

With Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe expecting to spend her third Christmas in Evin prison, the foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt used a visit to Iran to slam the middle-eastern nation’s imprisonment of UK dual nationals including the West Hampstead mum.

Yesterday, 15:28

Police want the public’s help to identify a man wanted over two Golders Green burglaries.

Yesterday, 12:08

Dawn Barnes will be looking to upset the odds as she has been reselected as Lib Dem candidate for the Hornsey and Wood Green seat.

Yesterday, 10:23

Eastenders actor and Celebrity Masterchef winner John Partridge will be switching on the Archway Christmas lights.


Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now