Tributes paid to St Albans restaurateur who owned the Black Lion

Former St Albans pub landlord, Ken O'Gorman, has passed away aged 85. Picture: Supplied

Former St Albans pub landlord, Ken O'Gorman, has passed away aged 85. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

A well-loved former St Albans chef and restaurateur has died at the age of 85.

Ken O'Gorman, who owned the Black Lion, passed away on Friday, October 18.

He owned the pub at the end of Fishpool Street from 1973 until 1984.

Ken was born in London's Hackney where he grew up until he was evacuated to Stotfold in Bedfordshire at the age of five.

Later he owned four butcher shops in the capital and sold them to open a gourmet restaurant in St Albans.

When Ken sold the hotel in 1984 he remained in St Albans, building himself Ver Cottage near to the hotel in St Michael's village.

He met his partner Barbara Kelly and they opened the Cafe Des Amis tea room in Market Place, St Albans.

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His close friend Roy Scott said: "As soon as Ken opened his superb restaurant 46 years ago, my brothers and I have remained friends with him in business and socially. Although he moved half a dozen times after he met up with Barbara, Ken and I were fierce Arsenal versus Spurs football fans which ensured plenty of friendly banter."

Ken, who was also the owner of Selby Football Club, joked: "He always saw the good in people, even if they were Tottenham fans."

Throughout his adult life he moved to Mudeford, Milford-On-Sea, Westbourne and Spain then finally to Peterborough - where he died with his grandaughter Holly at his side, after suffering a stroke.

Barbara, his partner for more than 30 years, also has family and friends still in St Albans.

Barbara said: "Ken was my rock and my best friend. The way we were together was completely unique.

"No words can say how much I am missing him. His memory will always live on in my heart and in our children and grandchildren. The family have been a huge support."

As well as his love of cooking and entertaining, Ken also enjoyed driving his Mercedes, his favourite car.

Ken leaves behind three sons - Jeremy, Timothy and Simon and daughter Sarah, as well as two step-daughters, Michelle and Lisa. He also leaves grandchildren.

Ken's funeral will be held at The Church of St Kyneburgha in Peterborough from 11am on Tuesday, November 5.