Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Trollied Tuesday: the Duke of Hamilton

Back to blogging then, with a spot of public service thrown in. Those of you who are familiar with Hampstead, in particular the delights of its pubs, will doubtless be saddened to learn that one of the finest of these pubs - the Duke of Hamilton - is under threat.

It seems there is a property developer who has decided that what this distinctive area needs is more yuppified housing. I would disagree with this proposition on principle - Hampstead's charms are being watered down by the fact that its becoming a sanitised haven for the blandly wealthy - but when it comes at the cost of a distinctive local amenity then the very prospect seems intolerable.

It is one of the finest examples of a community pub one could hope to encounter: it offers a range of good beers (Meantime stout rather than Guinness is a good indication this is something beyond the run of the mill) and a decent cross section of local society. There is no food served, making it more a venue for thinkers and talkers (a recent visit yielded some splendidly lurid - and quite unrepeatable - anecdotes about Lord Mandelson); its closure would see something unique and distinctive, replaced with something that brings little benefit to the world at large.

I must confess, slightly shame-facedly, that I only learned about this threat to the pub last week (via Facebook, in fact) and having decided to wait until Tuesday to post this, the deadline for objections to Camden council has just passed. We can only wait and hope for a proper review. In the meantime, if you are ever in NW3 you would be well advised to visit the pub - either to pay your last respects or, hopefully, to contribute to its long-term survival.

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