Latest BBC Feature: Squatters take over one of London’s oldest pubs

“Is there any beer left?,” I asked. “Wishful thinking” came the reply.

One of the oldest pubs in London said to have been visited over the last 300 years by everyone from Sir Christopher Wren to Dylan Thomas, Bob Marley and Catherine Middleton, has been taken over by a group of 17 squatters.

The Cross Keys in Lawrence Street, Chelsea, west London, was until a few months ago a popular pub with a roaring trade in Sunday lunches.

Now a bag of dog food and loo rolls sit incongruously on the counter where the restaurant crockery still rests.

‘Hobo Hilton’

The Chesterfield sofas next to open fires in the bar, once coveted by eager groups of paying punters, form part of the squatters’ personal club room.

The mezzanine gallery area which was once hired out for private parties is their dormitory, sheets hanging down from the ceiling suggest a flimsy sense of privacy.

“Do you mind? This is our bedroom,” says a tall lanky young man.

But that is a point of contention. One man’s bedroom is another man’s valuable real estate.

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