Brexit trading slump blamed for closure of gastropub loved by Nigella Lawson

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A disastrous slump in trade since the Brexit vote has been blamed for the abrupt closure of an award-winning London gastropub that counted Nigella Lawson and food writer Tom Parker Bowles among its fans.

The owners of The Princess Victoria in Shepherd’s Bush, which first opened in 1829, said they had been forced to close it because of a “fatal” 20 per cent drop in takings over the past year during political and economic turmoil.

The pub shut a fortnight ago along with sister venues the Lady Ottoline pub in Bloomsbury and the Dickie Fitz restaurant in Fitzrovia, with the loss of 80 jobs.

A fourth venue — the Henry Root in Chelsea — was quietly closed six months ago. They were all owned by the independent operator Affinity Bars and Restaurants, set up eight years ago by City shipbroker Richard Fulford-Smith.

He told the Tradewinds newsletter: “The fatal Brexit vote heralded the start of a different economic cycle for the UK and London in particular. We suspected it would hurt us and it has.”

As well as the downturn in takings the company found it increasingly hard to recruit staff since the referendum. Other factors included rent increases of up to 50 per cent and hikes in business rates.

The Facebook page of the Princess Victoria said on the day of the closure: “Our higher-ups have decided that we need to close with immediate effect. Lots of hard-working, dedicated staff have lost their jobs.”

Nigella Lawson posted an Instagram picture of herself last year enjoying food at the pub with Anthony Bourdain, a fellow judge on The Taste TV series. 

Simon Wainwright, another director of Affinity, said last month’s general election result had been “the final straw” that forced closure.


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