Call for London’s pubs to receive UN protectionBy Rupert Millar
Students from London’s Kingston University are applying to get London’s pubs UNESCO world heritage status.
Spurred on by the CAMRA statistics that say the UK is losing 12 pubs a week, some 400 students of interior design, architecture and landscape architecture are preparing the necessary 350-page document that they will submit to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.
When it is completed in the next nine months, the students hope it will become the first step in getting protected status from the United Nations.
Kingston tutor, David Knight, explained: “UNESCO has a tradition of listing so-called serial sites, from prehistoric caves in France to modernist housing estates in Berlin.
We’re not focusing on the fixtures and fittings but rather on the role a pub plays in a community and what it means to the people who use it.”
Head of School, Daniel Rosbottom, added: “People normally expect protection to apply to Stonehenge, the city of Bath or the pyramids,” he said. “But it also applies to the cultural character of a place.”
UNESCO also protects what it terms “intangible” heritage, from Cypriot poetic duelling, Croatian gingerbread craft, Spanish flamenco dancing and even French gastronomy.
As such the students believe that protecting London’s pubs is on a par with the protection of Vienna’s coffee house culture.