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Exclusive: Caledonia to close down

Popular venue snapped up with 'offer that couldn't be refused'

Written by . Published on April 25th 2013.


Exclusive: Caledonia to close down
 

A FAILING pub which became a Liverpool success story will close for good at the end of this month after its owners were made "an offer that couldn't be refused".

It will leave its landlady without a home or job and another seven staff out of work. 

The Caledonia, on Catharine Street, was shortlisted for Live Music venue of the year at the 2012 Liverpool Music Awards and has become the home of Liverpool's vibrant Americana and bluegrass scene.

Laura King: ShockedLaura King: ShockedBut yesterday a shocked Laura King and her staff were told they have just 28 days to get out by Anchor Taverns who have sold the lease to what has turned out to be a mystery buyer.

The Caledonia has continuously operated as a public house since 1837 and sits next to the controversial Philharmonic Court scheme being built by Preston developer Marcus Worthington. Five outdated student blocks are to be replaced by two linked buildings of up to six floors and 21 Georgian terraces are to be made available for private ownership. 

Many local residents have opposed the scheme on the basis that it would house undergraduates, rather than the post-graduates and student nurses who had lived in the existing block. There have been fears among families who have made their homes on Catharine Street that this transient community would create a nuisance. 

P1010270
Last night in the bustling pub, where regulars were still unaware of the new bombshell, Ms King, 28, told Liverpool Confidential how she had built the business up from nothing three years ago, into one of the most successful community pubs in the city. 

“We will closing the pub for good on the exact third anniversary of the day I took it over. We should have been celebrating but instead I can't stop crying,” she said. 

“When I took over, the place was full of drug takers and scallies. Nobody was buying any drinks. I immediately threw them all out.

Values

“All that was here was the bar. I went out and bought all the fixtures and fittings myself.

Caledonia Liverpool
"I knew nothing then about how hard it would be. I've worked day and night, with loyal staff, to turn it into a safe, warm environment with traditional pub values. We welcome everyone from young people and families to 80-year-olds and orchestra players.” 

Filling up with tears again, Miss King went on: “This has come as a huge shock. People come up to me in the street and say 'thank you', and 'well done'. Along with the customers and the scores of musicians who play here, we have achieved so much. I won't go corporate bashing, that's for other people to do, but I am completely gutted. It's not just me without a home, it's a community.” 

P1010267From bare to bustlingThe pub closes on Sunday, May 26, with a Loose Moose String Band gig. Its fate, including the possibility of demolition, remains unknown.

Miss King said she did not think the new owners intended to reopen the premises as a pub because they had not asked to see her accounts. Rather, she thought “it would be the sort of place Starbucks might look at.” 

Marcus Worthington declined to comment.


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50 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousApril 25th 2013.

Absolute shocker! With Mello Mello possibly moving this is another nail in Liverpool;s sense of community for big business! Disgraceful.

Sentimental SapApril 25th 2013.

How can so much change so fast?

Does it start with an idea that things aren't working? They are. They were. How fast does the bottom line have to grow in order for a business to be worthy of a space? The "who cares, tear it down" attitude is distressing. Build with care...

History does not equate to old and ratty. It has warmth and artistry, and fun and a following, and just plain feels good. History keeps people here, and keeps them coming back. It brings you in, rather than closes the door in your face.



Soon they're going to run out of doors.

AnonymousApril 25th 2013.

went downhill as soon as this lot took over, lost its character and cheap drinks!

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousApril 25th 2013.

Bollocks

AnonymousApril 25th 2013.

shut it yer nonce

CastromofoApril 25th 2013.

They do like getting rid of heritage here eh. Just what we need, a cheaply built, cheaply clad prison like building. At least everything will match in the end.

AnonymousApril 25th 2013.

Unless I am mistaken, the developers would need to seek planning permission for a change of use to turn this pub into residential. Now perhaps we will see whose side the council planning department is on.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousApril 25th 2013.

best of luck with that, you only need to look at the character and distinctiveness of Liverpool city centre retail to see how much of a monkey's the council doesn't give.

AnonymousApril 25th 2013.

No surprise really as they are the same people who are the "private investment match-funders" to the big Phil redevelopment programme..

and the same people who destroyed Josephine Butler house, same people who threaten to put people in the foundation of buildings if they are opposed..Its all about back-handers and bullying.. Dont believe me? Google it!

2 Responses: Reply To This...
John BradleyApril 25th 2013.

Josephine Butler was the Maghull Group. Well helping the Phil should silence the Car Park Preservation society and the Hope Street Arts Mafia.

AnonymousMay 23rd 2013.

Utter tosh, anonymous. Although there was once a mooted scheme it was abandoned years ago, before LJMU sold the old Blind School building, and your understanding of it anyway is flawed. You're at least 5 years out of date on this, too.

AnonymousApril 25th 2013.

Sad.

tajblueApril 25th 2013.

Worthington say they are NOT the new owners. How do we find out who is?

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousApril 25th 2013.

The Land registry. The new sale isn't shown yet. Admiral

Taverns Nevada Properties Limited own a lease on it until 2019 (or di if they have sold the lease). The Freehold is (or was ) owned by Liverpool City Council. So Looks like Liverpool CIty Council have some input on this one.

AnonymousApril 25th 2013.

Very bad news. I was in there on Tuesday and had a very nice Liverpool Craft Brewery pint. It was heaving with a live music night and the Atticus Chess Club playing a team match in the room above. This is a real community venue.

This highly profitable student demolish/conversion needs to be held in check. The rooms are sold on as "investments" and the students farmed for cash. For historic buildings that get carved up in these conversions it's a one way street - they may well never be able to be converted back to any other use. And once the feels fall off these "financial vehicles" then what's the future? We have passed saturation point, this is purely driven by availability of money from banks for this kind of development. The head of Planning at LCC has stated that the student development bubble is about to burst.

Has planning already been granted with a previous student application or can this still be stopped.?

AnonymousApril 25th 2013.

I emailled Worthington and they said the Caledonia is not on their books.

Chris FaganApril 25th 2013.

Why is it always about the money and never about the community or the nurturing of the arts in a City with so much talent.... the world is overrun by number crunchers who make their fortunes out of others misfortunes.... Grrrrr!

1 Response: Reply To This...
John BradleyApril 25th 2013.

" nurturing of the arts" It also has a lot of people with talents other than the arts but has ignored them because of the vociferous nature of the, mostly mediocre artists. The arts get far more notice than the science and technological talents.

AnonymousApril 25th 2013.

Can a journalist find out what the City Council's involvement in this is? On top of the student flats fiasco in Canning there is a story here about the destruction of the once mooted Great Streets creative/cultural quarter.

AnonymousApril 25th 2013.

John Bradley needs to consider the £7.5 billion the 'mediocre' arts generate for the UK each year, what Liverpool's tourist industry is based on and the amount of money it generates- I'll tell you what it's based on- our culture and heritage- the character. As a previous consultant to the council and Liverpool tourist board I'm aware of our city's strengths and what it should be promoting. You appear to be very shortsighted, ignorant and obviously lead a bland and mediocre life with no creativity if you think its fine to denigrate all of this as opposed to support it and continue the 'development' of our city in this way. Why do you think all of the students that do come to the city want to come here in the first place? Its not because we have 10 costa coffees.

I really hope your not originally from Liverpool as I would be saddened that a resident would have these views. If your not from here I can understand why you don't seem to care that much about what makes Liverpool an amazing city and why people love it.

1 Response: Reply To This...
John BradleyApril 25th 2013.

"our culture and heritage" exactly not our arts not our current generation of poncy mediocrities. The buildings built as a result of industry, commerce, ingenuity and human sweat, art is a very minor part of culture but the term has been hijacked.

I suspect you not from Liverpool at all and can probably be seen as one of the hipsters who see their lives as performance pieces when the rest of us think of it as doing your shopping dressed like a twat.

Oh BTW £7.5 billion is 0.51% of GDP in other words about 6 months growth based on the just released figures, do you understand percentages?

AnonymousApril 25th 2013.

Not asking for donations to buy it then?

AnonymousApril 25th 2013.

ha ha- Johns hilarious!

The arts- not art John. The arts covers everything-ie all forms which are intrinsically tied into our culture.

Do you think the developments enhance our city? I'm wondering how? and when I say enhance I don't mean do they house hundreds of students and generate income. I mean- are the buildings reaally enhancing our city??

A comparison wasn't made to other sectors/industries across the UK either in percentages or otherwise. I think it would be useful to look at the figures for Liverpool alone though.

You've mentioned buildings being a result of ingenuity- oh, that would be design then? oh? yes- a branch of the arts!

1 Response: Reply To This...
John BradleyApril 25th 2013.

No the arts doesn't cover such a wide area and someone who uses ingenuity is an Engineer not an artists. No the buildings that people look at are not the result of design but as a result of people making money and needing offices. The design that goes into them is far subordinate to the engineering required to keep them up.

AnonymousApril 25th 2013.

I think the key quote here is: "The Caledonia has continuously operated as a public house since 1
37." If it was a sh*thole that attracted druggies then fine, shut it down...but it's not. It's a fun, lively put that attracts a vibrant mix of people from all walks of life. It's not aout "art". If you can't see that culture is about history, and people, and music, and conversations, then quite frankly you're myopic!

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousApril 25th 2013.

Just a moment ago.

I think the key quote here is: "The Caledonia has continuously operated as a public house since 1
37." If it was a sh*thole that attracted druggies then fine, shut it down...but it's not. It's a fun, lively put that attracts a vibrant mix of people from all walks of life. It's not about "art". If you can't see that culture is about history, and people, and music, and conversations, then quite frankly you're myopic!

AnonymousApril 25th 2013.

I went in at 1 37 and it was deserted

Seriously, Bradley was better when he was tucked away posting fascinating details of train timetables, since he broke loose from that he's been like a raging bull with piles

AnonymousApril 25th 2013.

yes - 1
37. Is that not heritage? (and culture in fact?)

AnonymousApril 26th 2013.

Don't feed the troll. John Bradley is a benighted soul and best left alone.

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/…/…

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousApril 26th 2013.

Good spot. Explains everything

Let's show him some sympathy, all is clearly not right

John BradleyApril 26th 2013.

Ad hominem way to go.

Iain ScottApril 26th 2013.

Oh Please, the bickering! Does anyone with half a brain cell or who has ever enjoyed a decent pint in a decent pub not feel totally disallusioned at the possibility of losing this beautiful historic public house. Surely planning permission is crucial. The council will be put on the spot and Camra are onto it. Please join whatever campaigns are initiated to save the Caledonian.

AnonymousApril 26th 2013.

It will be a Costa or a Starbucks. How sad.

1 Response: Reply To This...
John BradleyApril 26th 2013.

What does seem strange is they want them out so quickly.

Liverpool RenaissanceApril 26th 2013.

I'm glad I moved out of the area when I did. It's going downhill fast.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousApril 29th 2013.

That will be Brownlow Hill, which goes down towards the city centre.

AnonymousApril 27th 2013.

The Caledonia is profitable, buying beer from, and paying rent to Admiral. The sale is totaly against the new code of practice for pub companies.

Liverpool wagApril 28th 2013.

Makes their claim to be a community pub company completely cynical.

J Mark DoddsApril 28th 2013.

This is happening to pubs all over the UK - it's a national disgrace.

Typical bad decisions based on money grabbing short term scamming pubco's and shoddy property developers who don't give a flying eff for anything other than trousering loads of cash for doing very little.

The landlady could do with putting up a fight - and locals and the wider community should put their weight behind a campaign to stop this utter outrage from happening.

Get local politicians involved immediately. If they aren't interested demand to know why they aren't supporting a local community hub.

Local and national CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) need to be contacted.

Plunkett Foundation and Coop may be able to offer some advice.

Use the Localism Act 2011 and apply to the Local Authority to get the pub listed as an Asset of Community Value.

If anyone's interested I may be able to bring some focus on this from wider afield but people on the ground have to be prepared to put some time and energy in or else the money people will get everything they want.

J Mark DoddsApril 28th 2013.

The local authority can apply Article 4 Direction powers to the pub which will mean planning permission will HAVE to be applied for.

Have a look at: web camra [dot] org [dot] fwdslash planning

J Mark DoddsApril 28th 2013.

On the other hand IF the Local Authority was the freeholder who sold it to the developer there's a bit of serious dodgy dealings going on.

Merton did a similar thing with the Mordern Tavern

www.wimbledonsw19.com/default.asp…
;page=campaigntosavemordentavern.htm

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