Lonely Planet Writer

Developers illegally knocked down a London pub – now they’re rebuilding it brick by brick

A historic London pub that was illegally demolished is being rebuilt brick by brick, reports Londonist. The 92-year-old Carlton Tavern was bulldozed in April 2015 by property developers who wanted to turn it into flats. But work has now begun to reconstruct the building and its façade, using as many original materials as possible.–

Developers must rebuild the Carlton Tavern in Kilburn
The Carlton Tavern before it was illegally demolished by developers. Image by: Rebuild the Carlton Tavern Facebook

The pub was the only building on its street to survive German bombing during the Blitz in WWII. On Easter Monday 2015, landlady Patsy Lord was told to close the pub so the owners could take an inventory. When she returned two days later, the pub had been reduced to rubble. Safety procedures were not followed, according to the BBC, and the local council were not informed.

When it was demolished, the pub in Kilburn, northwest London, was being considered for listing by Historic England, which would have given its unaltered 1920s interior and tiled façade official protection.

“This is a big step in our campaign to undo the damage caused by the illegal demolition of the Carlton Tavern,” Westminster City Council member Daniel Astaire told Londonist. “Westminster City Council has stood side by side with residents to demand that this pub should be rebuilt brick by brick and I look forward to seeing the Carlton Tavern standing once again. Today is a just reward for the work of all the local campaigners who have fought for this building to be restored. I hope our campaign sends a clear message to developers across the country that they cannot ride roughshod over the views of local communities.”

Pubs have their origins in Anglo-Saxon alehouses and are an important part of British culture, but while many are thriving, pub numbers have declined over the last thirty years. The lower price of alcohol in shops, high property prices and the smoking ban are all reasons given for the decrease. There has been strong community support for the rebuilding of the Carlton Tavern, and the building is expected to reopen as a pub, with work due to finish by July 2018.