Lewisham’s Ravensbourne Arms could reopen as community music venue

Ravensbourne Arms
The Ravensbourne Arms has been closed for four years

Lewisham’s closed Ravensbourne Arms pub could reopen as a community-run music venue if a Deptford record shop’s ambitious campaign is successful.

The pub closed in October 2016, shortly after pub and property company Antic secured planning permission for flats above the bar on Lewisham High Street. The bar closed when Antic sold the property.

Now the closed pub is up for sale again, and Sister Midnight Records, a shop and music venue, wants to raise the funds to buy it and “transform it into a thriving community-owned space with a strong focus on live music”.

The plan would see Sister Midnight, which opened in 2018, leave its current premises in Tanners Hill and convert itself into a not-for-profit community benefit society.

A similar model was used in 2013 to reopen The Ivy House in Nunhead, which became London’s first co-operatively owned pub after being saved from developers. Regulars and neighbours can buy shares and have a say in how the pub is run.

The Ivy House community raised £1 million through loans and grants to buy the pub; buying the Ravensbourne, on the market for £700,000, would be likely to require a similar sum.

“The Ravensbourne Arms has been empty since 2016, and is currently on the market. We think it would be an ideal space for a community-owned live music pub for Lewisham, where we can continue to provide a vital platform for musicians and creatives in south east London,” Sister Midnight says.

As a first step, Sister Midnight Records is asking people interested in its plans to fill out a consultation on its website.

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