Memorial to late patron will disappear with demolition of St Albans pub
PUBLISHED: 18:00 04 June 2015
A pub regular's final resting place is in jeopardy of being torn up as plans get underway to demolish the city pub where her ashes lie and turn it into housing.
Gordon Close resident, Carol McGuinness, 60, revealed she was “devastated” to hear that the owners of The Camp pub in Camp Road, McMullens & Sons, had sold the site to developers Howarth Homes at the end of March.
But she was even more shocked by the announcement as the site is home to the ashes of old friend Martha Vidler, who was a familiar face to punters.
Carol said: “Martha used to spend most of her time down The Camp, in fact she lived there more than her own home!
“She used to go in when it first opened, then nip back for an hour or so and go back in the afternoon and she would always stay for lock-ins.
“She spent her whole life there, so when she died in 2000, Ken, her husband of around 50 years, decided he wanted to put her there as she was part of the furniture.”
The ground was consecrated after Martha, 80, was cremated at West Herts Crematorium in Garston and her ashes were scattered at the back of the pub and a rose bush planted.
A plaque honouring her memory was also put up on an outer wall, backing onto Roland Street, by the pub’s previous managers and friends, and a small ceremony was also held.
The couple initially lived just further down from the pub on the opposite side of the road and eventually moved to Gordon House in Gordon Close.
Carol went on: “What is a shame is that her husband Ken lived on for a few years until his death in July 2012 and we thought that he was going to have his ashes put there too, but because he didn’t have any money he was buried in an unmarked pauper’s grave in London Road.”
Ken, who was 93 when he died, served as a sergeant in the land army in Dunkirk in the Second World War but suffered a leg injury from a bayonet which caused him trouble for the rest of his life.
Carlol said: “It seems a shame that she will be churned up from her resting place and also a shame that there will be nowhere else locally for all of us to go, particularly those who are elderly and can’t get around easily.
“The road is even named after the pub and St Albans is meant to be a historical city but apart from the Abbey and the Clock Tower we will have no heritage left and just houses and flats.”
Neither previous owners McMullens & Sons or developers Howarth Homes commented on the revelation before the Herts Advertiser’s deadline.