Pub lovers of London, raise your pints: one of the best boozers in London has escaped near-certain death… for now. The Grade II-listed George Tavern on Commercial Road sits next to a disused nightclub called Stepney’s, which is marked for demolition and redevelopment into high-end flats. New neighbours would present a major threat to the George’s late-night licence, potentially terminating the pub’s seven-odd centuries of drinking history.
The battle to save the George has been a long one, with tireless landlady Pauline Forster (and supporters including Kate Moss, Grace Jones and Sir Ian McKellen) staving off various property speculators through countless rounds of legal action and alleged intimidation. Swan Housing Group’s latest application to build flats next door was approved by the Planning Inspectorate, after an initial rejection by Tower Hamlets council. But today the George has got some good news: in a hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice it's won the right to appeal.
It’s a victory, but by no means a final one, and now the George needs your help again. In 2015, Swan Housing Group had a turnover of £82 million: plenty of money to keep pushing for development. Meanwhile Forster and her team have been covering their legal costs by putting on fundraiser gigs, selling merchandise and crowdfunding. As usual, the fight to save London’s soul is a David and Goliath one. So it’s up to you to help this most excellent of pubs hold out against the city’s ever-rising tide of bland.
Buy some merchandise, head down to a gig and help Save The George Tavern.