This May, the historic Magdala Tavern in Hampstead opened its doors once again after seven long years of closure, with experienced landlord Dick Morgan at the helm pouring pints of craft ales.
Known locally as ‘The Magy’, the much-loved tavern has a long and illustrious history as a local watering hole. Most notably it was here that Ruth Ellis, infamous for being the last woman to be hanged in the UK, shot her boyfriend Desmond Cussen in 1955. Skipping forward a few years, in 2014 despite protest from the community, the Magdala Tavern was closed and for many years was at risk of re-development. Dick, who also owns the Sussex Arms in Twickenham and the Express Tavern in Kew, was able to take over the lease in 2019, and has been hard at work ever since, bringing modern touches to the pub whilst carefully retaining its historic character, making it an idea historical spot for a refreshing drink after a long walk on the heath.
Dick says, “I was born and grew up in Hampstead, and my grandad lived opposite the Magdala Tavern, so re-opening the pub is a real homecoming. We’ve been really careful to add a few modern details while keeping the old pub’s heart alive. The most important aspect of any good pub is the community around it – we’re really looking forward to welcoming everyone for a quiet coffee and a read of the papers, a reunion lunch with the whole family, or a few pints at the bar with friends”.