Revealed after 20 years: The untold story of the John Bull pub closure

Inside the John Bull on Layerthorpe, York: a still from the Old Dairy Studios film about the pub
The John Bull on Layerthorpe, York: a still from the Old Dairy Studios film about the pub
MatthewLaverack_HeatShot_2012Former regulars queued up to pay tribute to the John Bull pub on the 20th anniversary of its closure, including the editor of YorkMix. While no one denies that the pub has a special place in the memories of many, there is more to the story than has ever been made public – until now. Here Matthew Laverack reveals facts that shed new light on a divisive episode in York’s recent history – facts that his late friend Peter Turnbull chose not to make public in his defence, even when the campaign to keep the pub open became heated and personal

Fans of the John Bull have been marking the 20th anniversary of the Layerthorpe pub’s closure with memories of its great atmosphere, beer and food. These came with the usual malevolent swipe at the owner who demolished the premises to expand his car dealership.

Peter Turnbull is no longer here to defend himself so I have taken it upon myself to protect the reputation of a decent and honorable man.

The John Bull Action Group, abetted by the local daily newspaper, and with the support of the MP, Lord Mayor and others from the city council, did its best to portray the situation in a manner intended to garner sympathy for a campaign to keep the pub going in perpetuity.

In this they were rather economical with the truth.

But now for the first time the full story can be told and all the facts revealed.

It is a sad story of betrayal and dishonour – but not by Peter Turnbull. He was portrayed as the villain but in truth he was the hero.

Without his generosity the pub would never have had those “golden years”.

His reward for all this was to be vilified, to have his reputation besmirched and his business attacked.

Behind the scenes

These are some of the pictures Matthew took showing the state of the pub after it closed. Click on a picture for a larger view

A potted history

The John Bull was purchased as an empty pub in 1978 long after it had been closed down by the brewery.

No one was interested in it at the time and no one objected to plans for Turnbulls to expand onto the site.

The council granted planning permission on October 23, 1980 for motor accessories and parts storage with retails sales on the ground floor and residential use above.

This was an interim measure pending longer term proposals to eventually clear the site for parking when new showrooms were erected.

The building was then used for storage of car parts but it was much bigger than needed for this purpose.

An approach was made to Mr Turnbull to lease the pub temporarily until the site was required for dealership parking.

Mr Turnbull did not actively seek a tenant and was not particularly keen on the idea. However, the interested party pleaded with Mr Turnbull to allow the pub to reopen for a limited period.

Solemn promises were made that an agreed rent would be paid, that the building would be looked after and be vacated and handed back in good order at the end of a fixed term.

So, on the strict understanding that this was a short term measure the pub reopened in 1982 on a fixed term tenancy contract.

Layerthorpe in 1979 with the John Bull pub. Photograph: York Libraries And Archives
Layerthorpe in 1979 with the John Bull pub. Photograph: York Libraries And Archives

After some years when the building was still not required for expansion an extended contract was agreed; again with the same stipulation that it was a temporary arrangement.

In 1988 Mr Turnbull sold his car business to the Dixon Motor Group. He bought it back again in 1990. The contractual terms of the occupation of the John Bull remained unchanged throughout this period.

The pub was on a fixed term lease and it was fully understood by all parties that a time would eventually come when it would be needed for expansion; the very purpose for which it was bought in 1978 when Mr Turnbull had the foresight to purchase a shut down pub that no one else wanted.

The problems begin

Things began to go wrong when the leaseholder of the pub failed to honour his word or the contract he had signed.

It can now be revealed that despite an apparently busy pub with good takings the rent was not being paid.

Arrears were months overdue and thousands of pounds were owed.

This convinced Mr Turnbull that the time had come for him to implement his long term proposals.

He duly advised the defaulting tenant that there would be no renewal of the lease which expired on October 31, 1993.

Had the tenant immediately settled the arrears with a commitment to honour the agreed contract in future it is possible that the John Bull could have stayed open longer.

Unfortunately, the response from the tenant and his supporters was not one which had any chance of persuading the building’s owner to change his mind.

A most unpleasant campaign against Peter Turnbull began and the rent remained unpaid.

An extract from a card Matthew sent out at the time putting forward the other side of the story
An extract from a Christmas card Matthew sent out at the time putting forward the other side of the story

On October 31, 1993, £7,725 was owed. Not a negligible sum today but far more significant 20 years ago.

Peter Turnbull, being the gentleman he was, declined to use this information against the campaigners.

Certain members of the campaign group showed no such scruples.

They resorted to underhand tactics to try to impose their will – that they should be allowed to go on boozing in their favourite watering hole no matter what promises had been made or contracts entered into.

Information published by the John Bull Action Group conveniently ignored the full facts, made no mention of the original agreements, the breaches of contract or the breaking of trust.

In my opinion, it is disgraceful that in pursuit of its campaign the Action Group demonised Peter Turnbull to make him appear an uncaring businessman out to evict poor innocent people and to destroy heritage assets.

All untrue and a gross distortion of the real position. It was the leaseholder – also a businessman – who was behaving unfairly.

Abuse and libel

As much as five years earlier action had been taken behind Peter Turnbull’s back to try to scupper his redevelopment proposals.

The city council had been solicited to have the pub declared a listed building but in December 1988 the Department of Environment rejected a council request because the building did not meet the criteria.

In any event listing would not have secured the pub tenancy – or even the use of the building as a pub. It would have only protected the building’s fabric.

The campaigners again pushed for listed status and the council again went along with it. The second request was rejected, quite rightly, on October 8, 1993.

A telephone advertising campaign by the car dealership was sabotaged by supporters of the pub and this was reported in the local newspaper.

References were made to Mr Turnbull “owning the land on which the pub stands” – a phrase clearly intended to suggest that the pub itself was not owned by Mr Turnbull and that he was destroying something not rightfully his.

Worse came when the newspaper referred to Mr Turnbull as “a rogue”. For this libel they were obliged to print an apology, pay legal costs and make a substantial payment to charity.

But it didn’t stop there. Foul and abusive phone calls were made to Peter Turnbull at work by drunken louts who identified themselves merely as “the lads from the John Bull”. Obviously too cowardly to give their real names.

As someone who had publicly supported Peter, I got the same treatment.

People would come onto the garage forecourt and verbally abuse anyone thought to be associated with the intended pub closure.

One active member of the John Bull Action Group sent me copies of correspondence delivered to third parties raising issues of my integrity and asking if I had breached any aspect of the Architects Code of Conduct. This was clearly intended to intimidate me.

The message was “Back off or we will make life difficult for you”. It had the opposite effect.

I was more determined than ever to support a man who was being unjustly denigrated on a daily basis.

The final insults

Turnbulls garage in 1979 with the John Bull on the left. Photograph: York Libraries & Archives
Turnbulls garage in 1979 with the John Bull on the left. Photograph: York Libraries & Archives

Peter Turnbull was forced to take expensive court action to get back premises which had been promised (and contracted) would be returned to him.

But even then he was treated despicably.

After the last night of trading the tenant stripped out valuable pub fittings and auctioned them off.

He used the local newspaper as a free advert for his sale, stating “the building is to demolished anyway so I am taking these things”.

In fact he had no right to do this. These were the property of Peter Turnbull and were to have been salvaged as part of the demolition contract to off-set clearance costs.

Rather than calling in the police Mr Turnbull suffered the loss in silence. That was typical of the man. Gentle, mild mannered, softly spoken, non-aggressive.

And the final irony is that when the pub was handed back it was found to be filthy and disgusting. Record photographs were taken.

It did not get like that overnight. It had obviously been in that trashed state for a considerable time. It was like an abandoned squat.

The cooker on which the much applauded bar food had been prepared was caked in grease and grime.

The cellar was flooded with sewage from a broken drain. Beer pipes which only days earlier had been taking ale up to customers were draped in contaminated black water.

So YorkMix readers, when folk speak to you all misty-eyed about the long gone wonderful pub with wonderful people and they hiss at the name of the man who demolished it, you can now put them straight on the facts.

The John Bull had a good 12 years’ extra life thanks to the generosity and goodwill of Peter Turnbull.

He was a decent and honest man whose only mistake was to believe that those with whom he entered into legally binding agreements would actually keep their word.



81 thoughts on “Revealed after 20 years: The untold story of the John Bull pub closure

  1. Don’t rightly care whether every word in the article can be backed up, it was 20 years ago, it was last century. I can back up every word I’ve written and I’m not alone. What I’m talking about matters now and affects people now.

    Reply ↓ so you don’t care about the truth just what you think

    1. (You’ll have to excuse me for this in the unlikely event that I’m wrong, but going on history, going on so many past fake IDs the name I’m thinking of for you seems fitting. If you don’t like it you only have Mr L and his friend to thank)

      so-called-steve –
      Your words:
      “so you don’t care about the truth just what you think”

      Putting words in my mouth, ignoring the clear and sensible words I’ve written, deliberate misinterpretation.
      Exactly what I’ve seen Paul Badger Cordock and “the other supporters” of Mr Laverack do over and again for years.

      Of course I care about the truth, that’s why I have joined this “debate”
      Because truths need to be told.
      I’ve been enjoying browsing the York Mix online as a new and clean local site and as I say I’m understandably disappointed to see this publication suddenly sullied and tainted by the names “Matthew Laverack” and “Paul S Cordock” and all the conjured up drama, personal abuse, dogma, conflict and intolerance that seems to be obligatory with the package bearing those names.
      Again – yuck. Distasteful.

      Seeing as the deliberately hard of understanding need it clearing up, I can simplify, here you go so-called-steve –
      Don’t care about the verification of the words in the article. True or not. Big whoop.
      What does it change? Mr Turnbull is gone, the pub is gone. It’s over. This article serves neither the pub nor the car dealer. It serves one person – yep, you guessed it… The author.

      The author and his offensive friend continue daily to disrupt and detract in our city to the detriment of all of us.
      They continue to pursue their agenda as the one truth. This affects people not 20 years ago – it’s now.
      These are the truths, not “what I think” – the record stands. The web is built on the facility to search.
      Know that.

  2. Matthew “R Bowen you do not identify yourself as male or female”. Could you please explain to me the relevance of gender in this debate ? If you can I will be delighted to rise, once again stickleback like to your worm, and defend my every word with the robustness for which my sex is so rightly noted. Matthew the ball is once again in your court.

  3. Thank you Steve for for your simple factual corroboration of dirty glasses and the unclean condition of the John Bull pub.

    Mr Space Ranger – Buzz Light Year – Coward of this parish. I think you need help. Perhaps your GP can refer you to an appropriate professional.
    I really couldn’t care less what you think of me or that you had never heard of me until 10 years ago but for your information I wrote my first letter to the Yorkshire Evening Press in 1972 and my offerings have been published periodically ever since. We have never heard of you because you do not have the courage or the decency to identify yourself. I have increased my output in recent years partly because I regularly receive enormous encouragement from followers and supporters but more particularly beceause I know it winds up people like you and R.Bowen who can be guaranteed to bite every time. But I make it a point of principle to always put my name to anything I say. Any fool can criticise while hiding behind anonymity. Many do. You have used this website to again exercise your rage against me but have made no comment whatsoever in relation to the John Bull closure. This sums you up.

    R. Bowen – you do not identify yourself as male or female but your comments ably demonstrate your character. This article is about the real truth behind the closure of the John Bull Pub in Layerthorpe and the disgraceful campaign to keep it open which was based on lies and falsehoods. You have come up with nothing other than quibbling over a photograph and a personal attack against me. That is the sum total of your contribution to this debate. There is a photograph of the filthy kitchen including the filthy cooker taken in 1994. It was in the set supplied to Yorkmix but not included in the slide show. The glass washer was mistakenly identified as a cooker. So what? It does not alter the fact that the John Bull was grotty and filthy. Your attempt at a parody Mills & Boon Victorian melodrama has about the same efficacy as the John Bull licencee’s cleanliness and hygiene regime.

    Fundamentally this article is factually correct and no one has been able to put up any argument against it.

    The only response has been to attack the author.

    Entirely expected and predicted.

    1. Mr Laverack – You’re really ramping up the personal abuse again aren’t you?

      Your words:
      “Coward of this parish. I think you need help. Perhaps your GP can refer you to an appropriate professional.”
      Again with “coward” – you’ll note that I have only ever referred to you as Mr Laverack or Mr L. I have the decency to respect common human courtesy. Never have I resorted to a cheap playground name for you.

      As distasteful as it is to be on receiving end of your personal abuse again (and thankfully it’s just you for now and not the devoted Paul S Cordock making up the usual twin-headed monster) well I guess it saves me the trouble of backing up my words on this page as here you are doing it for me. Being nasty and personal and spoiling everyone’s browsing experience. Just as I said.

      Your words:
      “I really couldn’t care less what you think of me…. etc”
      Again, the evidence says the opposite. You are very concerned what I, and indeed anyone (the more the better for you) think and say about you. Your whole paragraph above explains exactly that, you cherish the publicity, foster a notoriety and nurture that into conflict and controversy.
      The record is there for all to see. We’ve all read through the tedium of it for years. You do what you do and there it is. Oh, and *here* it is too.

      Your words:
      “…it winds up people like you…”
      There we go – a frank admission.

      For the record, you don’t wind me up, I don’t hate you, there is no rage, no campaign. You have been spoiling things for readers of, and you have been taking advantage of, The Press for years now. If I point that out what I’m doing is reportage, not opinion, not hate or any of the other things you or Paul make up.

      With this article, you attempt to set a record straight, to point out some forgotten truths. With my comments, I do the same. I point out truths.
      If you don’t like those truths, it would show some decorum to just take it and lay off the petty names and abuse. Truth hurts, I guess.

      Your words:
      “The only response has been to attack the author.

      Entirely expected and predicted.”
      A further frank admission.
      I’ve said it many times before and so have many others.
      Mr Laverack enjoys the conflict. He courts the controversy and when he is challenged he likes to play the victim. The Righteous Victimised Bringer of Truth of This Parish. How could they all be so callous as to “attack” Him in the course of His Good Work?

      Translation of “Entirely expected and predicted?”
      – “Entirely desired and played for”

      Don’t rightly care whether every word in the article can be backed up, it was 20 years ago, it was last century. I can back up every word I’ve written and I’m not alone. What I’m talking about matters now and affects people now.

  4. as I person who was asked to leave the Bull because I complained about the dirty glass I was given and the state of the place, I support Mr. laverack in what he says. you can’t argue about the condition of the place can you?

  5. “steve” said –

    “space ranger, r,bowen if you think Mr Laverack is not telling the truth lets hear it from you or cant you back up what you say”

    My answer –

    I’m certain I haven’t accused anyone of not telling the truth.
    I’m certain I can back up every word I’ve written on this page.
    I’m certain that I have been subject to far more abuse and lies than I have given anyone here.

  6. space ranger, r,bowen if you think Mr Laverack is not telling the truth lets hear it from you or cant you back up what you say

  7. If it wasn’t so tediously familiar it would be funny.

    Matthew Laverack says: “Also, Peter was a shy retiring man who avoided confrontation and controversy.”

    And yet, Matthew himself positively courts confrontation and controversy. Coming here, as I do, from the pages of The Press website I am all too used seeing fervent nastiness whenever the name Matthew Laverack appears. If it’s not from him, it’s from his number one, Paul S Cordock. And if it’s not from them it’s the result they wanted in the first place from the people they have wound up, called names and falsely accused.
    I’ve seen it for years.
    As a consumer of online local media, I have repeatedly had my browsing experience invaded and spoiled by Mr Laverack and Mr Cordock.
    These people concocted a campaign where they used and abused The Press with co-ordinated mailshots, multiple fake comments IDs and falsely raised comments numbers to promote certain articles to the front page.
    All very disruptive for the ordinary and innocent reader.
    And here we have Mr Laverack bemoaning someone else’s “campaign”
    It’s nothing short of hypocrisy.

    Ten years ago, I’d never heard of “Matthew Laverack” but after years of his opinions being shoved down our throats as the only correct one, now I hold him in a deserving regard, a regard he and his friend have taken a lot of trouble to earn.
    Funny because Paul speaks so very highly of Matthew but they have both spent years showing us otherwise. You only have to read the over the top personal responses to my comments on this page.
    There is no “anti-Laverack campaign” !
    Some of us would just like a bit of sense and calm, a bit less drama and conflict around the news publications we read.

    And if there is to be debate, let it BE debate.

    1. Matthew doesn’t do debate,he does opinions laced with a lot of repetition and a script that Mills and Boon’s most gullible readers would reject as farcical. Candidly I rather enjoy reading everything he writes (whatever name he uses) it has the ring and cadence of the finest in Victorian melodrama ” still a virgin He stood trembling in the front of the showroom his great great grandad had built with his bare hands on a swamp near the edge of the dark wood, bravely our tiny hero small in size but a giant compared to most other men etc etc etc. Enjoy the hilarity and pseudo sincerity and ignore the detritus is my tip.

  8. This story has now been live on Yorkmix for almost a week and has run its course.

    I shall make one last entry myself.

    Firstly, it is noticeable that no one has come on here from The John Bull Action Group to argue in favour of what they did. Hardly surprising because it is difficult to defend the indefensible – and anyway they were only ever really interested in boozing. They lost and the pub is gone so why should they waste valuable drinking time on it!

    Secondly I have been described as a long time friend of Peter Turnbull. While my relationship with Peter was always friendly we were not social friends. I never went to his house. He never came to mine. We never drank or ate out together.

    My relationship with Peter was that of architect and client starting in 1980 when he commissioned me to help him with his plans for the empty John Bull pub building he had recently bought. I obtained planning permission for him for change of use to auto parts storage and I measured up the premises for possible alterations prior to a longer term proposal to clear the site.

    Following this commission he employed me around 1991 to do further architectural work on his showroom buildings. I was therefore fully aware of the full circumstances of his business plans – and especially in relation to the John Bull pub which was only ever rented out on a temporary basis.

    My only other business dealings with Peter was as a customer. I bought two Mazda cars off his dealership. I dealt only with his staff. I received no special favours or discount. I did not expect them. Both cars were bought before the John Bull Campaign began.

    It has been alleged repeatedly that I and Peter were business partners or that I had a financial interest in the property in Layerthorpe, or in some way stood to profit from helping Peter. This is entirely untrue.

    I came forward to support Peter in 1993 when the John Bull Action Group were tearing his character to shreds because I was in a special position as his former architect knowing the truth about the John Bull building – how it was purchased as an empty building and was only occupied again as a favour and strictly on a temporary basis. I also knew the licensee was in breach of contract and had broken his promise to look after the premises, to pay the rent and to hand the building back. I was so disgusted by the false information being pumped out by the John Bull Action Group and the half-truths regularly printed by the local newspaper. I felt it my duty to step forward to defend a man of honour in his hour of need. I asked Peter’s permission before I got involved. I sought and received no remuneration for speaking on his behalf.

    I considered it an honour and a privilege to stand up for a true gentleman who was unjustly being condemned and suffering in silence.

    My only desire ever was to see the truth come out and that justice be done. Peter was portrayed as an evil rapacious monster intent on evicting poor community minorities in order to demolish a building he had no right to remove. This was a pack of lies. The pub was always purchased to be cleared to allow the motor dealership to expand. It’s reopening in 1982 was thanks to the generosity and goodwill of Peter Turnbull. It was always a temporary arrangement and all parties involved knew that full well.

    Peter gave those pub goers those happy years. He did not take anything away from anyone.

    The full story never did come out in 1994 because the Yorkshire Evening Press was partisan and failed to properly and fully report all the facts. Also, Peter was a shy retiring man who avoided confrontation and controversy.

    This story has only been told today because the current successor to the daily newspaper,The York Press, saw fit on 24 May to publish an article which resurrected the wicked falsehoods perpetrated against Peter all those years ago. Even now that newspaper has yet to properly apologise and put matters right.

    I commend Yorkmix for agreeing to publish this article to address this long standing injustice. This new media outlet is a great benefit to citizens who no longer have to rely on just one newspaper outlet.

    I shall finish with one last comment on Peter Turnbull. He was described by the Yorkshire Evening Press as “diminutive”.

    He may well have been small in stature but in terms of honesty, integrity, forbearance and inner strength he was a giant of a man.

    He was worth ten of any one of those individuals on the John Bull Action Group who did all they could to take the John Bull away from him.

    Long may he rest in peace.

  9. Christopher –

    Are you able to recall how much the rear bar was sold for?

    Or who bought it?

    The Turnbull family are not going to seek a return of stolen property or compensation after all these years but it would be informative to establish where the items went and the monetary value involved.

  10. R Bowen and anyone else wishing to see the evidence. Ring 01904 632313 and make an appointment.

  11. Thank you Christopher for confirming the rear bar was auctioned off at the end of the illegal occupation of the premises.

    Thank you Brian Savory for confirming that the folding bar seats were in place in the 1950’s.

    Thank you R. Bowen for showing us just what sort of a person you are.

  12. I think its you who is wrong Mr Simpson
    I remember being at the auction, and I definitely made a bid for the bar in question!

    I remember wanting it for the reception area of my business.

    1. Well done for coming forward, Christopher, to corroborate Matthew’s assertion about the bar.

      I suspect that we will not hear anything further from John Simpson on this?

  13. If my original (light hearted comment) is a “pedantic diversion away from the fundamental issues” why bother answering it ? I think your fundamental issue here is that you assume your every utterance on every subject has more importance and significance than everyone else’s. You also constantly repeat (I hope it’s not the effect of a sandwich cooked in that “filthy”glasswasher ) the same points over and over again the reason morons like me bait pompous ( no I think I’ll save that T for later) personages like you is you bite with the alacrity of a starving stickleback snapping at a worm on a piece of string. Now carefully read my last comment again, and pay special attention to the sentence that starts “As a matter of fact my opinion…….” And you should realise all you have succeeded in doing is alienating a probable ally. As you mention keeping all the files letters and photos I assume you are throwing them open to public scrutiny and if you are could advise your parishioners when and where they will available for inspection.

      1. I suggest you reread my previous comment “that’s why morons like me” is how I put it. Honestly instead of banging on about a defunct and demolished pub perhaps we should be more concerned at the number of adults who are incapable of reading and comprehending a simple sentence.

        1. Now who’s being pompous?

          The issue here is the truth, and putting the record straight, something that a few on here can’t bear to admit or accept?

  14. R Bowen – your concentration on whether or not the appliance shown in the photograph is a cooker or not is a pedantic diversion away from the fundamental issues raised in this article.

    You refer to a distinction between fact and opinion.
    These are matters of undeniable fact:

    1. The entire premises (both land and buildings on it)
    were the property of Peter Turnbull.

    2. The property was bought as an empty shut down pub from the brewery in 1978. It was bought with the specific intention of eventually clearing the site to allow expansion of motor dealership parking.

    3. The property was (and is) in an area zoned under planning for commercial use.

    4. The property was on the open market. There was nothing to stop the licensee or the John Bull Action Group purchasing it. They didn’t.

    5. York City Council granted planning permission in 1980 for the premises to become part of the motor dealership enterprise.

    6. The pub reopened (on a temporary basis) in 1982 only because Peter Turnbull allowed it to.

    7. The pub was always occupied only on fixed term contracts.

    8. The licensee breached those contracts and broke his solemn promises to Mr Turnbull.

    9. The licensee failed to pay the agreed rent and refused to hand back the premises at the end of the tenancy.

    10. York City Council tried to have the building listed in 1988 in secret without Mr Turnbull knowing about it; and therefore being denied any opportunity to make a representation to the Department of Environment.

    11. York Council were solicited by the John Bull Action Group to act against the interests of the rightful owner Peter Turnbull.

    12. The local newspaper printed libellous comments against Mr Turnbull.

    13. The local newspaper had a reporter who was a regular drinker in the pub. This reporter was not only the letters editor at the time but also wrote a column under the guise of “Dick Turpin”.

    14. The reporter failed to disclose his identity when editing letters and writing anonymously in his secret column.

    15. Valuable fixtures and fittings belonging to Peter Turnbull were removed by the licensee and taken from the site without his consent.

    15. The cellar was flooded in sewage before it closed in May 1994. The Demolition contractor made an inspection before end of trading to prepare his quotation for clearing the site. On the day of his survey the pub was still serving food and drink with sewage swilling about the beer barrels.

    Please note R Bowen I have kept all the files, drawings, letters and photos etc from the time. The Turnbull family have access to the dealership files and legal papers.

    Everything in this article is true and we can prove it any Court of Law.

    Now here is a bit of opinion: My opinion-

    The movement against Peter Turnbull and the campaign to portray him as a wicked capitalist exploiting vulnerable innocents was a travesty of the truth and an utter disgrace. The participation of the local authority and the local newspaper in this enterprise was deplorable.

    The article “A lost friend called John Bull” published by York Press on 24 May 2014 in its Pints of View Feature echoed the despicable and dishonourable coverage that was manifest 20 years ago.

    References to Peter Turnbull “taking things away from people” and acting in a manner “cruelly barbaric” were unwarranted, unfair, offensive, and above all untrue.

    They were also distressing to the family of the late Peter Turnbull.

    There was just no need for it.

    Apologies from those culpable in this disgraceful saga are long overdue.

  15. Thank you David Gregory for acknowledging that if what I say here is substantiable then I am most definitely right.

    This article is absolutely verifiable. Between myself and the Turnbull family we have conclusive and irrefutable proof of the truth in this story.

  16. Mr Laverack is generally someone who’s commentary I find irritating and often disagree with. However, with that said; when he’s right, he’s right. If what he’s saying here is substantiable, he is most definitely right.
    I very much doubt the claims he is making are said without the benefit of verifiable knowledge and evidence.
    So well done for making the other side of this obviously emotive story public.

  17. Space Ranger

    Of all thieves fools are the worst; they rob you of time and temper.

    Yorkmix is not the place for your anti-Laverack campaign.

    It is a place to comment on the John Bull saga.

  18. Torrent of semi hysterical riposte?

    Hardly that.

    Rather a forthright reply simply pointing out that whether the photo be a cooker, dishwasher or glass washer does not change the fact that the pub was handed back filthy, disgusting and a health hazard.

    If you identify with the “can dish it out but can’t take it ” quotation then you must be one of the John Bull Action Group, or at least a sympathiser.

    Touched a raw nerve methinks.

    By the way – two “t”s in Matthew.

    1. “Torrent of semi hysterical riposte” was my opinion. May I suggest that the great weakness in your debating ability is your belief that all your opinions are facts.
      e.g. The appliance in the photograph is a glasswasher (this is a fact). The appliance in the photograph is filthy (that is an opinion). As a matter of fact my opinion is that that the treatment meted out to Mr. Turnbull was quite despicable (always assuming your account is based on facts not your opinions). As for “touched a raw nerve methinks” may I point out that, in my opinion, the fact that you then (factually) corrected my spelling, “two T’s in Matthew ” shows, in my opinion, whose raw nerves are the most touched. As a matter of fact I was saving that “T” for use elsewhere.

  19. “They can dish it out but they can’t take it” come on Mathew I thought I took your torrent of semi hysterical riposte pretty well. And as someone who is so concerned about the unpleasantness suffered by Mr. Turnbull you seem rather keen that I should “enjoy” a little of the same, not an argument that’s likely to encourage me to see your point of view or, more pertinently, believe it.

  20. Still here Space Ranger?

    Buzz Light Year
    Coward of this parish.

    I shall not be wasting my time with you.


    Because you are a waste of space!

    This is an article about the closure of the John Bull pub in 1993/4 and the dastardly scheming by those intent on forcing their will over the rightfull owner Peter Turnbull.

    It is not about your issues with Matthew Laverack

    1. More childish name-calling and personal attacks.
      As for not wasting your time with me, it does rather appear from your past and present efforts that you are far more bothered about me than I am about you.

      You need to talk PR with someone, you’re doing yourself no favours, Mr L.

      1. Don’t think he is….

        You’re the obsessed stalker, with a grudge, who can’t let it go…?!!!

  21. Unpleasantness R Bowen?

    You should have been on the receiving end of the John Bull Action Group campaign twenty years ago.

    Then you would know what unpleasantness was really like.

    It is only now, thanks to Yorkmix, that the real truth of that disgraceful organisation is finally coming out.

    And they don’t like it do they?

    They can dish it out but they can’t take it!

  22. Nor does it change the fact it was a glasswasher not a dishwasher or a cooker. In fact I commented to try and add a little levity to what was becoming an increasingly unpleasant episode. R Bowen failed comedian of this parish.

  23. Good question Steve.

    I have absolutely no doubt that those now attacking me for writing this article are disgruntled former customers of the John Bull pub.

    One of them, the auctioneer John Simpson, openly admits he was a regular customer.

  24. Jean Murray should note this is an article about the John Bull Pub in Layerthorpe and nothing else.

    So far Jean Murray has made no contribution to the debate other than to make thinly veiled insinuations which are clearly aimed at me.

    First she refers to alleged rumours that just one person profited from the demolition of the John Bull and asked me to comment.

    How disappointing it must have been for her to then read on this site it was done by the local contractor Boswell for a perfectly fair price and that the demolition contractor confirmed what a disgusting state the building was in.

    Now there is a reference to benefit fraud in 2001 in which has nothing to do with this article and nothing to do with me.

    Jean Murray is clearly desperate to discredit me in some way without actually coming out and making open accusations. A clear manifestation of cowardly and despicable behaviour.

    Shame on you Jean Murray.

  25. Well done R Bowen for spotting it was a filthy dishwasher and not a filthy cooker. And your point is?

    Filth is filth. Lack of hygiene is a serious matter in premises serving food and drink.

    Yorkmix have published only a few of the photos taken in 1994 when the John Bull was handed back in a disgusting state. One of the photos not included in the slide show is the disgusting cooker. Caked in grease and filth. Not cleaned for months, possibly years.

    The place was an utter disgrace and nit picking observations over the exact identity of filthy appliances doesn’t change that fact.

  26. It does make me wonder if Jean has any relatives who have strayed from the path and if they have I hope no reflection on her good name has ensued.

  27. I wonder if this could become part of a series, with Mr Laverack sharing his insights into the often crooked world of business in York.

    Perhaps he could give us the benefit of his knowledge of the 2001 scandal, the so-called “Nightmare on Eldon Street” where a controversial property man from the Groves was imprisoned for using the names of dead and fictitious people to mount a three year fraud netting over £100,000 from cheating the taxpayer. It was described by Detective Constable Ian Illingworth of the Fraud Squad as “A despicable crime where …………..used people who were down and struggling. He stole benefits to which we all contribute in taxes. He stole from us”

    It would be fascinating to know more about it

    1. Jean Murray,

      Heaven forbid anyone you know or are related to does something wrong.

      in my book people who attack and victimise those who have nothing to do with the actions of others, are despicable.

      In case you missed the point of Matthew’s article, he was defending the honour and reputation of his friend, a man of unblemished character and a gentleman. A man not unlikeb Matthew himself.

      Shame on you, Jean Murray.

  28. Well Mr Laverack. How nasty and personal?
    Paul speaks so highly of you and here you are yet again proving him wrong.

    1. Space Ranger

      Read your initial comment, and Matthew’s response again – who started this with a personal attack of nastiness?

      I ask you again – please stop stalking and hounding Matthew. Drop your bitter grudge and move on. You have gone too far with this, just because you don’t share his, or my views. Let it go….

      1. For what feels like the millionth time, Paul, no. Once again you are wrong. You wrongly accuse me of attacks, stalking and grudges.
        Remember, it wasn’t me hanging effigies outside my shop, it wasn’t me having nasty lies printed in the Press.

        There’s a saying – “Live by the sword, die by the sword”
        If Mr L wants to create some kind of public persona as independent people’s champion and thorn in the council’s side through local media then he should expect some degree of disagreement and or criticism.
        It says a lot that he can’t take that disagreement and criticism without you and the other fake and multiple IDs Smithersing for him and without launching into his own nasty vitriol. Like I said, distasteful. And quite hypocritical when you look at it.

        Decorum. Remember that?

  29. I rember when the Black Bull in Layerthorpe was a really good pub,then it closed through lack of support of customers.It was reopened at a later date with the good will of Peter Turnbull ,I must say the people who then ran the pub ruined the good reputation of the pub.

  30. Steve

    Thank you for your support.

    I am not holding my breath for an apology from any of the “real ale” folks.

    They don’t do “sorry”. They just do beer is everything and all must bow down to their pleasure.

  31. Hello Space Ranger.

    Or should I call you Buzz Light Year?

    Still smarting are you after being taken down a peg or two?

    Still bleating after people have the audacity to disagree with you?

    I notice you are still a coward and make your attacks using a pseudonym so you don’t reveal your true identity.

    This article is about the John Bull Campaign and the disgraceful treatment meted out to Peter Turnbull and myself. It is not a vehicle just for you to vent your usual anger and venom at the Architect of this Parish.

    If you have any proper observations to make in relation to this issue then tell us who you are and what you think and why? Then we can all examine your views to see if they have any value.

    If you have no comment to make but just wish to indulge in the usual bit of Laverack bashing then please buzz off to the other side of the universe and leave people with the courage to put their names to what they think to carry on this conversation.

    Before you go I’ll tell you exactly what Yorkmix think they are doing. They are putting right a miscarriage of justice. They are finally publishing the facts that the local newspaper repeatedly failed to properly report as follows:

    1. All the while the licensee was demanding to be given rights to stay in the premises indefinitely he wasn’t even paying the rent!

    2. When the licensee eventually left he removed fixtures and fittings from the pub which did not belong to him.

    3. The licensee was operating the pub in a state that was a serious danger to the health and safety of his customers. With the cellar flooded in sewage he could have killed somebody with food poisoning.

  32. I would like to comment about my experience meeting Mr Peter Turnbull.
    I owned a less than 1 year old Datsun Van which had faults that the dealer in Castleford was unable or unwilling to rectify, despite being under warranty.
    In desperation I called at Turnbulls the Datsun dealer in York, where I met Mr Peter Turnbull.
    Mr Turnbull took matters on board despite not being able to gain a customer.
    The van was fixed in his garage…..(New crankshaft) and a replacement van was made available whilst repairs were done. I feel privileged to have met such a nice man who just wanted to help someone who had a problem.
    Reading this account of things to do with The John Bull has made me quite angry with the way he was subjected to such a vitriolic campaign of intimidation.
    The descriptions of him portrayed in the York Press bear no resemblance to the man I knew. Something isn’t quite right here.

  33. YorkMix what on Earth were you thinking?!
    Of all the people and self-publicists in York, Matthew Laverack is the least in need of an ego-stroke and publicity.

    Oh and look how the comments have devolved to the same and usual unseemly partisan he said/she said slanging that always appears to revolve around Mr Laverack and the devoted Mr Cordock.

    I thought YorkMix was above all this…. It belongs in that other York media mire… The Press.


    1. Whatever your views on the author of this piece or the content of this article – at least Matthew Laverack is willing to put his name to his opinions.

      How about doing the same, “Space Ranger”?

      It is easy to criticise hiding behind a cloak of anonymity.

    2. Space Ranger,

      Matthew Laverack has set the record straight about the unfair treatment of his friend, the late Peter Turnbull, an honourable man, and the York Mix have assisted in this. Both are to be congratulated.

      This article and the comments by all except you, are about the issue covered by Matthew’s evidence-based, factual account of events leading to the closure of the John Bull pub. This has nothing to do with ego-trips, or self-publicity, and anyone except you can see this.

      You have come on here to goad and attack Matthew, the York Mix and myself, and have contributed nothing to the debate. In future, unless you have something relevant to say, please refrain from stalking us on issues that don’t concern you. Thank you.

  34. well done Mr. Laverack about time the truth came out, lets hope all these ‘real ale’ folks say sorry

  35. I lived in Mansfield Street, off Foss Islands Road during the 1950s and drank in the Black Bull quite often, and I must say that in those days there were folding seats in the pub, so I wonder where this tenant found his?

  36. John Simpson I challenge you to produce your evidence.

    I have kept all the files and papers and photos from 20 years ago. I can back up my comments.

    Nothing is stopping people defending themselves.

    Anyone can come on to this site to speak.

    Unless they are deceased like Peter Turnbull the people referred to can get on here and reply.

    And anyway what do you mean by “the landlord”? Do you mean Mr Turnbull the building owner? Or the pub landlord?

    And what do you mean by “the tenant? The person who persuaded Mr Turnbull to rent out the pub to him? Or the person who later on was behind the bar and had effective day to day control of the pub?

    Oh and by the way – nothing that is true is libellous.

  37. In response to John Simpson’s reference to potentially libellous comments.

    Truth is a complete defence to defamation.

  38. John

    Thank you for your honest contribution.

    The sewage swishing about the barrels in the cellar may well be why you didn’t feel too good after drinking in that shabby place. The bar staff had to splash through that black liquid to hook up the beer lines. It doesn’t take a genius to see the potential for foul contamination of the ale. The staff did take some precautions however. They stacked the active barrels up on stools and used planks as far as possible to access the barrels without dipping their feet into the sewage. Sometimes this worked. Other times it didn’t.

    The demolition workmen of Boswells stated that they had never seen anything like it in all their careers.

    The work teams were greeted by filth and decay when they began in the cellar where two feet of stagnant water created an unbearable stench. This is the quotation from John Boswell, manager of the demolition company, at the time:

    “My workers have had to start wearing double filtered masks to cope with the stench created by a broken drainage pipe. You would just be sick if you stayed down there very long.”

    I can assure you John all of this is true and I have the evidence to back it up.

    The reason the tenant got away with it is twofold:

    Firstly, the coverage of by the Yorkshire Evening Press was less than satisfactory. It was not balanced and never told the full facts. Even when they libelled Mr Turnbull the Press apology was less than fulsome. Almost begrudging. I have a copy of both the offending column (30 July 93) and the so called apology (18 August 93) if you care to see it.

    Secondly, Mr Turnbull was a shy retiring man who backed away from controversy and preferred to let things go rather than be confrontational. He could have pursued the licensee for damages and costs but just wanted to get his building back and then move on and put the whole distressing affair behind him.

    None of this would be out in the public domain today if the “Beer Correspondent” of York Press (which used to be the Yorkshire Evening Press) hadn’t seen fit to drag up the whole story after twenty years and again take a swipe at Peter Turnbull referring to a “cruelly barbaric” act and “taking it all away from them”. This from a journalist who admits he wasn’t even in York at the time and had no first hand knowledge of what really went on. He did not check the facts.

    Peter Turnbull didn’t take away anything away from anyone because it didn’t belong to the licensee or the customers or the campaign group in the first place.

  39. I stand by my previous comments and agree with those by Mr. Outhard concerning the folding stools and the catering.

    I note that some of the comments made about both the landlord and the tenant are close to being libellous. It is a pity that the people concerned cannot defend themselves.

  40. Mr Simpson I repeat again you are wrong.

    All the fixtures of the building were the property of the freehold owner – Mr Turnbull. The rear bar was removed and taken away without the consent of Peter Turnbull. It was stolen. Similarly, the folding stools were an original feature of the pub and not brought in by the licensee. They too were removed and sold off.

    Look at the photos again Mr Simpson. Look at the missing rear bar. Are you trying to suggest that pub fairies came and took away those fittings in the middle of the night just before handover and that the licensee did not remove them?

    And as for the state of the place at the end! Relatively tidy you say! Relative to what? A stinking doss house?Because that is what it looked and smelled like.

    When this was revealed in The Press at the time the Secretary of the John Bull Action Group tried to dismiss it as “a few empty crisp packets in a store room” but photos taken at the time reveal the truth.
    Filthy and disgusting. A serious health hazard.

    As you were the auctioneer perhaps you could shed some light on what happened to the money raised on the night? None of it found its way to pay off the thousands owed in unpaid rent did it Mr Simpson?

  41. i came to york in 1993 and drank in here just before it closed and remember the campaign. A bit of a shabby place i recall. The malton double chance gave me a bad head. Guess i now know why!
    i remember the york press presented Mr turnbull as remote figure who did not want to be interviewed about the issue. Perhaps he could have done with a p.r man. Good job there was none of this “social media” around then. Strange that the tenate could get away with this (if true) for so long and it’s still misrepresented.

  42. Mr. Laverack,
    I’m afraid you are wrong. The bar in the back room was not sold at the auction, nor were any of the fittings belonging to the landlord.

    1. Dear Mr Simpson,

      How do you know that some of the items were not the property of the landlord? You were not the tenant, and if the tenant gave you his word that all the items were his, how do you know that he was not duping you like he duped Mr Turnbull?

      The tenant cheated Mr Turnbull out of thousands in unpaid rent, proving that he had no integrity.

      I’m afraid that the word of a cheat cannot be trusted.

    2. I think its you who is wrong Mr Simpson
      I remember being at the auction, and I definitely made a bid for the bar in question!

      I remember wanting it for the reception area of my business.

  43. Mr Outhart you just don’t get it do you?

    It has nothing to do with being a man of property or defending other men of property. It is a matter of right and wrong. A matter of honour. A matter of honesty. A matter of doing the right thing. A matter of standing up for a decent honourable man who’s good name was being dragged through the mud just so that the drinkers in the John Bull could go on boozing.

    Your accusation against me that I know the price of everything but the value of nothing is offensive and unworthy. You clearly do not know me or my character (and by way of correction that phrase is said of cynics and not accountants).

    It is NOT the case that the pub was a long standing thriving social hub that had its premises bought out from under it by a businessman who then evicted the occupants. But that is the story that supporters of the errant licensee tried to portray.

    Peter Turnbull was under no obligation to allow the pub to reopen in 1982. He did it as a favour. Because somebody begged and pleaded with him to allow the premises to be used again until the site was required for parking. Promises were made to hand the pub back when the leases ended. Those promises we’re broken. Written contracts were breached.

    Your reference to there being no economic argument for demolition of the building is utterly ridiculous. It shows you do not understand the issues involved. The whole point of purchasing the pub in 1978 was to secure the economic future of the adjoining motor dealership by securing room for its expansion – thereby protecting the jobs and services it offered.

    The licensee credited with creating a particular pub ambience could have moved his operation to another building or another empty pub and recreated it there. Just look at how many pubs have closed! (And many of them without so much as a whimper from those who got agitated over the John Bull shutting down).

    Peter Turnbull on the other hand could only expand onto one site – the site he bought specifically for that purpose.

    Moreover Mr Outhart, where was the licensee when John Smith’s Brewery put the building up for sale? Where we’re the campaigners for that matter? They all had every opportunity to buy it but didn’t. No one was interested. It was just another empty pub that no one wanted. Peter Turnbull bought it legitimately and for legitimate reasons. Other people tried to take it away from him illegitimately.

    Quite apart from all this is the matter of the unpaid rent. All the while that the John Bull Action Group were waging their propaganda war against Peter Turnbull and demanding that the licensee be allowed to remain running the pub just the way the campaigners liked it, the agreed rent wasn’t even being paid! And you seem to think this was ok and Mr Turnbull should have just given in and let it continue. To be taken advantage of in perpetuity. To lose the valuable site he had purchased to protect his family business. Your position is untenable Mr Outhart and your viewpoint unreasonable.

    Imagine this scenario Mr Outhart. You have a bike which you intend to convert some day into something you need for your livelihood. Someone comes along and asks to rent it off you until you need to do that conversion. You agree but find the person doesn’t pay you the agreed rental. You then ask for the bike back but the person refuses to let you have it. He says he and his friends have got used to it and are enjoying it so much that he doesn’t think his agreement to return it should be honoured and he won’t be paying anything for the use of it.

    I don’t suppose you would be very happy with that arrangement would you Mr Outhart?

  44. Jean Murray please note the demolition contractor was Boswells. He quoted a fair price which was accepted. The building was NOT bulldozed. Some machinery was used but the structure was taken down carefully and mostly by hand so that slates and clamp bricks and other materials could be salvaged for reuse. I have the contract documents from the time including the clause about salvaging internal pub fittings – the ones stolen and auctioned off.
    Mr Boswell was shocked by the state of the building and he had seen some sights in his time. In particular the foul stench in the cellar was overpowering. The pub should have been shut down on health grounds because of this long before but the licensee didn’t mention that his beer barrels were sitting in sewage! Any idea why Mrs Murray?

  45. John Simpson you are wrong. And as the auctioneer you were party to a criminal act of theft whether you knew it or not. Yes enamel signs and other loose items belonging to the licensee were sold but all fixtures in the pub were the property of the freehold owner. Are you seriously suggesting that the bar in the back room fitted when the pub was built in 1937 was the property of the licensee?

  46. Nothing much new here. This was all part of the rumour-mill at the time. Still, a great shame that a unique pub was lost to the city.

    Another yarn doing the rounds back then was that the only person who made money out of the demise of the JB was the contractor responsible for demolishing it. Any idea who that was Mr Laverack?

  47. It is true that the campaign to keep the John Bull open was vitriolic, the tenant’s behaviour vis-a-vis the cash for rent let both the landlord and his clients down, however honourable Peter Turnbull may have been, he really dug in his heels and decided, in spite of good arguments to keep it open, that it would close, not for economic reasons but because he wanted to win the battle (for that is what it had become) The only thing I did was to sign a petition to keep the pub open, along with three and a half thousand others, I wasn’t really bothered who the landlord would be, it was the pub that needed saving. Peter Turnbull ignored all of those people who signed the petition because he could, and some got very annoyed by that. By way of a correction, the folding seats I believe were from a railway post office sorting carriage and bought by the tenant at an auction, the food were doorstep sandwiches which I doubt ever saw a cooker. Matthew, you are a man of property and you will defend your fellow men of property, but like accountants who now the price of everything and value of nothing, there were social costs wrapped up in the closure of a social hub and the ramifications of that were equal to those of the railway engine works closing in York in the early 20th century, those social networks have never recovered and some people left us without warning, maybe they would still be with us now if those social networks still existed, who knows.

    1. If the tenant (Mr Hobson) had got so far behind with the rent (£7,725 in arrears), what choice did the landlord (Mr Turnbull) have other than to dig his heels in and seek to teminate the tenancy?

      Mr Turnbull allowed the pub to operate for twelve years, and his reward for being a decent landlord was to treated with contempt by his tenant.

      I sympathise with Mr Turnbull, as a tenant of a property owned by my family, got three months behind after spending thousands on furniture. They had been a tenant for 13yrs, had a relatively new sports car, enjoyed regular foreign holidays, and the rent was kept well below the market rate as gesture of goodwill. The tenant decided to leave, promised to pay what was owed, but, left without a leaving a forwarding address, never paid what was owed, and left the house full of unwanted junk.

      After the problem Mr Turnbull had with Mr Hobson, I’m not surprised that he took the decision to use HIS PROPERTY for another use. Blame the tenant for provoking this, not the landlord.

  48. Yes James Loxton it is extremely subjective and partisan. It is meant to be. It is also entirely true.

    I was in the middle of that Maelstrom when the John Bull Action Group were slinging mud at any one who dared to stand in their way. When they were dragging down the good name of a decent and honourable man with a nasty campaign so they could hopefully go on drinking and smoking to their hearts content in someone else’s building. Their desire for their pleasure to continue was far more important than anything else in the universe. Certainly far more important than promises made or written agreements duly signed.

    You say the article “may or may not be true” but everything in this article is factually correct and I have all the press cuttings and files from 20 years ago to prove it. The Turnbull family also have access to legal papers and files. Everything in this article is correct. If you think otherwise please identify where you think it is incorrect. We will then address those points.

    Moreover Mr Loxton, the only reason this article has appeared in Yorkmix after all these years is because York Press saw fit to mark the 20th anniversary of the pub closure with an article in which they disgracefully dragged the whole business up again and referred to Peter Turnbull acting in a “cruelly barbaric” manner and “taking it all away from them”.

    I was quite happy to let it all lie in the past. I would have made no comment at all but for the continued denigration of a decent man 20 years after the events unfolded and only a few months after his sad passing at the relatively young age of 71 years.

    Peter Turnbull had his good name trashed 20 years ago. I am not going to see it trashed again without comment.

    If any member of the John Bull Action Group would like to apologise on this site for their reprehensible conduct two decades ago I am sure the Turnbull family would much appreciate it.

  49. Readers should be aware of what really happened at the end; the real reason the licensee (backed up by the John Bull Action Group) eventually capitulated and vacated the pub twenty years ago.

    The story put out on the front page of The Yorkshire Evening Press on 29 March 1994 was because of spiralling legal costs. This is not so. The legal action was initiated by Peter Turnbull and he was the one incurring big legal bills. The licensee was the defendant who just had to sit back and refuse to budge. His legal costs were minimal compared to those of Peter Turnbull. Plus, he was taking good money over the counter but paying no rent. The licensee pulled in substantial takings for seven months after his last lease expired on 31 October 1993.

    The real reason the pub campaigners “threw in the towel” was because they didn’t have a leg to stand on.

    The tenancy agreement was for a fixed period and that period had expired. End of story. Coupled also with the agreed rent not being paid there was only ever likely to be one outcome of those legal proceedings.

    All the talk of what a great pub it was and it’s value to the community and it’s alleged architectural quality was all entirely irrelevant. The tenancy agreement was perfectly clear. A fixed period with agreed rent payments.
    The licensee had reneged on both counts. He hadn’t paid the rent and he refused to move out.
    Had the case eventually gone to a hearing in front of a Judge the defaulting licensee would not only have been ordered to hand back the premises but quite likely also been ordered to pay Peter Turnbull the overdue rent, compensation in lieu of rent for trading seven months after the lease expired and also all the plaintiff’s legal costs. Many thousands of pounds. A five figure sum.

    By agreeing to move out the licensee was able to walk away from these obligations. It is now public knowledge he also walked away with the proceeds from auctioning off the pub fittings which didn’t belong to him! He did very well out of the whole affair thank you very much. Poor Peter Turnbull suffered terribly. He lost financially and was unjustly vilified. He would have been much better off declining the offer made to him in respect of a temporary use of the pub. His life would have been easier. He would not have had the stress. He would not have been put through hell.

    None of this was ever made clear in The Press at the time. Unlike Peter Turnbull, the licensee was not a man of honour. His word and his signature turned out to be worthless.

    Only now – thanks to Yorkmix – is the full story being told.

  50. Given the extremely subjective & partisan tone of this article – (which may or not be true and that is not the point of my comment) I would be very interested in a counter article by someone involved in the Save the John Bull Campaign

  51. As the auctioneer who conducted the auction for the tenant I must refute the accusations that fixtures & fittings owned by the landlord were sold. Only the personal property of Mr. Hobson was sold; e.g. railway memorabilia, antique enamel signs, antique furniture such as Britannia tables etc.. None of the pub fittings such as the bars, beer pumps, fitted seating etc. were sold.
    As a customer, I can say that the cooker in question was never used for pub meals as sandwiches were the only food on the menu.
    I cannot comment as to the condition of the pub interior when the property was vacated, but at the time immediately after the auction it was in a relatively tidy state.

  52. Readers should be aware of the untrue claims made in The Press at the time that Peter Turnbull and Matthew Laverack were “business partners”. An outrageous false claim. One of several. Peter Turnbull was a former architectural client of Matthew Laverack. Nothing more. Matthew Laverack had no financial interest whatsoever in Turnbull’s motor dealership or in the John Bull pub building.
    Matthew Laverack came forward to defend Peter Turnbull because he was heartily sick of the character assassination of a decent man and could no longer stand by and let the abuse continue.

  53. Readers should look closely at the picture captioned –
    “Empty: The popular Layerthorpe pub after it closed”.
    It is the back room of the pub. Look at the floor. The outline of the bar can easily be seen. This was taken out and sold by the tenant along with folding stools and other fixtures which were all the property of Peter Turnbull and all scheduled for salvage. It is called THEFT. If you have that bar or if you have folding stools or the fireplace or any of the other items please note you bought stolen property on the night of the auction. The only reason you still have possession of them is because of the generous and forgiving nature of Peter Turnbull. Despite all he had been through and all the outrageous things done to him and said about him he chose not to call the police and have the culprit arrested. How many other men would have been so magnanimous?
    Rest in peace Peter Turnbull.
    I salute you.
    Matthew Laverack

  54. How interesting to read this article. The media have a lot to answer for, somehow bad tenants seem to get away with not paying, trashing the place and the landlord made to look the villain of the piece. I remember the pub being a grotty place and the outcry by the press and regulars. Well done Matthew Laverack, what a shame Peter Turnbull isn’t around to see this.

  55. I have lived overseas for quite a few years now but I can certainly back up the fact that Peter Turnbull was an honorable man. HIs family were certainly the same. I was shocked to read all this but I am not surprised that he just “turned the other cheek”. I hate stories where facts are twisted and decent people like Peter are Maligned. God Bless you Peter, R.I.P

  56. I read Matthew’s letter in last Saturday’s (31st May) Press, about this matter, and it is clear that it had been edited to conceal the key facts. The Press appear to be protecting itself and the activists who waged the unfair campaign against the late Peter Turnbull, who sadly passed away last December at the relatively young age of 71. This is shameful, and an insult to the memory of an honourable local businessman, and hurtful to his family.

    Well done Matthew, for setting the record straight, and thank you YorkMix for printing the full story, with all the facts, which is to your credit.

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