Monday, 4 November 2013
The Ivy House. A proper pub.
There are parts of South London of which we know little. Step out of Peckham Rye Station and within a two minute walk you can find all kinds of exotic vitals. Across the road a shop sign boasts that fresh food is delivered from Africa daily. Best not to ask. Proceed in a South Easterly fashion and within a few bus stops you will come to a place that to be truthful I had never even heard of. Nunhead is home to a famous cemetery, a vast allotment site and a quite remarkable pub. When it was built in the 1930's The Ivy House was one of the original so called "improved public houses". As the Newlands Tavern it was a major 70's pub rock venue with the likes of Dr Feelgood, The 101ers and Kilburn and The High Roads all treading the boards here. Early this year it looked as though the last pint had been pulled in this classic boozer. A property developer had bought the building and intended to gut the place, consign all the lovely oak panelling to a skip and, yes you've got it, turn the place int flats. That would have been that if some members of the local community had not taken advantage of the Localism Act and moved to obtain the pub and keep in running as a cooperative. Yesterday we spent a very happy couple of hours in the place. Outstanding example of 1930's pub architecture, excellent pint of Brockley Bitter, a decent roast dinner, amazingly cheerful and friendly staff and the 15 piece Big Swing Band on stage. The Ivy House is what I call a pub.