By Mike Pentelow
An historic 200-year-old pub has been closed in Rathbone Place. It is the Black Horse which has been serving ale since 1809. A notice advises customers to go instead to the Marquis of Granby, which is also owned by the Nicholson’s pubs chain, part of brewers Mitchells & Butlers of Birmingham.
A brass plaque describing the history of the pub has been purloined.
A mass cull of pubs has been mounted by the brewery which has sold 49 individual pubs and 333 “non core” pubs since March, raising over £500 million. This has helped increase profits by 26.1 per cent in the year to the end of September to £169 million and an operating profit of £322 million.
Now the new owners of site London & Central Estates Limited want to redevelop the residential accommodation above the pub, writes Linus Rees. In October 2010 London & Central Estates had acquired the 5,000 sq ft pub from Mitchells & Butlers for £1.95m.
In December 2010 a planning application was submitted to City of Westminster seeking approval to sub-divide the existing residential accommodation and to build a rear extension at the second and third floors.
Further north in Charlotte Street, the live music venue Charlotte Street Blues also shut its doors in mid-November without warning. No notice was put on the door but a brief note appeared on their website saying they had to close. Regular customers who turned up to the usual jam session were surprised to find it shut. However, this week a new licence application notice has appeared outside the venue.
M&B is a managed house pub company, NOT a brewery.
It was originally a division of Bass, which did brew, but the brewery was sold off many years ago and I seem to recall the company changed its name to 6 Continents, it then spun out the pub division to become M&B and changed its name to Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG).
It wouldnt hurt to get the facts correct?
Thanks for your comment. OK, not a Brewery. We stand corrected. Not sure about Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG).
Here’s the history of M&B as told by them:
1898 – Two Midlands brewing and pub empires merge to form Mitchells & Butlers.
1960s – We merge with Bass, Ratcliff and Gretton Ltd then Charrington United, before becoming Bass PLC.
1980s – We run 7,000 pubs all over the UK, with beer by far our biggest seller. The business splits into separate brewing and retailing divisions called Bass Brewers and Bass Taverns.
1990s – As tastes change, food becomes key to our sales. Our first O’Neill’s opens in Aberdeen and our first All Bar One in Surrey. We acquire Harvester, Browns and 550 pubs from Punch, as Mitchells & Butlers grows dramatically.
2000s – Bass PLC becomes Six Continents PLC. Three years later, the pub division lists separately to become Mitchells & Butlers once again. We pursue a strategy of operating large, food-led businesses, acquiring 239 pub restaurants from Whitbread PLC and exchanging 44 pub restaurants for 21 Express by Holiday Inn lodges.
2010 – The disposal of 333 Town and Community pubs to Stonegate Pub Company is announced. This is quickly followed by the purchase of 22 Ha Ha Bar & Grill businesses, which paves the way for more conversions to the hugely successful All Bar One and Browns brands. We’re now the leading restaurant and pub company in the UK.
So many pubs have gone out of business in recent years for a variety of reasons, partly, perhaps, because of competition from other sources of refreshment and the increasing price of alcoholic beverages in pubs. I think it is particularly sad when they are old established pubs: I have found three such at the Angel in Islington without even trying.
If the Black Horse is 200 years old, then it might be listed – has anyone checked? In that case, at least the building will survive, perhaps as a restaurant or some other business. It would be very unfortunate indeed if it were to be demolished and the site “developed” as one of those tasteless modern office blocks. Man the barricades!
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