Famous Ruth Ellis murder pub The Magdala shuts its doors

The Magdala. Picture: Polly Hancock

The Magdala. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

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: PA

Ruth Ellis July 12 1955 Photo: PA - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima

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.”

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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.