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East Ham pub that launched the Small Faces and Iron Maiden closes after brutal assault

PUBLISHED: 11:55 14 December 2018

The Ruskin Arms has lost its licence. Pic: Google

The Ruskin Arms has lost its licence. Pic: Google

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A "world famous" rock music venue which launched the careers of Small Faces and Iron Maiden has been closed down indefinitely after a brutal assault.

Bar staff at The Ruskin Arms in East Ham allegedly continued serving drinks and failed to call police as two men are said to have repeatedly “stamped on the head” of an unconscious customer.

Pub bosses were due before Newham Council’s licensing committee yesterday but have boarded up the pub and hotel after surrendering their licence.

The pub hosted Small Faces’ first gig in 1965 and in later years members of Black Sabbath and Judas Priest were said to have visited the venue.

The pub was nicknamed the “home of Iron Maiden” after the heavy metal band launched their career there in the 1970s.

On September 2 two men who were allegedly “heavily intoxicated” after drinking in the pub attacked another customer who had been at the bar with a woman.

In a statement to Newham Council PC Gary Watson said the “serious assault” happened just outside the pub door and there had been “no prior interaction between the two groups”.

“The intoxicated suspects can be seen to stamp on the head of their unconscious victim several times,” he said.

“Police were made aware of the assault by London Ambulance Service and not the premises. CCTV shows that there is a clear reaction from people inside the pub to the events outside. The doors were fixed open at the time.

“There was no call to police from the venue, even though there were emergency vehicles outside and a member of bar staff continues to serve even after looking out of the window.”

The attack was so serious police originally recorded it as attempted murder. Two men were later charged with grievous bodily harm.

PC Watson added: “This is one of the worst assaults I have seen for some considerable time.”

In the 1960s the Ruskin Arms was run by the Small Faces’ original keyboard player Jimmy Winston.

The band, which later went on to be fronted by Rod Stewart, played their first gig in the bar and in the 90s it was used as a reunion venue for fans. In the 1970s and 80s the pub became famous for its heavy metal gigs.

It was closed down in 2008 and reopened five years later as a hotel and bar, where it still held regular live music nights.

The pub’s website describes it as “a legend for over three decades of local rock and heavy metal music, and, as most around the world will know it, a starting platform for Iron Maiden.”

Police previously hauled the pub’s management before the council’s licensing committee in 2015 after a man was shot in the hand outside.

They were allowed to stay open, but the committee imposed a number of extra conditions on the licence.

A spokeswoman for Newham Council said: “The licensing hearing for the Ruskin Arms did not go ahead because the licence holder surrendered the licence back to the council.

“There were no applications for a transfer of the licence.”

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