The all-day restaurant, which received a glowing review in The Guardian from critic Marina O’Loughlin, has been being run by Arthur Woodham’s grandson, Jamie, since Arthur’s death on January 7.
According to the Hackney Gazette, Jamie had intended to take over the business after his grandfather’s death. It was not until this week that he studied the will and found that the shop, where the late Arthur’s wife still lives, must close on 25 May.
“It just said on his passing the shop must be sold,” Jamie Woodham told The Hackney Gazette.
“I was hoping it would be my future. It’s been my life and I’ve worked with him for 30 years. It’s a shame for me and a shame for the customers. It’s so legal. It’s tied up, and there is no way of getting around it.”
Arthur’s gained a loyal following for its traditional British food, including fry ups that were available until 11.30 on the dot; meat stews; and classic dishes such as ham, egg and chips.
Arthur’s opened in 1948, as a branch of the late Arthur’s father (also called Arthur)’s business. The café’s awning reads “Father, son and grandson Est. 1935”, in homage to its history.
Arthur Woodham (the “son”) has worked at the café since 1948, until he went into hospital, aged 91, last December.
Jamie Woodham has worked at the café since he was 12, and plans to open another Hackney café in the near future.