Comment: Sad times as St Albans faces the loss of another pub

The Farriers Arms on Lower Dagnall Street, St Albans, is on the market. 

The Farriers Arms on Lower Dagnall Street, St Albans, is on the market. - Credit: Google Street View

Times – and pubs – change and it looks like another of our historic boozers could be on the way out.

The Farriers Arms is the latest St Albans pub to come up for sale, with an ominous note in the particulars that "change of use may be possible STPP". 

This pub was the venue for the first branch meeting of the Campaign for Real Ale in 1972, an occasion marked by a blue plaque. Surely it can't be turned into flats (small ones, as there are only two bedrooms upstairs)?

It's nearly 20 years since I first moved to St Albans and in that time many pubs have been lost. Those that immediately spring to mind are the Duke of Marlborough on Holywell Hill and the Black Lion and Blue Anchor on Fishpool Street.

While some, such as the Cricketers on St Peter's Street and the Tudor Tavern on George Street have been transformed into restaurants, most have been converted into residential properties or, in the most extreme cases (such as The Camp on Camp Road) bulldozed and turned into – yes – flats. 

In 2018 it was announced that more than a quarter of the pubs in St Albans district had closed since 2001, dropping from 130 to 95. But the decline isn't limited to this century.

There are many more lost pubs from way back, like this week's Property Spotlight, a lovely, historic home that was once known as the Jolly Maltster. Go back far enough and it seems that every other building on Holywell Hill and Fishpool Street was once an inn. 

Here's hoping that this one will find new owners keen to maintain its pub status and keep this important piece of St Albans history alive.