Ms Sarah Parker
The Old Brewery
Wednesday 28th June 2017
Dear Sarah Parker,
Thank you for your letter of 20th June 2017.
From your letter you appear to think that my grievance is the result of some sort of bar room banter from just one individual.
I will elaborate, but please forgive me if I cover some ground that you may already be aware of.
I am not over sensitive to being called names, I have been called worse things, and no doubt will be again.
Plus, when in a state of anger, I have sometimes used much much stronger language, and insults.
But never I might add, in the Lonsdale.
The point of this situation is that it was perfectly deliberate, cold and contrived. Why ?
On the day in question I was sitting on a brown coloured low easy chair, with my back to the stairs, facing towards Portobello Road, the till more or less in front of me with the fireplace to my front and left.
There were a few people at the bar, with a couple of woman seated 8 or 12 feet to my right, and the young man ‘James’ seated on my immediate left. If I recall correctly ‘James’ and I were resting our drinks on the same small table. So we were seated very close. About 4 – 6 feet apart.
I have known ‘James’ by sight for some years, the women involved are strangers to me but would seem to be locals.
After I sat down in the chair described above, I started to read my newspaper.
Not long after, one of the women seated to my right started to make comments about how someone in the pub had been looking at her young daughter ‘That way’ (Whatever that means !)
This sort of comment was repeated in different ways by her while getting louder. I got the impression that it was meant for my ears, and I think that at one time I may have glanced to my right. I continued reading my newspaper and suddenly there was a loud ‘Bum Boy’ remark from ‘James’ on my left. One of the women said ‘That’s Dan, the other woman said ‘Yes but that’s’ and did not finish her comment.
There was another loud ‘Bum Boy’ remark from ‘James’
During this time I looked up at the bar once or twice and saw the staff member Amanda standing by the till looking on and wearing an expression of embarrassed concern on her face.
It was obvious to me that I had sat down in the middle of a verbal ‘Ambush’ I was being ‘Baited’ So I said nothing, got up out of my seat and left the pub by the exit in front of me leading to Portobello Road, stopping briefly to lean across the bar and drop my newspaper in the rubbish bin.
Nailing ‘Dan’ down to complain about this took a long time, it seems that he has no time to speak to staff or customers for weeks at a time ?
When I did manage to speak with him (Which was still well within the 28 days that all security camera images are retained on your computer hard drive) I told him what has happened.
‘Dan’ said he had told the woman who made remarks about her daughter to stop doing that.
Does this mean that she makes a habit of it ?
‘Dan’ stated that he could not stop youngsters coming into the pub and had tried ink stamping young people who have had their credentials checked for age etc. But could not do anything about drinks being bought for the increased number of under age people now using the Lonsdale due to the gate in the garden being open all the time when the pub was open. This gives direct access from Westbourne Grove without going through the bar. I said this could attract various unpleasant characters as in drug dealers and ‘Pedos’
He seemed to agree with this and said that as far as the latter were concerned he and his staff watched peoples eyes to see where they were looking.
I would have thought that was impossible !
But his explanation did cause me to remember and tell of an incident some months ago when the weather was still cold, I can remember that I was still wearing a very heavy winter coat. I was sitting in the big lounge bar of the Lonsdale one evening and two or three girls one of which certainly looked too young to be in the pub, were repeatedly walking back and forth in front of me from one side of the room on my right to the middle and then back again. This got my attention and my gaze followed. As one of the girls sat down at a table near me to my right, I noticed a youth/young man at the table with a phone in his hand.
Was it a camera phone ? I wonder.
In this area anything is possible.
‘Dan’ also said that he found it hard to believe that ‘James’ had behaved in such a way, and had never seen any aggression in him. I agreed, and suggested that ‘James’ had been put up to it. I drew the comparison between certain groups in Iraq and elsewhere, using the vulnerable to plant or detonate bombs. Here in the UK left wing politics can be just as underhand. I explained that I am very upfront about what I am, but not so my political opposition.
I never take my politics into any pub, but here in Notting Hill, other peoples politics have often been allowed to follow me into the pub, and cause me problems.
My politics are slightly to the right of the Conservative party, and have been since just a few days after the 9/11 attack in the USA in 2001.
In your letter you say that ‘Dan’ said he found it hard to believe that ‘James’ would say such things.
So, does that mean that ‘Dan’ found it easy to think that I would just invent the whole situation ?
‘Dan’ should have taken the centre path, stopped avoiding me, and investigated.
I can’t help wondering if ‘Dan’ knew what I was going to report well before I managed to nail him down and speak with him, and that is why he avoided me for as long as possible.
I wonder who would have told him before he spoke with me ?
However, the incident was reported well before the end of the 28 day period within which all photographic details of the recordings made by your security cameras are held on your computer hard drive.
This whole situation has a very familiar smell about it.
So for the time being, I will continue to give the Lonsdale a miss.
Thank you again for your time.
ENC: Previous communication X 3 pages
Mr Sam Smith,
Area Manager – London Region,
The Old Brewery,
LS24 9SB UK
Monday 5th June 2017
Dear Mr Smith,
I am contacting you in relation to some strange events in the …
Earl of Lonsdale
277-281 Westbourne Grove,
I initially spoke with the Manager ‘Dan’ about this, which did not bring any results, so eventually I contacted your customer services section. Ms Linda Stuart was the person that dealt with my concerns.
Ms Stuart advised me that she had passed the information to you, as you were the Area Manager for the London region.
Some time has now elapsed since I first contacted Ms Stuart on 28th April 2017
But I have still not had any feedback ?
So far, I have chosen not to resume visiting the Earl of Lonsdale until the situation is resolved.
The nature and background to this event means that it is best dealt with by the Management, and not in the bar area of the Earl of Lonsdale, by the people directly involved.
That would be a recipe for trouble.
For your convenience, I have enclosed copies of the email correspondence between myself and
Ms Linda Stuart, to date.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Sent … Tue 23/05/2017 14:19
Dear Linda Stuart,
First let me apologize for addressing you as ‘Linda Smith’ instead of ‘Linda Stuart’ in my previous email, copied below.
Given the name of your company, it has to be a Freudian slip.
I contacted you a few weeks ago concerning ‘Strange Happenings’ in the Earl Of Lonsdale in Notting Hill.
Did anyone manage to get this situation sorted out ?
Since this incident I have not frequented the Lonsdale, but have awaited your response.
From: Sean Bryson [mailto:]
Sent: Friday, April 28, 2017 3:44 PM
Subject: Strange Happenings – Earl of Lonsdale – Notting Hill – London W11
Dear Linda Smith,
I tried to contact you by phone today but was unsuccessful but thankfully have your email.
My reason for contacting you concerns some odd goings on at the Earl of Lonsdale pub in Notting Hill, London, W11.
About 3 weeks ago, on a day when the Manager ‘Dan’ was off, I was verbally abused in a very humiliating fashion in front of staff.
I was sitting in a low level easy chair ( Now removed ) back to the stairs, and facing towards the bar, and Portobello Road. I was reading my newspaper not paying much attention to my surroundings when a woman about 8 or 10 feet on my right started to make quite loud reference to a man who had been eying her young daughter ‘that way’ Whatever that means. This was repeated a couple of times, and I started to get the impression that it was meant for my ears ?
I was quite shocked as I certainly do not know this woman, or the girl in question. Certainly in recent months, there has been a substantial increase in the number of underage youngsters in the pub due to the door in the garden leading to Westbourne Grove being more or less permanently open. No doubt other people can come and go unnoticed too.
I said nothing about the statements being made but carried on reading my paper, but I was suspicious.
A few minutes later a young man called ‘James’ just 3 or 4 feet to my left called me quite loudly a ‘Bum Boy’
James is a young man of limited intellect, but over the years I have not witnessed any badness in him.
At that remark it became apparent that I was being baited into some sort of verbal fight.
This remark ‘Bum Boy’ was repeated again about 1 or 2 minutes later with equal volume.
During the period the comments from James were being made, I looked up at the bar once or twice and saw the Barmaid ‘Amanda’ Looking on. She was positioned by the till.
Amanda has been working in the Lonsdale on and off for years. Amanda wore an expression on her face that suggested either shock or embarrassment. Perhaps even both.
It was after the second ‘Bum Boy’ comment from James that I finished my drink, and left the pub via the exit leading to Portobello Road. As I did so I stopped briefly to lean across the bar and drop my newspaper into the rubbish bin.
I approached the Manager Dan a few days later to explain what had happened.
Since then he has been very evasive about giving me any feedback or a progress report.
The last time that I contacted Dan for feedback was in the late afternoon / early evening of Monday 24th April 2017.
Dan advised me that he had still not had time to ask Amanda about what she had witnessed, and had not seen James at all. ( I have seen James in the Lonsdale 2 or 3 times since reporting this incident )
I was also advised by Dan that James had gone on Holliday to Ireland with his family for two weeks.
As I left the Lonsdale on Monday 24th April 2017, I was advised by another staff member that Amanda would not be on duty again until the following Wednesday. So I again waited, and then phoned the Lonsdale on Thursday 27th April 2017. I asked to speak to Dan and was told that he would not be available until the next day ( That’s today, Friday 28th April 2017 ) I asked to speak to Amanda, and asked her if Dan had yet questioned her about the incident when James had loudly verbally abused me about 3 weeks ago.
Amanda replied that she can’t remember as far back as 3 weeks ?
I replied OK, and left it at that.
So now I am contacting you.
There are ample video recordings in the Lonsdale to confirm the positioning and movements of the various people mentioned in this email. It would be interesting to see if, after I had left the Lonsdale on that day, that anyone indulged in ‘High Fives’ or the like !
But how long do you keep the videos for ? The incidents noted above occurred about 3 weeks or more ago.
I suppose that it is only fair to point out that it is unlikely that ‘James’ would have behaved in such a way of his own volition. But has most likely been groomed to do someone else’s dirty work for the price of a drink, or to gain approval.
From: Linda Stuart [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: 28 April 2017 16:54
To: Sean Bryson
Subject: RE: Strange Happenings – Earl of Lonsdale – Notting Hill – London W11
Good afternoon Mr Bryson
I have just picked up your voice mail and looked at my emails having been out on site all day. The CCTV is kept on hard drive for 28 days, I will forward on your email to Samuel Smith who is our Area Manager for London
I hope something may be resolved