The pub that survived the Blitz AND the bulldozer: London boozer reopens after being rebuilt ‘brick-by-brick’ following illegal demolition for flats – giving hope to other bars under threat
- Carlton Tavern in Maida Vale, West London, set to reopen next month on April 12
- It comes six years after the developers were ordered to rebuild it ‘brick by brick’
- Pub was being considered for Grade II-listed status when demolished in 2015
- 5,000 campaigners urged council to act which then ordered owner to rebuild it
Built more than a century ago, it’s an historic pub that survived the Blitz and even being bulldozed when campaigners identified a major planning permission error.
And now the Carlton Tavern in Maida Vale, West London, is set to reopen next month – six years after the developers were sensationally told to rebuild it ‘brick by brick’.
The pub was being considered for Grade II-listed status by English Heritage when it was demolished in 2015 without the appropriate planning permission in place.
More than 5,000 campaigners then urged Westminster Council to act, and chiefs ordered Israeli property developer CTLX who owned it to rebuild the whole thing.
The Carlton Tavern in Maida Vale, West London, is set to reopen next month after the rebuild
The interior of the pub has been recreated along with the rest of the building in a huge project
The outdoor area of the pub is set to reopen on April 12 when outdoor hospitality returns
Now the Carlton Tavern’s outdoor area is set to reopen on April 12 when coronavirus lockdown restrictions are due to be partially lifted for the hospitality industry.
New leaseholders Tom Rees and Ben Martin are behind the relaunch with the pub set to stock London craft ales from the likes of Camden Town Brewery and Five Points.
101-year history of the Carlton Tavern
- 1920: Carlton Tavern is built
- 1940s: Only building left standing on Carlton Vale after Nazi bombing raid
- January 2015: Westminster Council rejects planning application by CLTX for ten flats to replace the pub
- April 2015: The pub is bulldozed
- May 2015: Council orders CLTX to recreate the building as it stood
- May 2016: Public inquiry confirms decision and rejects CLTX appeal
- October 2016: CLTX meets council officials to discuss rebuilding pub
- March 2017: Surveys are carried out and notices posted about the rebuild
- October 2017: CLTX submits further planning application to include three flats within pub, but this is declined
- April 2019: Most of the pub’s missing exterior is rebuilt
- April 12, 2021: Pub is set to reopen
Mr Rees told The Observer: ‘Lots of parts of the bar and the fireplace, the bannister, have been reclaimed from the rubble. The pub tells its story from the half-broken fixtures that we’ve got.
‘You can see bits of broken wood – it’s not all perfect, which we really love because it gives character and charm to the building.’
He added: ‘I live locally and I knew about the pub. This has happened multiple times in different places and there’s never been a result like this.’
The pub closed in April 2015 and the owners were denied planning permission to convert it into ten flats – but ordered it to be demolished, two days before English Heritage was due to recommend it become a Grade II-listed building.
This incensed campaigners who took their case to the council, which forced the owners to rebuild the whole thing.
This move was rubber-stamped by a planning inquiry one year later which ruled it had to be rebuilt ‘in facsimile’, including the red bricks and tiled name.
Campaigner Polly Robertson, from the Rebuild the Carlton Tavern group, told The Observer: ‘We had a suspicion before the demolition that they would do something, so we asked English Heritage to think about listing it. They took a plaster cast of every tile, they took pictures and documented everything.’
The Campaign for Pubs said the ruling ‘set an incredibly useful precedent’, with full planning permission now required before pubs can be converted into shops under permitted development rules.
The pub was the only building left standing on Carlton Vale after a Nazi bombing raid on Maida Vale during the Second World War.
The pub was demolished in 2015 despite the council having rejected a planning application
The Carlton Tavern in Maida Vale, West London, is pictured before it was demolished in 2015
The reopening comes as new industry data from UKHospitality revealed pubs, bars and restaurants have missed out on £86 billion of sales since the pandemic struck.
The figure, equivalent to an astonishing £1.7billion per week, shows how the industry has been brought to its knees with thousands of businesses left hanging on for life.
Industry leaders said the crisis was an ‘asteroid’ to Britain’s pubs and restaurants, forcing chains to cull thousands of outlets and hundreds of thousands of staff.
In total 11,900 licenced premises have shut their doors since December 2019 and 660,000 jobs have disappeared from the sector because of the virus.
Under Boris Johnson’s road map out of lockdown, businesses can open outdoor areas from April 12, but only open indoors with tight restrictions from May 17.