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Celebrations mark 15 years since The Pineapple pub was saved from closure

Old 'Pineapplers' reminisce on famous planning battle victory that saved Kentish Town bar

27 April, 2017 — By Dan Carrier

Regulars toast the pub in Leverton Street

WHEN regulars at the Pineapple pub – a historic backstreet boozer in Kentish Town – came up against developers looking to convert the Victorian building into flats, they refused to let the “last orders” bell ring and saved it from closure.

Now, 15 years on, and with the pub still serving pints and thriving, customers at the pub in Leverton Street have celebrated their famous victory. “Old Pineapplers”, as they call themselves, gathered to celebrate their success on Sunday afternoon.

Invited by current owner Paul Davies and his staff, more than 90 regulars and veterans of the campaign spent the afternoon reminiscing how they saw off developers and kept their pub open. Following the death of her husband Sean in 2001, publican Mary Gatey had sold the Pineapple on the understanding it would remain as it was. But the doors were quickly closed and a planning application by a Holborn-based developer to turn it into flats was submitted. But regulars refused to let 133 years of history disappear overnight – and got the pub listed.

Those who lent their names to the campaign and gave it London-wide publicity included film director Ken Loach, newscaster Jon Snow, the then poet laureate Andrew Motion, and actors Roger Lloyd Pack, Rufus Sewell and Ken Stott. The Town Hall received hundreds of objections and the plans were dismissed.

How the CNJ covered the case in 2002

Gill Scott, who was integral in saving the pub, told the New Journal: “People came back from Somerset, Cumbria, Shropshire, Essex, all over London, Kentish Town and Leverton Street. There were people who helped with getting the pub listed, and John Davies, the officer from Camden who received the 533 letters of protest to the application, was traced to a council in Suffolk. He was an extremely welcome guest.  It remains unusual to wrestle a pub away from a developer, and there are fewer pubs that qualify for listing. We were lucky that people found the time to help us in 10 crucial days in 2001. The number of pubs that have closed in this area, hav­ing been obtained by developers, is high. Very few reopen as pubs – many remain closed for years.”

The pub’s licence in 1868

As part of the celebrations, Mr Davies unveiled a copy of the original lease for the building, which Ms Scott hunted down in the archives of St John’s College, Cambridge – the landowner at the time. Alongside it is a letter granting the pub a licence from St Pancras Vestry, dating from March 1868.

Ms Scott added: “Philip Luzmore, from South Milton in Devon, built the pub, three shops and about half of the houses – 150 on the estate – before he walked in front of a train at the newly built animal yards in Kentish Town 1876. His son and his wife finished the rest. His tombstone in South Milton says that he died in Kentish Town.”

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