Founding CAMRA pub is on the market

The Farriers Arms, where the first meeting of CAMRA was held.

The Farriers Arms, where the first meeting of CAMRA was held. - Credit: CAMRA

The city centre pub where the Campaign for Real Ale was founded in 1972 is up for sale.

The Farriers Arms in Lower Dagnall Street is on the market with LLH Solutions Ltd for £725,000, with a note that change of use may be possible subject to planning permission.

The marketing information describes it as a well-maintained business which was scaled back post-pandemic, but has a huge growth potential and offers a great opportunity.

The building became a pub until 1920, having previously been a shop and a butchers, and was owned by Hertford brewer McMullen until 2013 when they sold it to the sitting tenant Tony Passmore, who now wants to retire.

The plaque on the side of The Farriers Arms marking the first meeting of CAMRA.

The plaque on the side of The Farriers Arms marking the first meeting of CAMRA. - Credit: Roger Protz

The plaque on the side of The Farriers Arms marking the first meeting of CAMRA.

The plaque on the side of The Farriers Arms marking the first meeting of CAMRA. - Credit: Roger Protz

It bears a plaque saying the first branch of CAMRA was formed there in November 1972, and it remains the oldest surviving branch in Britain.

A plaque was mounted outside the Farriers to celebrate the fact that the branch was formed there, but this wasn’t well made and after a few years most of the letters had fallen off. Fortunately McMullen came to the rescue and erected a better quality plaque that has survived to this day. 

Herts Ad beer writer and former editor of the Good Beer Guide Roger Protz said: "The Farriers Arms is a superb pub with roots in its local community, serving good food and drink. It also has a special place in the history of CAMRA, with its head office in St Albans.

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"As a plaque on the pub wall says, the first branch of the Campaign for Real Ale was formed there in November 1972. At that time, fewer than 100 pubs in the whole of Hertfordshire sold real ale. Today around 85 percent of Herts pubs serve real ale and the inspiration is the Farriers. This pub must survive."

Cllr Jacqui Taylor has joined the fight: “When the Great Northern pub was threatened with a planning application to build flats on its beer garden, I helped locals put together a bid for Asset of Community Value status. An ACV is a material planning consideration in the change of use.

"Whilst there were many other sound reasons to reject the planning application on the pub garden of the Great Northern, an ACV is an added protection and rightly recognises the part a pub plays in the social well-being of the community.

"If locals or CAMRA want me to help advise how to put together an ACV bid for the Farriers - or any other pub, I’m happy to help. It’s important we look after our pubs as part of our heritage and community.”

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