Liquidated St Albans foraging pub making one last hurrah to go for award

PUBLISHED: 17:58 30 July 2019 | UPDATED: 18:07 30 July 2019

The Verulam Arms on Lower Dagnall Street in St Albans. Picture: Archant

The Verulam Arms on Lower Dagnall Street in St Albans. Picture: Archant

Archant

A city centre pub which closed last week is hoping for one last hurrah by gunning for a "posthumous" award.

George Fredenham from The Verulam Arms on a foraging walk. Picture: DANNY LOOGeorge Fredenham from The Verulam Arms on a foraging walk. Picture: DANNY LOO

The Verulam Arms on Lower Dagnall Street declared insolvency overnight between July 25-26, to the shock of the local community.

Before it went under the pub had been nominated for Best Pub in the St Albans Food and Drink Festival Awards 2019 - and the former owners hope it is still in with a chance.

A Facebook post has now asked people to vote if they support independent pubs over chains, flavour over blandness, and independents over chains.

The Verulam Arms had been included in a favourite local pub list in The Guardian and in Britain's 20 best pubs for foodies list by the Times.

Richard Osmond  from The Verulam Arms on a foraging walk. Picture: DANNY LOORichard Osmond from The Verulam Arms on a foraging walk. Picture: DANNY LOO

When the pub went into liquidation, more than 10 staff became redundant and unpaid for a month's work. It was owned by George Fredenham and Richard Osmond.

Richard said: "The absolute worst thing about what happened is having to make everybody redundant overnight, and making them wait for their last paycheck.

"These hardworking people didn't deserve that - in fact, they are the best team we have ever had."

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Richard wanted to "go out with a bang rather than a whimper".

"Wouldn't it be amazing if, instead of shuffling off sadly into liquidation, this beloved local pub and wild food destination was able rise from beyond the grave for one last night of glory and celebration?" he said.

There are a host of other pubs in the running, including Great Northern Pub, The Boot and The Horn. Ye Olde Fighting Cocks won the title for 2018.

Owners of The Verulam Arms were known for offering Foraging Walk and Feast events in St Albans and it has now been confirmed that the scheduled bookings will still go ahead in all the turmoil.

Patron Frank Casey described the pub's closure as "heartbreaking".

"It's another pub, in a city that is renowned for its pubs, that is gone.

"The only people to blame are the people who haven't used it."

Head of community services at St Albans council, Joe Tavernier, said an independent steering group usually moderate the award finalists by visiting the business, but that will not be possible for The Verulam Arms.

He said: "We'll be talking to them about this situation and what to do in this case."

Vote in the awards by 10am on August 5 at stalbanscouncil.wufoo.com/forms/z22xnrv0wsilrn/

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