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Historic Ilford pub hopes to re-open in December 2018

PUBLISHED: 18:04 28 September 2018 | UPDATED: 18:04 28 September 2018

The Cauliflower pub in Ilford. Picture: Steve Poston

The Cauliflower pub in Ilford. Picture: Steve Poston

Archant

The owner of an Ilford pub where a fire broke out says the venue will re-open in December.

The pub was known as a Victorian gin palace . Picture: Ajay NairThe pub was known as a Victorian gin palace . Picture: Ajay Nair

In July 2018, firefighters battled a blaze at The Cauliflower pub, High Road, Ilford, and the building has remained closed ever since.

The London Fire Brigade launched an investigation into the cause of the incident which was then passed on to the police.

A Met Police spokesman said their inquiries have concluded and no arrests were made.

Concerned residents wrote to the Recorder fearing their beloved local would not open its doors again.

Owner Reiss Matto said he loves the building. Picture Reiss MattoOwner Reiss Matto said he loves the building. Picture Reiss Matto

However, proprietor Reiss Valentino Matto confirmed that “minimal external damage” was sustained in the fire and he took the opportunity to “restore the venue”.

“It was closed for a month and we thought we might as well take a bit longer for the refurbishment and do the things that you can’t do when you have customers walking in every day,” he said.

“It’s a general restoration - it’s a Grade II listed building - and it needed an overhaul.

“We are working with Redbridge’s conservation department to restore it back to its former glory.”

The pub still has original fittings from the 1900s. Picture: Ajay NairThe pub still has original fittings from the 1900s. Picture: Ajay Nair

Originally named The Cauliflower Hotel, the present building replaced an earlier public house on the same site.

Plans lodged with the Redbridge Record Office by Waterman and Lewis of Cullum Street, London, are dated 1897, and the building was erected by 1900, as reported at the time in the Ilford Recorder and American Architect and Building News.

The pub was given Grade II status as it was of architectural interest with an imposing street presence and it was a good example of the “opulent gin places” of the 1900s and retained authentic and extensive decorative detail and fittings.

The former stables, pot house and urinal to the rear of the building are not of “special interest” and were excluded from the Grade II listing.

“We are not going anytime soon -I have been there for too long,” he added.

“I love that building. I bought it when it was derelict.

“I didn’t realise till recently how many people had emailed the pub asking us if it was going to close.

“We plan to open in early December in time for Christmas.”

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