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Save the Hawley Arms: Publicans bid to buy bar with help from regulars

Amy Winehouse signed set list will be given to a lucky supporter of Camden Town bar

15 February, 2019

IT’S a famous stop on a rock ’n’ roll tour of ­Camden Town, a pub Amy Winehouse used to love so much that she would sometimes help behind the bar.

And now regulars at the Hawley Arms have the chance to get their hands on a treasured memento from its history: a gig setlist signed by the late Back To Black singer.

Publicans Ruth ­Mottram and Doug Charles-Ridler say they will be giving away the prized memorabilia to one of their customers who had supported them in a bid to buy the freehold of the bar in Castlehaven Road.

The couple helped bring the pub back from the ashes of the ferocious Camden Market fire in 2008 – a blaze which led to the bulldozing of the former Caernarvon Castle pub nearby. Now they are in talks with owners Greene King.

She said: “We have a lease that is protected under the Tenancy Act but we couldn’t control who would buy the pub. Pubs can be bought by developers who are more interested in housing rather than the pub we are ­trying to run.”

The Amy Winehouse set list

Ms Mottram added: “That was an anxiety so we ­decided to buy it – but it has been an incredible challenge. Some might see it as prime real estate and not a pub. We have loved it from the start and have grown it organically.”

The giveaway of a ­special music items – Ms Winehouse, having seen the flames of the market fire on TV news bulletins, famously declared “Camden Town ain’t burning down” as she accepted a Grammy award – is a way of thanking fans who help secure the pub’s future.

Customers have been chipping in small amounts and supporters are helping the business by purchasing merchandise, including T-shirts, bags and tankards with a logo proclaiming they are “Hawley Heroes”. They now stand a chance of winning the setlist.

The sale has come about due to changes in government legislation regarding pub companies who own more than 500 outlets, prompting the couple to launch a bid to raise the funds to buy it themselves.

Doug Charles-Ridler

“Greene King told us they were selling the pub and we said we would like the chance to buy. We feared if someone else came in, they would put our rent up and change the place,” said Mr Charles-Ridler.

Ms Mottram added: “We have had tremendous help from everyone involved in the Hawley story, and we are getting help from people who come in and use the pub – and by doing that, they get something back in return.”

l To contribute to the pub and have a chance to win the Amy prize, visit www.hawleyheroes.com

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