Lord of the Rings actor Sir Ian McKellen buys Limehouse pub

Lord of the Rings Star Sir Ian McKellen has this morning bought a 300 year old Dickensian pub near his home in Limehouse.

The Hollywood actor is understood to be “very proud” after signing the lease for the The Grapes pub, made famous by Charles Dickens, on Narrow Street.

Seller landlady Barbara Haigh, 61, said he filmed the signing on his iphone this morning but insisted she was still the owner for another couple of hours until the money was in her bank account. She said the Spirit Pub Company owned the head lease but that she was selling Sir Ian the remaining part of the lease that she owns.

Ms Haigh said: “He was very proud of it and filmed the signing on his iphone. He’s a great friend of mine and will keep it in safe hands from the pub companies.” She would not reveal how much Sir Ian, who is a regular at the boozer built in 1720, paid but said the pub was “more of sentimental value” to her after running it for 17 years.

Asked why she thought Sir Ian had bought the pub she said: “He lives just next door but one and he has just bought the house in between as well and is knocking through the walls. It’s a Dickensian pub and he wants to keep it in that tradition.” She said he will also be decorating the flat above the pub.

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Sir Ian, 72, is employing a manager, Paul Mathias, to run the boozer which was Seafood Pub of The Year and overall winner of Pub of The Year 2007.

Ms Haigh, who is retiring said: “Running a pub takes over your life and I now want to do some travelling and see all the sites of London I never got to see.”

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Dickens, who was made to stand on the table and sing to customers as a youngsters, immortalised the pub as The Six Jolley Fellowship pub in Our Mutual Friend in 1864.

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