Awesome Places That London Lost In 2019

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 6 months ago
Awesome Places That London Lost In 2019

In the past 12 months, London has lost beloved boozers, restaurants, car parks and even train franchises. Let's take a minute to remember the places and things that have gone — and look forward to some of those which promise to be reincarnated.

The Water Poet

Image: The Water Poet

This sprawling Shoreditch boozer was inevitably rammed every Friday night, punters spilling out into the courtyard and cramming into every nook and cranny. Though the site's now in the hands of developers, the folks behind the beloved pub have suggested a Water Poet 2.0 is on the cards. In the meantime, their other pub, the Crown and Shuttle, is just across the way, and is very decent too.

Tiroler Hut

Josef at the Hut in 1972. Image: Tiroler Hut

August brought the sad tidings that London's legendary Austrian restaurant, Tiroler Hut, had been ravaged by flames. No one was hurt in the blaze, but the Westbourne Grove joint was badly damaged, and owner Josef Friedman's beloved collection of brass instruments and cowbells was lost. A GoFundMe campaign has since seen Josef's instruments replaced, and Tiroler Hut is already putting on events — with the hope of opening a new restaurant in the future.

Virgin trains

Image: Virgin

Not a place, we know, although for 12 years, Virgin trains were a fixture of Euston station. In the end, even Richard Branson's perma-smile couldn't stop their demise. While 2018 saw the train franchise lose the East Coast line, in December 2019, the West Coast went too. No more Tilt beer. No iffy Wi-Fi connections (well, that's what its successor promises). No more gags about flushing goldfish and your ex's sweater down the toilet. How will we survive? Avanti is already here — and as much as it promises an improved service, its dull-as-ditchwater livery doesn't exactly have us dancing with excitement.

TfL's Baker Street Lost Property Office

Image: TfL

With its window display of misplaced phones, Beatles records and a Paddington Bear, TfL's Lost Property Office was always more alluring than the Sherlock Holmes Museum across the road. In October, it packed up all those lost umbrellas and prosthetic limbs, shifting to a new premises neat South Kensington. The new one isn't open to the public either; unless you've mislaid your vibrator on the Bakerloo line and are brave enough to ask for it back.

Welbeck Street Car Park

Image: Af Munyama in the Londonist Flickr pool

Londonist? Shed tears over a car park? You bet. Welbeck Street Car Park wasn't any old place to park up the Mondeo, you see — it was a diamond-pattered geometric gem created by Eric Parry Architects. Though the brutalist masterpiece is still standing at the time of writing, it awaits imminent flattening, whereupon it'll be replaced by a luxury hotel. Shame on those half-arsed architects who couldn't find a way to work this stunning facade into their plans.

Winterville

Image: Winterville

Not so much as closed down, as didn't make a reappearance. Winterville had gradually established itself as an alternative to Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland over the years, but perhaps there's only so many spendy fairground rides and chocolate dipped churros you can flog to Joe Public. Although Winterville hasn't necessarily breathed its last frosty breath, don't hold out too much hope for a future incarnation.

The Magic Roundabout

Image: Magic Roundabout

The rambling bar, which first appeared in the middle of Old Street Roundabout in 2015, actually only lasted a few hours into 2019. Its send-off was a New Year's Eve party, before regeneration work commenced on Silicon Roundabout. The team behind the fleeting venture also run the Good Mixer in Camden and Peckham Levels; go and enjoy one of them instead.

The National Portrait Gallery

Image: Shutterstock

Fear not: the National Portrait Gallery hasn't closed per se. But in November 2019, the shock announcement came that Trafalgar Square's second-best gallery will shut up shop for three years (from June 2020), so that extensive renovations can take place. Better cram in your fix of framed faces while you can.

Honourable mentions

Angel Road station has made way for Meridian Water. Image: Matt Buck in the Londonist Flickr pool

Hackney's Rawduck was a place we liked to go and sink a natural wine or two, while sampling fermented dishes and small plates cooked behind the counter (the place never served raw duck). The restaurant closed "due to challenging market conditions".

Opening as Edmonton station in 1840, Angel Road station closed down some 179 years later. If you're thinking that this is no time to start closing down train stations, Angel Road has been replaced with the new Meridian Water station, just 500 yards south. Phew.

The Lady magazine, based in London since 1885, moved from its Covent Garden base in October. According to a sign in its window, the publication has shifted to 'the country', although 'Borehamwood industrial park' is more accurate.

If you say so.

Camden's Buck Street Market managed three decades of trading t shirts with the Smiths printed on them, before finally giving up the ghost. In all honesty, it was never our favourite part of Camden. Even one of the traders described feeling "ecstatic" at the market's closure.

Claw in Soho and Monty's Deli in Shoreditch both closed their (seemingly successful) restaurants, moving instead into London's thriving food hall game. While we can all still enjoy their dishes, we do wonder whether this sort of behaviour heralds a sea change in the restaurant biz.

Last Updated 17 December 2019