Just over the ever-flowing river of Camden Road – and a fag butt’s flick from earthy York Way – is the old-school sister pub to the much newer Tufnell Park Tavern.
The Lord Stanley, named after a bloke who was Prime Minister in the 1860s, sits tiled and handsome on the corner of Camden Park Road. Older readers might remember its 1990s heyday as an epicentre for both Britpop cool (all the infamous ’90s bands used to drink there) and hearty Caribbean cooking; meanwhile Jay, the relaxed manager, had until recently served for what must have been a decade and a half. And if you wondered where she’s gone, why, it’s to the aforementioned Tav.
So, the interior? Grand in size but, save for a lacquered bottle green ceiling, comfortingly worn, its robust wooden furniture bearing the dents and scratches of years of use. Recently the owners have chucked in a side-lamp here, and a box of veg on the bar there, to create that all-day “deli” vibe that everyone seems to hanker after nowadays. There’s also a popular theatre upstairs.
A disclaimer: I have personal history with the place. It was my first north London local, having moved into a flat directly opposite nearly 20 years ago. Even now, it’s a five-minute walk away from our office so we’re on-off lunchtime regulars – enjoying everything over the years from £6 pasta daily specials to posh grey mullet; recently, in fact, we raved about a delectable £6 chargrilled chicken sandwich.
This week, however, we sadly discovered that owners Punch Taverns are putting it on the market. But the good news is that a Lord Stanley Community has been created without any delay whatsoever to petition the closure and make the pub an Asset Of Community Value.
This really is one of the area’s best kept secrets – along with the equally doomed Dartmouth Park Arms, Steeles, Admiral Mann and Lord Southampton – and it deserves to stay a boozer. And for those merry souls that way inclined, it also makes a fun mini crawl with the recently revived Rose & Crown – just over that ever-flowing Camden Road back into Kentish Town.
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Why it matters – by longterm local resident Annie Mullins
“Neighbours, families, regulars old and new all turned out last night to consider how to prevent the Lord Stanley’s freehold being sold off with the option for a change of use.
The room was standing room only and the atmosphere was palpable about the importance the pub plays in our lives. Some have been going to the Stanley for decades to meet, gather share and eat, and even for a theatre performance or two. “Where will Mary go after 40 years?” was a cry from someone in the audience.
The room was filled with young and old, lawyers, judges, artists, sports teams, residents, poets, musicians, teachers, retirees, and members of the Camden Square Residents’ Association; in fact, it’s rare to see such a group coming together. Why did we? Because the Lord Stanley is part of the fabric of our lives where we all have memories happy, congenial and sometimes sad as we share our heartbreaks and troubles.
Yes, The Lord Stanley is the hub of our community and our lives will be the poorer if our ‘old local’ is taken away from us. It’s a fight worth fighting for – and the Camden community is united. Follow Annie on Twitter @Annie_R_Mullins
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Join the petition here. Find The Lord Stanley at 51 Camden Park Road NW1, open 12midday till 11pm daily.
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