London’s oldest chophouse could be saved after the City of London passed measures to protect the pub.
The Simpson’s Tavern near Leadenhall Market has survived fires, wars, and epidemics in its 250-year history. But the pub is now facing the biggest threat to its survival.
The tavern first got into rent arrears during the Covid pandemic and the venue’s locks were allegedly changed by the landlord last month, closing the business. The eatery has had to raise funds to reopen and keep its heritage alive.
But now the City of London Corporation has made the pub an Asset of Community Value, meaning it can’t be sold off without the community having the opportunity to buy it first.
The Simpson Tavern’s general manager Benjamin Duggan told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “We are overjoyed the City of London has recognised the significance of the Simpson’s Tavern as a vital part of the living history of the city itself.
“We hope this will be the next step forward with our landlord and freeholder. We stand ready to open.”
The move will make it much more difficult for the venue’s landlord to sell it off. So far, over £111,000 has been raised to try and save the pub, around a third of its crowdfunding total.
The City of London Corporation said the decision to protect the pub was a “no-brainer” and its Policy and Resources Committee voted unanimously to protect the pub.
Speaking in the meeting City of London Alderman Sir Michael Snyder said: “Could I suggest this is actually a no-brainer and we should just go to vote as it should be a community asset.”
City of London Corporation Policy Chair, Chris Hayward, added: “Simpson’s Tavern is a City institution frequented by generations of workers and residents who have enjoyed its good food, drink and convivial atmosphere.
“Its long history and deeply rooted status at the heart of the community means that it clearly meets the criteria for designation as an Asset of Community Value, something which must now be taken into account in any decision over its future.”
Founded in 1757 on Cornhill, Simpson’s was where influential people met to trade and do deals over lunch, long before it became surrounded by modern glass skyscrapers.