Gordon Ramsay pub squatters open venue as community cafe 'for victims of gentrification'

The York and Albany pub (PA)
The York and Albany pub (PA)

A group of squatters who are occupying a Gordon Ramsay pub in north London have opened the venue as a community cafe.

They say the Grade II-listed building is being turned into an art space.

At least six “professional squatters” entered Ramsay’s York and Albany pub, on the edge of Regent’s Park, early last week.

Ramsay is reported to have called the police last Wednesday to have them removed, but Met officers refused to attend due to the occupation being a “civil matter”.

The squatters posted a notice to the pub’s window explaining that the building is not a “residential property” and therefore they are not breaching the law by squatting. The notice also threatens legal action against anyone who attempts to remove them.

In a statement released to Freedom News, the collective of squatters detailed their plans to rename the space as “Camden Art Cafe.”

“We aim to open our doors regularly to anyone and everyone,” the statement says, “particularly the people of Camden who have been victims of gentrification and parasitic projects like HS2.”

They held their first event, a “Paint ‘n’ Chinwag” session on Monday with free food and coffee, with visitors invited to come and chat about “what Camden means to you”.

Ramsay has leased the York and Albany site from its freeholder, film director Gary Love, since 2007. The pub closed its doors in March 2024, and has been listed on the market with a guide price of £13 million.

A notice taped to a door said the group of squatters had a right to occupy the venue, which they said was not a "residential building" and was therefore not subject to 2012 legislation which bans squatting in a residential building.

Signed by "The Occupiers", the notice said there was always "at least one person in occupation" and claimed any attempt to enter the premises without their permission was a criminal offence and could result in a prison sentence or fine.

"If you want to get us out you will have to issue a claim for possession in the county court or in the High Court," the note added.

The squatters have taped a notice to the door outlining their legal rights (PA)
The squatters have taped a notice to the door outlining their legal rights (PA)

Occupation of a person's non-residential property without their permission is not itself a crime in the UK, though police can take action if crimes are subsequently committed, including damaging the property.

In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said: "This is a civil matter and so police did not attend the property.”

Government guidance says that squatters can apply to become the registered owners of a property if they have occupied it continuously for 10 years, acted as owners for the whole of that time and had not previously been given permission to live there by the owner.

The Standard has contacted representatives for Gordon Ramsay for comment.