'Let's save The Victoria pub in Highgate'

The Victoria pub in North Hill, Highgate

The Victoria pub in North Hill, Highgate - Credit: André Langlois

Highgate is still well served with long established pubs, although there used to be as many as 35. Each one has its own history along with its own character and clientele. They all help to enrich our lives, to provide places to meet informally, hold community events, pub quizzes, singalongs, and much more.

It was a sad day when this paper reported in January 2017: “The future of this 180-year-old pub in North Hill is under threat with bailiff posters slapped all over it, signalling last orders for customers... The Victoria was sold to Icon Bars in 2013, and under Mr Gill became a popular live music venue, hosting evenings such as a Kinks Collective attended by local resident Ray Davies.”

Now it stands empty and unloved. Perhaps property speculators are waiting for it to fall into disrepair, making it easier to replace this characterful building with highly profitable modern housing.

Catharine Wells, Highgate Society

Catharine Wells wants the Victoria Pub to be listed as an 'asset of community value' - Credit: Catharine Wells

So, what’s to be done?

In May this year, the Winchester Tavern in Archway Road was relisted as an asset of community value (ACV). This status formally recognises the social value to the area of a particular premises or community space, providing extra protection from development.

Lasting five years unless renewed, it allows the local community to buy the property if it is listed for sale – with a moratorium period of six months to mount a bid.

We can work together to try to gain ACV status for the Victoria. It is not a large pub but always punched above its weight. I still treasure an unforgettable performance of Under Milk Wood, given to celebrate St David’s Day, by a hugely talented group of local Welsh musicians, actors, and residents. Others reading this will have their own stories and memories of this special venue. Please share these with us.

To help preserve the Victoria, tell us why you believe it retains the capacity to be a local meeting space and valued social asset to the surrounding communities it has served over the years. Contact: highgatesociety.com/about/contact/

Catharine Wells is a council member of the Highgate Society

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