The Fellowship Inn

Sir Henry Cooper’s Bellingham training pub undergoes £4m restoration

By Sara Hussein

- Last updated on GMT

The Fellowship Inn will undergo refurbishment in due course until 2018
The Fellowship Inn will undergo refurbishment in due course until 2018
The south London pub, where heavyweight boxer Sir Henry Cooper lived and trained ahead of his fight against Muhammad Ali in 1963, is to undergo restoration thanks to a £4m restoration programme from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). 

The Fellowship Inn in Bellingham was awarded the full grant this month by the HLF’s Heritage Enterprise programme to social landlord Phoenix Community Housing to lead the project following a two-year proposal review.

The programme aims to restore old historical buildings when refurbishment costs are too high.

The cost will provide funding for vital repairs and conservation work to covert the site into new commercial spaces. This will include a live music venue, a microbrewery, a cinema and a bakery.

The refurbished pub will be taken on by Laines London whose chief executive, Gavin George, said they are “excited” and “grateful” to be involved in the project and to take on “this gem of a pub”.

Bar FI

‘Sustainable future’

The project not only aims to bring the pub back to its local residents, it will also create 70 new jobs and 45 apprenticeships over the next 15 years.

Head of HLF London, Stuart Hobley, said: “This fascinating historical building has long been at the heart of the community.

“What makes this project particularly exciting is its innovative and commercially-focused approach to securing a sustainable future for this much loved local landmark.  It is exactly the kind of project for which HLF created Heritage Enterprise.”  

Jim Ripley, chief executive of Phoenix Community Housing, said: “This is the best news Bellingham has had in decades.

“We’re so proud to have the opportunity to restore this historic pub and create a thriving venue for our residents and the wider population of south London to enjoy.”

Community Hub

The Fellowship Inn was once an important hub for the local community, but after years of neglect, the pub was reduced to a semi-derelict state.

First built in the 1920s for returning First World War veterans and their families as part of the new Bellingham ‘Home for Heroes’ estate, which aimed to ease inner city overcrowding.

Henry Cooper

Sir Henry Cooper trained and lived in the pub ahead of this fight with Muhammad Ali (then Cassius Clay) at Wembley Stadium.

In the 1960s and 70s the pub hosted many well-known artists such as Fleetwood Mac and Eric Clapton. 

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