The Sekforde, Clerkenwell

I sketched The Sekforde, sitting on a step on the other side of the road.

The Sekforde, 34 Sekforde St, EC1R 0HA

The pub was closed today. It looked like a good pub. While I was sketching I received confirmation of this. Two portly men strolled past, paused, and asked me if I was waiting for the pub to open. I said I wasn’t because I guessed I was going to have to wait a long time. The men agreed, and informed me it was a good pub, and has “been here a long time”. As they retreated, one of them called back, “I was here when it opened!”

This is unlikely. This is a Georgian pub. It opened in 1829.

Back home I found out a lot more about the pub, and was then keen to visit it when it re-opens. It is privately owned, says its website, and “we aim to be an instrument of change within Britain and the world”. They do that by hosting lectures and debates on “some of the most difficult political, moral and scientific subjects of our time”. How have I not encountered them before?

They also donate all the profits to the Sekforde House Trust, an educational charity. It offers scholarships to students each year: the Sekforde Scholars. According to the Islington Tribune (2017)* this generosity is inspired by the owner’s grandmother, “eminent scientist Kathleen Lonsdale, who was from a poor Irish family but was awarded a scholarship to university in London when she was 16″.

The place underwent a redevelopment from 2015 to 2018. There is a guest suite, very modern, which is let out on AirBnB.

Here is a sketch map showing where the pub is, in case you also would like to go there, when it re-opens, for a pint and a debate:

*Islington Tribune (2017) describes the refurbishment by David Lonsdale, who bought the pub in 2015. He is a property lawyer, and lives in the area, they say.

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