A 24-year-old history of art graduate has taken on the tenancy of one of High Barnet's notable public houses -- Ye Olde Monken Holt which is at the Hadley Green end of the High Street.



Katie Procel-Mannion (seen above, right) has taken over from publican Veronica McGowan who is retiring and returning to Ireland after her seven years running what she says is one of the town’s friendliest pubs.

The Monken Holt – which has an outside seating area created out of two High Street parking bays – is popular in summer months especially with walkers and visitors heading to Hadley Green, Hadley Woods, and the London Loop walk.

Katie, who graduated last year from the University of East Anglia with a degree in the history of art, had been working at the pub while studying.

When she heard that Veronica was giving up the tenancy, she decided to take on the challenge and apply to brewers Greene King.

“I realise it sounds pretty daunting for someone who is only 24 to have taken on the tenancy, but I am used to working behind the bar. I grew up in pubs which my dad and mum ran in Tottenham.

“I already know lots of the regulars at the Monken Holt, and I have been looking forward to becoming the landlady.”

Katie said she hoped that find ways to further her interest in the history of art – and was full of praise all the work that had gone into researching and painting the historic heraldic banners which line the High Street in celebration of the Battle of Barnet.

Veronica said her seven years in Barnet had been a wonderful experience and she was pleased to think that the pub’s regulars thought she had restored the Monken Holt to its tradition of being a friendly and welcoming place.

During her tenancy Veronica has organised numerous fund-raising events including themed evenings to connect with Irish music, culture, and traditions.

She was on hand for one last time to host a reception to welcome London finalists for the Rose of Tralee International Festival which is held in County Kerry in August.

This annual celebration of Irish culture brings together women of Irish descent from around the world and Veronica – who was herself chosen as London’s Rose in 1981 – laid on the reception so that this year’s London finalists could get to know each other.

One of the many Christmas and New Year fund-raising events she has organised at the Monken Holt included Nollaig na mBan, or Women’s Little Christmas, the Irish women’s traditional get together on the 12th night of Christmas, which raised nearly £800.

“Over the last six or seven years we have probably raised around £6,000 a year – and the money goes to various charities including the Barnet Puddenecks Club, who organise events for Barnet’s older residents and the Barnet Women’s Refuge.”