Chelsea public house The Cross Keys to reopen
Pubs in Britain are closing at a rate of 31 per week so it is refreshing to hear of one that is actually reopening. Bucking this sad trend, which is especially prevalent in wealthy areas like Kensington and Chelsea where pubs are worth more per square foot if converted to houses, it was recently announced that the DM Group is reopening The Cross Keys in Lawrence Street, SW3 at the end of January.
The Cross Keys first opened in 1708 and is believed to be the oldest pub in Chelsea. A well known Sloane haunt in the 1980s and 1990s, the pub was a favoured haunt of such people as Agatha Christie, Bob Marley, Dante Gabriel Rosette, John Singer Sargent, Dylan Thomas and J. M. W. Turner. It’s last owner, Andrew Bourne, unsuccessfully attempted to gain planning permission to convert the building into a £10 million home complete with swimming pool, sauna and cinema room after a campaign supported by Piers Morgan and Zac Goldsmith MP amongst others.
Closed down in 2012 and subsequently occupied by squatters, The Cross Keys was sold to the Parsons Green Land Group for £3.9 million in January 2014.
At the time, Mike Benner of the Campaign for Real Ale told the Evening Standard:
“Pubs are an essential part of Britain’s cultural heritage and it is clear from the support of the surrounding community how important it is The Cross Keys remains a pub in the future”.
Though the Parsons Green Land Group plan to convert the upper floors of The Cross Keys into residential accommodation, the lower floors have now been taken on by the DM Group – owners of the renowned Fulham pubs, The Brown Cow and The Sands End.
Of their plans for this iconic pub, Eamonn Manson, co-founder of the DM Group, commented:
“We want to maintain the magic of The Cross Keys from the cozy old fireplace to the natural light of the back atrium, but recharge it with a contemporary look”.
His business partner and co-founder, Mark Dyer, added:
“We felt that in resurrecting such an iconic pub that we are able to contribute to our British heritage in some way, while keeping the community happy with a truly good local”.
The pub’s new website states that The Cross Keys will serve real ales alongside “innovative, seasonal dishes” and “pub classics and Sunday roasts” and we urge our readers to support what will be a most welcome reopening.
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