Pat Burke RIP
urban75 pays tributes to Brixton's finest landlady
Pat Burke spent 20 years presiding over the Prince Albert pub in Coldharbour Lane, and in that time became a much loved part of the Brixton community.
Fierce, friendly and fair in equal measures, Pat kept a vice-like grip on her pub, making sure that it remained a warm and welcoming, old fashioned Brixton boozer.
Pat was renown for the attentive policing of her bar, with her radar-like sixth sense locating ne'er-do-wells and escorting them to the door in a manner of seconds.
Although she mellowed a little towards the end, locals still speak fondly of the times she used to 'encourage' recalcitrant drinkers to depart at closing time by thumping a large metal rod on the tables!
(Portrait of Pat by local artist, Maureen Scott)
Fiercely loyal to locals, Pat would always ensure that regulars got prompt service at the bar, while the eclectic music selection (chosen by her son) provided a welcome change from predictable pub pap.
Pat ran a down-to-earth pub for local people, and she always took an interest - and pride - in the activities of her locals (the Albert gets a credit on Alabama 3's first album and design book, Max Hits)
Pat constantly battled against attempts by the brewery to introduce inappropriate 'themed nights', and whenever they tried to get her staff to wear promotional t-shirts, they always ended up in the bin!
And Pat was generous too. A few years ago she came back from a holiday in Ireland and told me she'd bought me back something. Instead of the little souvenir I was expecting, she handed me a litre of ten year old Jameson's Irish Whiskey! And she repeated that kind act several times over the years.
Although Pat usually kept out of politics, she gave her full support to Brian Paddick, the Brixton cop who posted on this site - so much so that when we had a meeting to work out defence tactics for Paddick, she came over and presented us with a bottle of champagne.
Sadly, not long after, Pat suffered a suspected stroke on Friday, April 26th 2002 and, true to form, refused to leave her beloved pub. Eventually she was admitted to hospital and died of pneumonia on Wednesday, May 1st 2002.
She will be missed but not forgotten - a brass plaque now stands outside the pub she loved so much, bearing the simple inscription:
"In Memory of Brixton's finest landlady, Pat.
Loved by many, missed by all."
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