Simpson’s Tavern: City of London favourite challenges winding up order as it battles closure threat
City chophouse Simpson’s Tavern has been successful in challenging a winding up order and will now fight the forfeiture of its historic premises.
Its boss said the victory means the business has now been reinstated and is no longer wound up – allowing it to challenge the forfeiture.
This comes after Simpson’s Tavern in Cornhill, which was founded in 1757, was closed in October when the landlord’s agent changed the locks and booted the current tenants out over a slew of unpaid rent accrued during the pandemic.
The landlord Tavor Holdings, their agent Taylor Hartnell Cook and the lessee of the building, Restaurant EC3 Limited, have since been locked in a public battle over the future of the site.
Simpson’s’ manager, Benjamin Duggan, launched a crowdfunding campaign which raised £114,000, which still falls some way short of the target.
Taking to Twitter on Thursday, Simpson’s said it had been “unlawfully forfeited and unlawfully wound up” but had now “fought the winding up and won”.
In doing so, it is reinstated as a business and will fight the forfeiture, saying it is a “long road, but we will get there”.
Last month, Simpson’s Tavern said in a post on LinkedIn, that “Tavor & Silverland properties had decided to execute the statutory demand without us knowing” but in November “both parties agreed a delay in the service of the demand as Hartnell Taylor Cook and us were in negotiations on the arrears”.
“They are forcing a debt and keeping us out of any ability to raise capital, its deliberately malicious and they know it. It is petty thuggery in the pursuit of cultural vandalism. Unnecessary as the debt terms were agreed and so now just shithousery”.
Claiming they are subject to an attempt to either “bludgeon us or starve us out”, Simpson’s accused Hartnell Taylor Cook of “gas lighting us in negotiations” but insisted it will not give up.
Hartnell Taylor Cook has been approached for comment.
Giles Coren, the Times’ food critic, told City A.M. at the time of the closure that it would be a “monstrous shame” to lose Simpson’s Tavern.
He said with “the effect of the pandemic and energy prices wreaking havoc on the entire industry” it was “hard to pick your sob stories” but that Simpson’s Tavern remained an icon.
“There are so few places like this left – it’s part of the lifeblood of the City,” he said.
In December, the City of London designated Simpson’s Tavern as an asset of community value.