Iconic Shoreditch pub re-opens after refurbishment


Heath Ball and Markus Grant at the Wenlock Arms. Pic: Anette Therese Hanssen

Heath Ball and Marcus Grant at the Wenlock Arms. Pic: Anette Therese Hanssen

An iconic 181 year old pub re-opened on June 3 after facing the possibility of being demolished.

Vincent Stops, Councillor in Hackney and Chair of the Planning committee, played a vital role in securing the future of The Wenlock Arms.

Heath Ball and Marcus Grant, the new owners expressed their gratitude to him: “He got the Regent’s Canal Conservation area to include the pub. He is a great man.”

The pub got saved from demolition when it got included in the Regent’s Canal Conservation area. Its “historical value and architectural character” was the reason for the pub to get ‘listed’ according to the Hackney planning committee.

The ‘Save The Wenlock’ campaign also played a major role in preserving the pub.

As Stops said: “Lots of folk helped save the pub.”

Mike Yates, 21, a regular at The Wenlock Arms, said that the re-opening of the pub is “a great example of people standing up and making a difference.”

Ball and Grant also owns the pub The Red Lion and Sun in London’s Highgate Village, and they’re bringing their experience with them to the Wenlock Arms.

The pub has been closed for refurbishment for the past three months. The regulars finally found their way back on the opening day.

“I’m glad it’s re-opened. I don’t want to go to another pub. It’s always been a friendly place” said Micheal Butler, 62, who has been a customer for 7 years.

James Treehorn, 45, from Holloway, who has also been a regular for the past 10 years, felt it was good to be back “after the pub had a clean.”

Treehorn said: “I’m planning on coming back often. It’s a real pub, and I am reinstated.”

The run-down furniture and old floors gave the pub a special charm, but the new owners have changed the pub’s interior since March.

“The council gave us some conditions with the refurbishment. We had to install new toilets and reinstate the original main corner door, as well as replacing the floor” said Ball.

The new refurbishment has been criticised by some customers.

Dave Budden, 65, from Bexly, said: “You used to be able to see the cellar through the hole in the floor, that was iconic, they should put it back.”

While removing the old floor, they  found two pieces of 150-year-old mosaic.

Grant said: “The artist left a signature on them, which can be found if you look closely.”

The new owners’ key focus is “to respect and maintain the tradition of this great pub.”

In order to keep the pub going they asked the old costumers for help.

Grant said: “We are looking for old black-and-white pictures of the pub in order to archive the history of the building”

If you have old photos of the building please send them to: beer@wenlockarms.com


Previous articles on ELL about The Wenlock Arms:

Triumph as The Wenlock Arms is saved after Hackney Council votes to protect the historic pub

The Wenlock Arms issued with notice for demolition

Celebrations as Wenlock Arms pub is saved


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