John Young Memorial Award 2013
Steve Barnes and Will Williams, who ran the Wenlock Arms near Old Street, for many years have won the John Young Memorial Award 2013. This award is given annually by London CAMRA to a person or organisation who has done the most for beer and/or pubs within London.
John Young, the chairman of Young's Brewery who died in 2006, was well regarded as an advocate of good beer and pubs. He famously banned keg beers from Young's pubs long before CAMRA came on to the scene. To celebrate his memory, the London branches of CAMRA make an annual award to acknowledge publicly an individual or organisation that they believe has done the most for real ale and/or pubs within the Greater London area.
The Wenlock was one of the first pubs in London to sell beer from small independent brewers at a time when this was practically unknown. But it was not just the approach to breweries that was unusual, it was the promotion of different beer styles, many of which were not well known. Mild, a particular favourite of Steve's was a style that was almost never seen in the Capital since Fuller's gave up regularly brewing a mild called Hock (their tasting rooms are still known as the Hock Cellar!).
Their commitment to great beer quality has been repeatedly acknowledged. It wasn't long from the pub opening to making its first appearance in CAMRA's Good Beer Guide (in 1994) and was a continual entry until Steve and Will announced the fact that were retiring and selling the pub a couple of years ago. The Wenlock also won CAMRA London's Cider Pub of the Year Award and the North London Branch Pub of the Year Award four times.
John Cryne, CAMRA North London Chairman said 'Throughout Steve and Will's ownership, the pub remained everything that is good about a back street boozer, welcoming locals and visitors alike and offering good solid food in its door step sandwiches - probably the best salt beef ones in North London. It also had darts and cricket teams. The pub gained a worldwide reputation with supporters coming out of the woodwork from the USA when the pub was under threat of demolition. Not many pubs can say that!'
The Award was presented at the Wenlock Arms, 26 Wenlock Rd, London N1 7TA on Monday 25th November by no other than the nephew of John Young, Torquil Sligo-Young.