Monday, 18 September 2017

Is the consultation about the future of Alperton's 'The Boat' a secret?

The regeneration proposals for Minavil House and the former Midland Bank/The Plough pub sites at Alperton have attracted opposition  LINK so that may explain why a consultation about the future of The Boat (formerly The Pleasure Boat) 346 Ealing Road has been very low profile to say the least.

Rumour has it that this site is destined to be more flats and it is unclear whether like The Plough developers will want to retain some kind of public house or community facility.  Few would deny that the pub is run down at present (see below) but it has historic interest as the starting point for pleasure cruises along the Grand Union Canal in the 1850s.

The consultation is at Peppermint Point (previously Middlesex House) which is between Sainsbury's and the canal.

Wednesday September 20th 2.30pm-8pm at Brent Play Association, Peppermint Point

Thursday September 21st  3.30pm-8pmat Brent Play Association, Peppermint Point


This is what the website InsideTrack had to say about The Boat in 2014:
The area around Alperton Station is fairly industrial, with lots of small factory type units on the surrounding roads. The Pleasure Boat is a short walk along Ealing Road. If you head towards the big green tower block, you can’t miss it!

I think perhaps the best way to describe The Pleasure Boat is forlorn. The interior of the pub is rather non-descript and bleak, with little or no decorations on the white walls where the paint has started to peel and discolour in places. The seating is also suitably basic and weathered.  The pub was empty when we arrived, adding to the air of desolation. It only opens three days a week, Thursdays to Saturdays from 6pm onwards,  further suggesting this is not a pub in the best of health.

It also advertises a garden beside the Grand Union canal. Surrounded by broken tables and with weeds threatening to invade the patio area, this too has seen better days. Oddly enough, an area of it now seems to have been given over to a hand car wash – a business you assume is open more frequently than the pub.

At the front of the pub there is another outside seating area, so we chose to go there. It backs onto a rather busy road so it isn’t the nicest spot either. There was no ale available so from the limited selection available, I went for a Budweiser.  A few people had arrived by the time we left so it wasn’t completely deserted, it still didn’t suggest the Disco, which was starting at 8pm, would be busy in any way.

With its limited opening hours and small clientele, I wouldn’t bet on the Pleasure Boat still being open by the time I finish this blog.  And while it pains me to see any pub close, this is clearly one that has run aground and in need of some fresh ideas and direction. Sadly its position on the edge of a main road and surrounded by industrial parks makes me feel there won’t be a queue of people lining up to take it on.
But maybe there is a queue of developers...


Anonymous said...

Had me worried for a minute. I thought this was the Fox and Goose, a very handsome (and similar-looking) pub nearer to the gyratory. Pity that this one has ended up like this.
Mike Hine

Philip Grant said...

I don't think that the consultation is a "secret", as a representative of the developers, Regent Land & Developments, wrote to the Secretary of Wembley History Society (as a community organisation which might be interested) on 6 September, inviting us to the consultation event on 20 September.

The email said that this would be:
'... an opportunity to meet the project team and discuss the plans ahead of wider consultation and prior to the submission of a planning application to LB Brent.

By way of a background, our plans for the site include an improved canal-side pub and restaurant alongside high quality homes for local people and new, affordable workspace. We also intend to deliver significant improvements to the public realm and frontage along the Grand Union Canal.'

This sounds encouraging (although most developers have a PR company which will try to give that impression), and although I will not be attending the consultation, I have replied with the following comments on the history aspects of the "Pleasure Boat" site:-

'I am pleased to read that your plans for the "Boat" / "Pleasure Boat" site include a canal-side pub and restaurant and improvements to the public realm and frontage along the canal. That is a key part of the historic character of this location, and something which I hope your new development will help to celebrate. I would hope that the building or landscaping designs for the pub and its canal-side frontage can include a plaque or artwork which helps to tell the story of the site, so that as well as enjoying the new facilities, patrons and visitors can also take in its historical context.

The Grand Junction Canal through Alperton opened in 1801, and the Pleasure Boat (originally a beer shop) was in existence by 1851. The pub took its name from the pleasure boat trips that used to be run along the canal (2/6d return fare from Paddington Basin in Victorian times). Until 1866 it provided the family home for a well-known local entrepreneur and brick and tile manufacturer, Henry Haynes (1831-1910), whose tile works were on the opposite side of the canal from the pub.

At the height of his career, Haynes owned 70 of the 100 buildings in Alperton, and employed most of the village's 150 workers, even paying them for a time in his own coinage, which could only be spent in the shops and pubs he owned. His business card described him as 'a boat builder, wheelwright, wharfinger and supplier of building materials, coal and coke,' and the canal was at the centre of his local "empire". (He also fathered 21 children, with his Irish wife).

The canal wharves at Alperton were active until at least the early 1950's, and people could also hire rowing boats for leisure activities on the canal. So the site has a very interesting history (with a number of old photographs in the Wembley History Society Collection at Brent Archives, that could be used to illustrate it) which I hope can be shared through your new development.'

The email address for comments on the proposals for this site is:


Martin Francis said...

Thanks Philip. I searched the Brent Council website for details in vain and then the wider internet. I have seen no flyers or other publicity about the consultation. A telephone call and email to the PR company (Four Communications) drew no response so your information is invaluable.

Anonymous said...

As a local resident, I have received a flying through my letterbox detailing the consultation so I don't think it is genuine to call it secret. The letter also says that the intention is to retain a pub in the site.

Martin Francis said...

I have posted an updated blog with the leaflet details another resident sent me

I still haven't received a response from the PR company requesting more details of the proposal.

'Secret' may be incorrect and perhaps 'not very well publicised' might be better.

Unknown said...

Hi. I'm hoping to start a Dementia Café in the pub on a Saturday afternoon in January 2019. If anyone would like to help out or have more information they can contact me at Gabby - Dementia Café Coordinator Brent.

Peter S said...

Henry Haynes is my great-great grandfather