The independent London newspaper

We need our community pub

10 May, 2019

John Graham Mellor, aka Joe Strummer (1952-2002)

• MORE than 40 local residents in Maida Hill, W9, including Westminster North MP Karen Buck, prominent local councillors, and members of Maida Hill Forum, turned up on Saturday morning, May 4, to protest against the closure of their local pub The Squirrel (formerly known as The Skiddaw), at the junction of Elgin Avenue and Chippenham Road.

The pub closed without prior notice shortly after last summer’s World Cup, and is now the subject of a planning application to Westminster City Council to turn it into flats.

The Squirrel was originally called The Skiddaw after the first landlord, Samuel Richardson and his family, who are recorded as living there about 1871. They originally came from Skiddaw in Cumberland.

Former regulars at the pub include the poet Francis Thompson (1859-1907), who liked to sit in front of the fire in the evenings and “talk poetry and cricket”.

The pub was also a popular watering hole for the area’s Irish and West Indian diaspora, with the Irish writer Brendan Behan drinking there during the 1950s and 1960s, and the back of the pub even being used at one point as a laying-out room for people to pay their respects to dead relatives!

Most famously the pub was the local of Joe Strummer from The Clash, during the period in 1974 when he lived in a squat at Chippenham Road.

A spokesperson for the campaign to save the pub said: “This pub is at the historic centre of our community, the last pub left in our council ward, and deserves to remain as a public house, which it has been for over 150 years.”

People can object to the planning application by going online at: https://idoxpa.westminster.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=makeComment&keyVal=POB8VNRPHRH00

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