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Another pub bites the dust?

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Joined 19-05-2004
Posted on Tuesday, 24 April, 2007 - 02:54 pm:   

Popping in to watch the footy last night to my local, the Forest Hill Tavern, a good traditional boozer, only to find it closed for ‘refurbishment’. Will this become another destined to be a ‘flat pack’ pub? Slightly further a field the Clock house is also closed for refurbishment. Whilst the FHT is not in SE23, it is only yards away, and for those of us on the posh estate the closest hostelry (ignoring the Grove Park Tavern).
Joined 17-03-2005
Posted on Tuesday, 24 April, 2007 - 04:44 pm:   

It must be you. You are cursed. One day we shall be able to see an ever expanding pub exclusion zone around BD.
Joined 04-02-2007
Posted on Tuesday, 24 April, 2007 - 06:04 pm:   

Surely a lick of paint and a general spruce up is not a bad thing for the clock house and the FHT BD? BTW Is it (the FHT) a fullers house as it indicates on the front i think? or a freehouse? If a freehouse maybe they have sold it on...anyone know about this?
Joined 09-04-2005
Posted on Tuesday, 24 April, 2007 - 07:26 pm:   

"the FHT BD? BTW Is it (the FHT)"
I am afraid you CLM (completely lost me).
Joined 19-05-2004
Posted on Tuesday, 24 April, 2007 - 11:22 pm:   

Look what they did to the Herne Tavern...

And the Moore Park Hotel

The Grove Tavern

Virtually all of Lordship Lane

And the various local breweries

Don't tell me I did not warn you.
Joined 19-05-2004
Posted on Tuesday, 24 April, 2007 - 11:25 pm:   

The village inn, the dear old inn,
So ancient, clean and free from sin,
True centre of our rural life
Where Hodge sits down beside his wife
And talks of Marx and nuclear fission
With all a rustic’s intuition.
Ah, more than church or school or hall,
The village inn’s the heart of all”

So spake the brewer’s PRO,
A man who really ought to know,
For he is paid for saying so.
And then he kindly gave to me
A lovely coloured booklet free.

“Twas full of prose that sang the praise
Of coaching inns in Georgian days,
Showing how public-houses are
More modern than the motor-car,
More English than the weald or sold
And almost equally as old.
And run for love and not for gold

Until I felt a filthy swine
For loathing beer and liking wine,
And rotten to the vary core
For thinking village inns a bore
And village bores more sure to roam
To village inns than stay at home.

And then I thought I must be wrong,
So up I rose and went along
To that old village alehouse where
In neon light is written “Bear”.

Ah, where’s the inn that once I knew
With brick and chalky wall
Up which the knobbly pear-trees grew
For fear the place would fall?

Oh, that old pot house isn’t there,
It wasn’t worth our while.
You’ll find we have rebuilt “The Bear”
In Early Georgian style.

But winter jasmine used to cling
With golden stars a-shine
Where rain and wind would wash and swing
The crudely painted sign.

And where’s the roof of golden thatch?
The chimney-stack of stone?
The crown-glass panes that used to match
East sunset with their own?

Oh now the walls are red and smart,
The roof has emerald tiles.
The neon sign’s a work of art
And visible for miles.

The bar inside was papered green,
The settles grained like oak,
The only light was paraffin,
The woodfire used to smoke.

And photographs from far and wide
Were hung around the room;
The hunt, the church, the football side,
And Kitchener of Khartoum.

Our air-conditioned bars are lined
With washable material,
The stools are steel, the taste refined,
Hygienic and ethereal.

Hurrah, hurrah, for hearts of oak!
Away with inhibitions!
For here’s a place to sit and soak
In sanit’ry conditions.
Joined 28-03-2005
Posted on Wednesday, 25 April, 2007 - 06:17 pm:   

Clever stuff, Baggydave - entertaining but sadly true. The Clockhouse is my local, albeit a 25 minute walk away and I will admit is has become a bit gloomy since Youngs bit the dust. Most worrying of all was the fact I was deprived of Winter Warmer this year as they didn't have enough pumps now they have to keep Charles Wells as well. And believe me, WW was the only thing look forward to about winter. PAH! I hope a refurb will correct this scandalous situation.
Joined 09-04-2005
Posted on Wednesday, 25 April, 2007 - 09:50 pm:   

The Village Inn by John Betjeman. Brilliant.
Joined 12-11-2006
Posted on Thursday, 26 April, 2007 - 08:26 am:   

Serves you right for watching Man utd.
Joined 09-04-2005
Posted on Thursday, 26 April, 2007 - 09:08 am:   

The only game on monday night was Burnley vs The Baggies...
Joined 19-05-2004
Posted on Thursday, 26 April, 2007 - 10:24 am:   

Damn, I've been outed

And where is the orginal Brian on this 'modern life is rubbish theme' ?
Joined 12-11-2006
Posted on Thursday, 26 April, 2007 - 11:08 am:   

Apologies, it was Burnley vs West Brom.
Joined 16-07-2004
Posted on Thursday, 26 April, 2007 - 12:20 pm:   

Cycled past the FHT on my way to work this morning and I think it looks pretty good - but then, I am a fan of these new fangled style pubs and rarely drink ale so wouldn't have a clue if something is well kept or not.
Joined 12-11-2006
Posted on Thursday, 26 April, 2007 - 12:36 pm:   

"cycled' 'rarely drink ale'........ dare I suggest this may not be the thread for you?
Joined 16-07-2004
Posted on Thursday, 26 April, 2007 - 02:15 pm:   

Baggydave is one of SE23's foremost cyclists I'll have you know so if I don't belong here, neither does he!!
Joined 04-03-2005
Posted on Thursday, 26 April, 2007 - 02:31 pm:   

I think people on any thread need to need to remember that some people cycle, some people drink ale, some people have children, some people like old style pubs, some people like new styled pubs (although, thank God, I don't think anyone likes alcho-pop, provincial town-style chain pubs).

In an ideal world, there would be a place for everyone. But by public debate, and voting with our pounds, we may achieve this in our neighborhood.

thank you, rant over.
Joined 16-07-2004
Posted on Thursday, 26 April, 2007 - 02:53 pm:   

Elizabeth - I think Foolsgold was kidding - at least that was the spirit in which I took it when I replied! And I always assume that while BD may have a serious point to make he usually has tongue firmly in cheek.
Joined 12-11-2006
Posted on Thursday, 26 April, 2007 - 03:12 pm:   

All meant in good humour.Apologies for any offence Bosco.
Joined 04-03-2005
Posted on Thursday, 26 April, 2007 - 03:32 pm:   

I wasn't being angry. Good humour as well.
Joined 09-01-2007
Posted on Thursday, 26 April, 2007 - 03:34 pm:   

Absolutely - each to his/her own. Whatever happend to pubs serving Double Diamond, Red Barrel, Whitbread Tankard and Hofmeister - all served in jugs mind!
Joined 12-11-2006
Posted on Thursday, 26 April, 2007 - 04:00 pm:   

They got turned into flats.
Joined 19-05-2004
Posted on Thursday, 26 April, 2007 - 08:09 pm:   

Bosco - cheers mate. As for free choice etc I feel there are so many people trying to influence this (supermarkets, media, marketing people) I often doubt this. Who conned some of us into drinking ultracold lager, American tasteless beer, Stella it's reassuringly expensive and made 200 miles away from Belgium, cider with ice in it, and the Pitcher and Piano. I am extremely excited that I got the debate going, but now gracefully retiring to my pub thread.
Joined 17-03-2005
Posted on Friday, 27 April, 2007 - 09:51 am:   

Cider.... still makes me feel like I'm 14 again. And the head still hurts the same.
Joined 19-05-2004
Posted on Friday, 04 May, 2007 - 11:50 pm:   

Now news that the Greyhound in Sydenham may be being redeveloped into flats. OK so it has been a dive for years, but what a dreadful end to a once mighty pub/hotel, with a history of good pub rock and jazz up to the 90s, Vic Reeves comparing the original Rubadub comedy club (Shame you have wiped this from your memory Vic) and some wonderful tiled walls (but not wonderful enough for English hertitage). Started going wrong with successive refurbishments in the 90s including at one point a change of names. Once the famous ornimental greyhounds had gone (robbed by dodgy builders) that was the beginning of the end.
Joined 03-06-2005
Posted on Wednesday, 09 May, 2007 - 10:24 am:   

Baggydave, I'm delighted to tell you that initial plans for redevelopment of the Greyhound and car park have been turned down by Lewisham on the grounds of overdevelopment and insensitivity to this key town centre site (the proposals were for blocks of between 4-8 storeys, with new A3 beneath). As and when a fully worked-up planning application materialises, the Sydenham Society will object in the strongest possible terms. Although currently neglected and poorly run, the Greyhound is probably the most historic building in Sydenham and could be restored to its former glory by an enlightened developer. At the Society's recent AGM a unanimous vote was taken to object to demolition and to campaign for a small residential development in the car park. A full article will appear in the next Sydenham Society newsletter and will be posted on our website at
Joined 17-03-2005
Posted on Thursday, 10 May, 2007 - 11:21 am:   

Very pleased to hear that Nasaroc. As a site, it has much potential. when one considers how other locals have been improved in recent years (Dartmouth Arms, Malt Shovel / Question, Dolphin, Honour Oak), I thought this place would have been snapped up by someone with a bit of vision. If the car park could be paired back and pub allowed to have some genuine out door space, i think it would be a winner hands down.
Joined 19-05-2004
Posted on Thursday, 10 May, 2007 - 10:18 pm:   

Good news for once as you will have sensed my dispair. There are enough YOHOs Dolphins DAs etc to satiate our middle class needs, but then again with being an ex-Sydenhamite it's not the most aspiring of areas so could easily stay run down. It actually scores 2/10 on my beerometer, ie the beer in the evening .com, the lowest rating of any pub within miles. I'll stand back from any other cheap snipes at the recently renovated pubs and hope something good comes out of this historic building (oddly enough behind as well as the karoke signs there is one displaying its history). Wonder if Vic Reeves cares!
Joined 19-05-2004
Posted on Thursday, 12 July, 2007 - 08:24 pm:   

Nasaroc, my moles tell me that the revised plans have been accepted. Oh dear. Any more news?

On the gastro side, the FHT has now gone that way (just when I discoved the place) as has the Plough in Dulwich (OK never particularly liked that place), no doubt the MPT will be Gastro'd next. Wonder if the market will get saturated. Odd that the FHT and Herne are now restaurants, but the real restaurants on Forest Hill Road, situated between the two, never do that well. Can someone please explain. There's about four threads in one here.

Oh and all credit to the Sydenham Society. Perhaps the FH Society will take up my campaign to reopen the MPT.
Joined 17-03-2005
Posted on Friday, 13 July, 2007 - 08:58 am:   

FHT - What's happened there? I thought that would be a boozer to the end.
Joined 03-06-2005
Posted on Friday, 13 July, 2007 - 10:54 am:   

Baggydave - the situation is still as described above on May 9 (unless your mole knows something we don't - if so, more info please!) As I wrote above, the developer submitted preliminary drawings to the planning department which the urban design team rejected (they were not of a high enough quality to become a full planning application). The Sydenham Society is awaiting further plans. We will object if plans involve the demolition of the pub, but we would support a courtyard-type development with housing in the car park. I discussed the Greyhound with Gavin Stamp at a recent talk that he gave at St Hilda's church in Brockley - in his opinion the pub is a landmark community building and does not deserve the fate of demolition. Sadly though it has been so badly treated by different owners over the last 15 years or so that it doesn't justify listing. Re the Dolphin, YOHO and other gastro pubs - have you clocked what's happening to the Two Brewers on Perry Hill? A beautiful refurbishment - rumour has it the new owners are the people who run the North Pole in Greenwich. While the loss of some aspects of the traditional pub is regrettable if new enlightened restaurateurs can breathe new life into these businesses (and restore the buildings!) then surely this is all to the good. Cheers, Annabel McLaren
Joined 19-05-2004
Posted on Friday, 13 July, 2007 - 11:44 am:   

And just up the road...
The Fox and Hounds, Kirkdale, SE26, closed at the weekend. It is to be turned into flats unless we stop it.

But good news on the Greyhound, my 'mole' was probably a number of months out of date. I'll check out the Two Brewers and report back. Someone did a superb renovation of an old cinema. Absolutely wonderful, unfortuately it would make a better cinema than a pub!
Joined 14-03-2007
Posted on Saturday, 14 July, 2007 - 09:10 am:   

Just walked past the F&H and there is a sign in the window saying "closed for refurbishment". Does anyone know any more?
Joined 18-04-2005
Posted on Monday, 16 July, 2007 - 07:33 am:   

Well Fox and Hounds closed for refurbishment
Hwve not been in there since 70's. There used to be an elderly lady playing a grand piano. Had quite a gathering of respectable mature regulars.Lots of other pubs for the rabble to go in.
Wonder if piano still being played.
Joined 24-01-2007
Posted on Tuesday, 17 July, 2007 - 12:38 pm:   

Just received a leaflet through the door about The Perry Hill, the new gastropub replacing the Two Brewers mentioned above. The new development looks good - not a traditional pub, but the Two Brewers always looked a bit unsavoury, so personally I'm quite pleased as its my nearest local. It's opening tomorrow, and yes the new owners previously ran the North Pole in Greenwich.
It's SE6 so not strictly Forest Hill I know, but on our border. I'd be interested to hear Baggydave's report!
Joined 19-05-2004
Posted on Tuesday, 17 July, 2007 - 09:03 pm:   

See TJ's less than promising views on my pub website.

The Rutland Arms over the road also looked a very uninviting place, but if you delved deeper you found that it was renowned for the jazz and R&B evenings. Now sadly gone and turned into flats..
(some on-line reviews:)
Shame this pub has closed. You could always be gauranteed a good athmosphere in here.
27 Apr 2007 16:29
Sadly this pub is definitely dead and gorn. There will be no reprieve. It is a shame that you can't get preservation orders on pubs; this one was most worthy.
16 Apr 2007 18:09
Last time I visited I thought I had walked through the doors and gone Back To The
16 Jan 2007 21:50
OK, very short notice but, as some of you know, the Rutland Arms closes for ever next week. Tonight, (tuesday 28th) is the last jazz night - featuring trombone player Mark Nightingale. Love to see anyone who can make it. If not, there is always the last blues night on thursday ! or SEL Camra's farewell p-u on friday ! ...
28 Nov 2006 17:54
Fatastic - a proper old fashioned boozer. Miracle of miracles, there are no hanging flower baskets outside! Why do all pubs copy each other and think they need flippin' flowers! I suppose it helps to make the pubs women-friendly.

Six real ales available... excellent! Grubby upholstery and old men with comb-overs - wonderful! Pubs like this are national treasures...

But sadly it looks like the Rutland is about to be turned into flats. A crying shame.
Joined 19-05-2004
Posted on Wednesday, 25 July, 2007 - 12:49 pm:   

The Greyhound, Kirkdale, Sydenham, SE26 will be closing down on August 13th. I believe that the Sydenham society are starting a campaign to try to save it. No doubt they would welcome support - Nasaroc any more details?

Elsewhere I have a plea to lobby Lewisham Council over pub closures (closures not turning into Gatro pubs I hasten to add).

The Borough of Lewisham has suffered huge pub losses: 40% of its pubs have closed or been demolished in recent years.

Now we have a chance to tell Lewisham Council that we think enough is enough, and that they should reject all future planning applications to turn pubs into flats. They have just issued a major new planning document, the Local Development Framework, and they are inviting comments by members of the public. It outlines all their future plans for the borough into the forseeable future. It consists of two huge documents, but sadly only contains one small paragraph about pubs. Once everything in it is agreed, it will determine their future policy on pub closures. Your input is important.

The paragraph reads:

“The council will only permit the change of use of public houses to other uses where it has been demonstrated that there are alternative public houses in the vicinity and that the potential for alternative community use of the building has been exhausted.”

(It is paragraph RTC9 on page 74 of the second document, 'Development Policies and Site Allocations'.)

I consider this too weak and vague. The Council should be doing more to protect its pubs, which are not only a valuable community facility, but are also often buildings of historical interest and part of our heritage. Pubs should be kept trading as pubs.

The fact that other pubs are "in the vicinity" is irrelevant, as two or three nearby pubs may all cater to quite different types of customers: a young, noisy crowd, a quieter, older clientele, customers who like sport on TV, customers for whom eating is more important than drinking, etc.

Property developers should be made to prove that a pub is no longer financially viable before any application will be considered. This is the case in other boroughs. The Council should be suspicious of any claims that a pub is no longer viable: any pub, if properly managed, can be profitable and successful.

I ask you to send an email to Lewisham Council expressing your views.

To read more about the Council's planning document go to:

Scroll down to where it say 'Latest News' and you will see a reference to the Local Dedvelopment Consultation. (However, I don't advise reading the whole document - there is too much of it.)

You can send your comments on the document to

Or you can write in or do it via their web-site.

Don't forget to mention that you are a resident of Lewisham, as this will carry more wieight. Ask for an acknowledgement of your submission.

Joined 17-03-2005
Posted on Wednesday, 25 July, 2007 - 05:54 pm:   

I sympathise ( now that the smoking ban is in force and the concept of going out to a pub is much more attractive )but can't see this being effective in the long run. Some pubs are attractive from a development point of view as some have a lot of land as an integral part and are easily converted/ demolished and rebuilt. From personal (work) experience many are not so easily converted into flats if the footprint is not adequate and parking for instance is required and the owners tend to ask for too much money for the site. The location is also an issue depending on whether a change of use from class A to residential is likely to be permitted and this is not as likely as most people think. Hence a lot of pubs will are already safe from the bulldozer!

If a pub has any potential to remain in business surely the market forces will decide and ' something' will happen- look at the Dartmouth Arms in Forest Hill and the Honor Oak which were run down pubs of the old fashioned kind, which , frankly, no one wanted any more. Look also at the venue next to the Red Cross shop in London Road , which saw a succession of failed wine bar/restaurant enterprises. These businesses are better off as something else as they clearly were in the wrong place as well as being the wrong product. Lordship Lane is a success story due to becoming a 'cluster' of restaurants and bars so people know where to go. Isolated pubs in areas where little happens after dark are unlikely to continue in business unless you happen to have a USP, ie the Dulwich Woodhouse, the Grove in Camberwell ( where too much of the wrong stuff happens after dark).

Personally I am against too much planning interference where market forces and public demand dictate an alternative agenda- the same applies to my work in housing development where certain boroughs dogmatically require twice as much B1 accommodation than before to be provided- meaning twice as much (vacant and unlettable) B1 space in their borough at the expense of housing.

Lets not get ourselves stuck with more run down unattractive venues which are nothing more than an eyesore, and lets face it also, not all current pubs or their clientele add value to their neighbourhood.

And I don't mean you, Baggydave!
Joined 04-03-2005
Posted on Wednesday, 25 July, 2007 - 10:40 pm:   

Have any pubs actually closed in Forest Hill/SE23 (MPT was a long time ago)? We continue to have at least 14 in the area and a number have closed for refurbishment and have generally reopened improved, and a number of pubs and bars have opened with reasonable success (Capitol, Bar Equal, the Urbane Belch Bag, etc). If anything we may have a slight surplus of pubs in Forest Hill, but as each has it's own niche the variety means that almost everybody has a pub in which to feel comfortable in Forest Hill. Most importantly the best pubs seem to be thriving.

Fortunately this topic is more applicable to 'beyond SE23', but it is an important warning to us about what could happen. It is a real shame what has happened to the Greyhound in Sydenham, it should be a perfectly viable pub. If Lewisham has lost 40% of pubs, Forest Hill is certainly bucking the trend, long may it continue!
Joined 19-05-2004
Posted on Wednesday, 25 July, 2007 - 10:42 pm:   

The Dartmouth Arms was a nice pub once (talking historically here, not criticising the current version), as was the Greyhound. For whatever reason the owners, maybe the brewers, or pub chains, let them get run down. Meanwhile people are persuaded to go out to cinemas and banks coverted to pubs instead. Style over substance (or in JDW's case, rocx bottom prices!). Put a lime in a bottle of tasteless larger - people buy it. Invent traditional Irish bitter (now cyder) when none existed in the past, people love it. I believe it is much about fashion and how we saps are influenced. We intervene in markets because they fail to preserve what is dear to us - our heritage. The Blyth Hill Tavern, beloved by the owner of the DA, could be described in the way that you have others in the area, and it is well the wrong side of the tracks, yet it thrives (still to check after the smoking ban came into force!). But once gone....

Anyway all contributions, pro or con, appreciated!

(Oh and whilst I am a sentimentalist - I would have happily let Harley Davison go to the wall but in America they talk up the free market but then go out of their way (wrongly) to protect everything they consider American)
Joined 18-04-2005
Posted on Thursday, 26 July, 2007 - 06:39 am:   

It is true some historical pubs have gone but people also tend to forget new additions

There is Windmill , Kirkdale SE 26
Question SE 23 . Only a pub for about 25 years under many names
Capitol SE 23.
Joined 19-05-2004
Posted on Monday, 30 July, 2007 - 04:50 pm:   

sad that this thread hasn't generated much discussion in recent days see for a proper discussion (if I am allowed to include this site).

Basically like other historic buildings, special ones should be saved. It is Sydenham's oldest pub, with lots of history. Hope some of you will sign the petition.