Jessica Learmond-Criqui 0

Save the Holly Bush pub in Hampstead

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The Holly Bush pub is a gem in the heart of Hampstead and is a Grade II listed building.  Its character is under threat.

It is owned by Fullers and is one of its flagship pubs.  Judging from its popularity, I anticipate that it is a successful and profitable pub.  The Holly Bush is the last proper pub in this area for miles.

Fullers have plans for the Holly Bush which include its refurbishment and making it more into an up market eatery. 

Since Fullers acquired the pub in 2010, it has had a split of 55%/45% in favour or drinks.  I anticipate that with the plans to change it to an up market eatery, the percentage food to drinks may change.  It may become more of a gastro pub, or even more up market, rather than the traditional pub it has been to date.

When I had a meeting with the area manager of the pub, he told me that there were no plans to change the character of the pub, but after a refurb, there would be 10 more seats downstairs and the private dining room upstairs (used for private functions) would become part of the restaurant.  He also explained that the manager of the pub and her team were doing a great job and no changes were planned to change the pub’s management. 

I learned today that, in fact, the manager of the pub is to go.  After some liquid research which I conducted earlier this week, I found that the menu of the Holly Bush has changed with increased prices and with the traditional pies, scotch eggs, bangers and mash ousted and instead the menu now comprises dishes with “texture of beetroot”, “orange reductions” and “petit fours”.  Portions are smaller and the “traditional” pub food has reduced.  What else is to change?

No plans have yet been submitted to Camden for the refurb so we do not know the extent of their plans to refurb.  Fullers should know that they cannot begin any work without the consent of Camden and English Heritage so that the original Early Victorian ceiling, fixed snob screen and C19 counter cannot be removed.  It is recognised that they have to make changes to deal with the odour issue affecting the Holly Bush's neighbours. 

Now, Fullers as owner can do anything they wish subject to planning restrictions – that is their right in law.  However, they are mindful of their corporate social responsibility, particularly as regards the community.   

On Fullers' website under “Community”, it is stated:

We understand that while we are a business, it is important that we maintain a connection and dialogue with the people we share our space with and on whom our activities have an impact.”

The purpose of this petition is to provide a forum for the community for dialogue with Fullers so that Fullers understand the feelings of the local community about the plans they have for the pub. 

We call on Fullers:

(a)    Not to change the listed features of the pub including the Early Victorian ceiling, fixed snob screen and C19 counter;

(b)    Not to make any refurb changes which damages the current look and feel of the pub including changes to the roaring fireplaces;

(c)    Not to cram 10 more seats on the ground floor as this will irreparably change the spacious feel of the pub;

(d)    To stop the gastro-ification of the pub food, reintroducing the traditional pubfare including bangers and mash, pies and scotch eggs at affordable prices – Hampstead has enough gastro pubs and needs a real pub;

(e)    To keep the current live in management including the current manager who we were told was doing a fantastic job with her team – why change if she is doing a great job?  A live in manager helps deter crime and ensures management of noise issues with the pub;

(f)    Leave the Holly Bush as a traditional pub which maintains its 55%/45% split in favour of drinks; and

(g)    Stop changes which impact on the traditional character of the pub.

If you are interested in this subject, please do sign the petition.  If you have different views to the above, please do give your comments. 


Jessica Learmond-Criqui spearheading the Hampstead Shops Campaign


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