Since 2008, the UK has seen the closure of 1/5 of its local watering holes. The combined impacts of a struggling economy, rising alcohol taxes and the smoking ban is pushing the much-loved public house into the realm of the endangered. January saw the closure of legendary gay pub The Joiners Arms in order to make way for a housing development, an action that resulted in mass outrage and a sorry day for East London.
A good local pub is the beating heart of a community, a space entirely devoted to the act of eviscerating the tensions of everyday life, but a pub is only ever as good as its staff. These are your welcoming committee, the faces that greet you with a smile and a, “The usual?” The people whose job it is to help you forget about yours, and who create an atmosphere that makes your entrance feel more like a homecoming.
In a new exhibition entitled ‘The Photographic Guide to the Pubs of East London’, photographer Jan Klos celebrates these people. Using the blueprint of the 18th century conversation piece and the traditional family portrait, Klos exemplifies the way in which the team behind your local pub are themselves a family unit, one that, through pouring your favourite pint and laughing at your terrible jokes, keep you coming back every week.
For more of Jan’s photos, check out his website.