8 PM Monday 23 April 2012 Nunhead Heights.
Tonight on Nunhead American Radio 10:30 PM London-Time 104.4fm in Nunhead and streaming on www.resonancefm.com:
Pub landlord Nick McNeill is scheduled to make a return appearance to talk about the downfall of the Nunhead’s Ivy House pub. The Ivy House is the second most famous spot in Nunhead after the Cemetery and the bakery. Okay, that makes it third. Close to the recognition of The Old Nun’s Head Pub. The Ivy House is the Crown Jewel of Nunhead Heights.
Often confused with the West End restaurant The Ivy, The Ivy House was originally called the Newlands Tavern. Newlands being what Nunhead Heights was called when it was first developed in the years 1890 to 1910. Most of the Heights are “terrace” houses, or what they would call in New York (incorrectly) “brownstones.”
The Newlands Tavern was a famous old-time rock venue where everyone from the Clash to the Rolling Stones played. Actually, I don’t think the Clash or the Stones played there but Elvis Costello did and so did Graham Parker and the Rumour did it the 1970s. That is weird because I was just looking at Graham Parker songs on youtube yesterday. Only one I liked was Stick to Me - very proto-punk. Read all about music in the area at the fantastic southeast London website Transpontine.
At the last word I have heard it has been sold by owner Enterprise Inns with plans afoot to turn it into flats. We are going to ask Nick what the hell happened.
Anyway, there are efforts afoot to save the pub as a pub. Look to the savetheivyhouse facebook page – it has already gotten 1300 “Likes”.
Actually, I blame myself for the pub’s demise.
Back in the day – say in 1999 – before I arrived – Nunheaders lived cheek-to-jowl in “two-up two-down” houses – that is two rooms downstairs and two bedrooms up. The ‘front room’ or “lounge” or what Americans call the living room is about 12’ by 14’ and the bedrooms were the same size. The house was crammed with half-a-dozen kids or more and two parents and maybe a grandparent or two.
Men escaped their families every night by going to the pub for a few hours – or at the latest until 11 when pubs closed and the men were forced home.
Now these houses are now going for $550,000 and no house in Nunhead has more than two children and two adults except for the Irish family across Reynolds Road with eight kids (?).
My flat is in the block right next to the Ivy House. It is my flat and I am not bothered by a nagging wife or pesky children under my feet – my ex is around the corner and I rarely see the little buggers. I don’t feel the need to go to a pub. Ergo, the death of the pub.
The breakdown of marriage has meant that most adults have their own home; their own car; and their own fridge. Even their own cat. You do the math: Divorce means double everything. Lone parent families are an environmental nightmare. And who benefits? Landlords and Ikea. Not funny but a prescient observation. I hope I am using that word correctly. No time to check it.
Also scheduled on the programme tonight is Councillor Rosie Shimell from East Dulwich, our closest Liberal Democratic politician. We have had four Labour Councillors on the show and I’m “dead chuffed” as the English say, that she’s coming on. Nunhead has no Liberal Democratic councillors so we’re pinching one from East Dulwich. We’ll talk about the London mayoral election and why we Americans can’t vote but anyone from maybe fifty other countries can, including Nigeria, Bangladesh and Australia.
Regarding yesterday’s blog. I missed it. It was Sunday and I decided 40 days straight is enough. I start again.
Listen to Lewis Schaffer on the Radio Nunhead American Radio with Lewis Schaffer every Monday evening at 10:30PM on www.resonancefm.com and 104.4fm London. Or listen to the show’s podcasts at bit.ly/NunheadAmericanRadio
See Lewis Schaffer live every Tuesday and Wednesday at the Source Below. Free admission. Reserve at bit.ly/londonfreeshow