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London pub restored after being reduced to rubble by developers

A 100-year old London pub has been rebuilt by the developers who knocked it down.

Six years ago, the Carlton Tavern was reduced to rubble just two days before it was due to be given protected status as a building of special interest.

The bar was fully stocked and darts trophies sat on display as the walls were pulled down by developers who wanted to build luxury flats in its place.

While in situations like this, the developer usually presents the fait accompli to the local authority and pays a fine before pressing ahead with the redevelopment, the case of the Carlton Tavern was different.

Following years of protests and community campaigns, the North London bar has been rebuilt, with the local council ordering developers to put the pub back together.

“The outrage and the disbelief, that somebody on April 8, 2015, could just turn up with bulldozers with no permission, and take absolute ownership on how we are going to demolish someone’s pub – there was no way we were ever going to give up,” said Poll Robertson, one of the campaigners.

The builders salvaged as much as they could and even managed to retain some of the pub’s original features.

“I thought if I touched it would turn out to be a hologram or something, and now I’ve been inside and it’s just amazing, it’s wonderful – there were times I didn’t think we were going to get here – and we did!” said Rob Cope, a campaigner who frequented the pub for decades.

The Carlton Tavern was one of the few buildings in this stretch of London that survived the blitz.

“It wasn’t really our initial intention for it to be a tourist attraction, but there are lots of people taking pictures and walking past, and I think people are really interested in the story,” said the pub’s co-owner, Tom Rees.

His friend and fellow co-owner Ben Martin hopes people will return post-pandemic for plenty of pints.

“I think we were kind of joking about earlier when we said: ‘I think we’re the most famous pub in the UK right now.’ But I think we are. It’s blown up, we knew we’d get a little bit of press out of it, but we never imagined it would get like this,” he said.

The pub that’s risen from the ruins is getting ready for April 12, when beer gardens in England are set to reopen after strict lockdown measures were informed to combat COVID.

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