Pub landlords seek to raise half a million pounds to save The Queen’s Head

The Queen's Head Limehouse
Campaigners: Jack Hunter and Denise West must raise half a million pounds to rescue The Queen’s Head. Photograph: The Gentle Author

The landlords of a Limehouse pub under threat from closure have launched a campaign to buy the building’s 120-year lease.

The Queen’s Head was put on the market at the end of February, but because it is designated as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) by Tower Hamlets Council, local groups are afforded a six-month period in which to raise funds for a bid before it is put on the open market.

Jack Hunter and Denise West, who have run the pub for three years, have until 29 August to raise the £525,000 to bid for the building’s lease. In the three weeks since they have launched the campaign they have been pledged £53,500 by supporters.

Queens Head Limehouse threat closure
Under threat: The Queen’s Head was put on the market in February. Photograph: The Gentle Author

Mr Hunter is confident that the campaign will reach its target, given the “incredible amount of support” from locals, and how “helpful” the owners have been.

He added it would be a huge loss if the pub were to close down: “It would be a great loss. Enough of the heart of the East End is being ripped out already.

“When we took it on it was run down and now it’s a really vital local pub. It went from being unloved to being loved.”

The Queen’s Head has a number of claims to fame, including the Queen Mother pulling a pint behind the bar in 1987 and, according to Mr Hunter, being the original inspiration of the Eastenders pub, The Queen Victoria.

The Queen's Head Limehouse Ian McKellen
Ian McKellen performed ‘The Ballad of the Widow’s Son’ on Good Friday this year. Photograph: The Queen’s Head

On Good Friday this year The Queen’s Head hosted the Widow’s Buns ceremony, traditionally held at nearby the Widow’s Son, which is temporarily closed. The annual event included 150 hot cross buns being delivered by Chadwell Heath’s Mr Bunn the Baker and actor Ian McKellen turning up to perform the poem ‘The Ballad of the Widow’s Son’.

Over the next few months the Queen’s Head will host comedy nights and music events to boost the fundraising campaign.

The landlords said they have started talking to charities and other organisations about support and Mr Hunter plans to “banner up the whole pub” with campaign material.

The Queen's Head Limehouse Good Friday celebrations hot cross buns
Mr Bunn the Baker delivered 150 hot cross buns on Good Friday

Go to queensheadlimehouse.co.uk or email queensheadlimehouse@aol.com to pledge your support – or pop in to The Queen’s Head in person

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