Once one of the very few (legal) late bars in Brixton, the Harmony Bar on Railton Road is now advertised as ‘To Let’ after a large redevelopment plan was turned down by Lambeth planning.
Older Brixtonites will recall the pub as one that was friendly, open very late and very mixed (although not without the odd problem or two, as the airport scanner at the entrance might testify!).
[The George pub in 1975 – Lambeth Landmark]
The Harmony Bar (formerly known as Mingles, and briefly La’ Pearl before closure) replaced the George Pub which burned down in the 1981 Brixton Riots, as urban75’s ‘Then And Now feature‘ notes:
By the 1970s, Railton Road had become a run down inner city area, known locally as ‘The Frontline’. The area was the epicentre for the 1981 Brixton Riots, during which the George was burnt down and several other buildings damaged.
The landlord of The George was a notorious racist and had been reported to the Race Relations Board in 1966. His racist attitudes towards local blacks had been an issue for protesters throughout the 60s and 70s, which made the pub a deserving attack during the riots.
After the pub was burnt down, the South London Press noted that it was, “undoubtedly an act of revenge for years of racial discrimination.” Race and Racism
The now-closed pub at 82 Railton Road, SE24 0LD was the subject of an ambitious planning application by Anthony Thomas (who has links with Dogstar owners, Antic) which would have seen major changes made to the building, as detailed in the case summary:
Re-construction of the existing part single part three storey building to provide 8 residential units at first, second and third floor levels and two commercial units of restaurant (Use Class A3) and drinking establishment (Use Class A4) use at ground , and basement levels involving part demolition of the existing building and reconstruction including the enlargement of the existing basement, the construction of a four storey extension to the side and three additional storeys above existing single , storey on corner of Railton Road and Effra Parade incorporating a mansard roof together with alterations to windows and doors in the existing elevations and, the provision of cycle parking and refuse storage and as well as communal (garden) and private , (balconies) amenity space.
M A Champion, the Planning Inspector, backed the local residents in his Appeal Decision report [PDF file] of the 11th June 2013, commenting:
I conclude, therefore, that the proposed development would adversely affect the character and appearance of the street scene and surrounding area as well as the living conditions of neighbouring residents by way of increased visual impact, overlooking and loss of privacy, contrary to the policies cited above.