From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 18th May, 1973, page 1.
Storm brewing over pubs plan
Regulars at two Mitcham pubs are ready to put their backs to the bar and fight a bid by the brewers to evict their licensees.
At the Bucks Head in the Fair-green, Mrs Ivy Garner has been told to quit after 20 years.
At the Fountain in Western Road, Mr John Brown, whose family have run the pub for 42 years, has been told he must be out by September or sooner if possible.
The changes are part of a general trend towards managers. A spokesman for the brewers, Bass Charrington, said: “When we spend large sums of money on a pub it would put up the rent beyond the means of the average tenant and so we have to go in for managers.”
He added that a manager would be going into the Fountain, which was included in a council redevelopment plan and big changes will be made at the Bucks Head which could well mean a manager there as well.
A third tenant will also be moving. Charringtons say Mr Alf Pays of the Beehive in Commonside-east has asked to be released from his tenancy agreement but Mr Pays, who is 74, will neither admit or deny this. All he is prepared to say is that he is having negotiations with the brewers.
Signatures are being collected for three separate petitions and Fountain regular Mr Peter Wiseman warned that if the worst comes the worst he will park his mechanical shovel outside the door to stop John Brown being turned out.
He said John is the greatest publican in Mitcham. He’s lived in this pub all his life and he is getting a raw deal. I aim to top my petition with he names of all the landlords in Mitcham.
Mr Brown said he’s not moving until he has a new home. “I’m negotiating with the brewers for compensation but they haven’t offered me enough and at the same time I am looking for somewhere else to live but until both of these are settled I’m not budging and while I’m here it will be business as usual.”
Mrs Garmer thought it would be fairer if Bass Charrington adopted Courage Barclay’s policy. She said: “Courage are putting in managers as well but they wait until the tenants retires. I’m 59 so they wouldn’t have long to wait.”
One of the regulars who is signing the petition is Mr Charlie Harvey, manager of a nearby engineering equipment shop. “I know just what happens when a manager goes in because of my local in Richmond the tenant has just been made a manager and the place is not the same anymore. Once it used to be home, now it’s a business.”
If Alf Pays moves from the Beehive, Mitcham will not only lose its best known publican – he’s been there for 43 years and his father had the pub before him but it would also lose a charitable institution.
He helps to raise money for children, nurses and old folk.
Chairman of the Pollards Oak Fishing Club, who use the club room at the pub, Mr Bill Haynes, is organising the petition there. He said they can’t get rid of Alf, he’s part of the establishment.”