Brixton photographer Neil Young reports on the return of the Elm Park Tavern
Like a battered pugilist making a comeback after a long and inglorious decline, Elm Park Tavern is back on its feet and looking sprightly. Previously notable for its state of dilapidated splendour, the three hundred-year-old pub on the west side of Brockwell Park has been given some much-needed love since changing hands earlier this year. New landlord Gary has had the exterior repainted and the first stage of an internal refurbishment was completed late last week. Ravaged black vinyl has been sanded back to reveal handsome floorboards. A number of leather armchairs and a couch have taken up residence. The quizzical, faintly disgruntled mien of the place’s patron, a nameless “playwright, cad and actor” circa 1700 or so, still looks down from its familiar place on the wall. The pub is now open for business again. “It’s always going to be a traditional pub,” says Gary — “a nice place to come and have a drink.” More works are planned for later in the year, which will see the rear bar extended and the addition of a pool table, as well as seating and a barbecue for the beer garden. And Thursday night is quiz night, FYI.