Features Walthamstow

In honour of Walthamstow’s much-loved pub landlady

After years working in adult education, Viv was a “natural” at running Ye Olde Rose & Crown
By Victoria Munro

Viv Barrett (courtesy of family)
Viv Barrett (courtesy of family)

A huge figure in the Walthamstow community was buried last week after being diagnosed with a brain tumour six months ago.

Viv Barrett, landlady of Ye Olde Rose & Crown Theatre Pub in Hoe Street, died on 15th April and was buried at GreenAcres in Epping Forest on 26th April.

She is survived by her husband Bun Constantinou, who she met at the age of 18, and her two children Richard and Joanna Barrett-Constantinou.

Viv, Bun, Joanna and business partners Andrew Yon and Aaron Clingham purchased Ye Olde Rose & Crown in 2008 and it has received multiple awards in the years since.

Joanna told the Echo her mother was a “natural” at running a pub, adding: “She was a firm believer that the wider the community you have, the better your life will be. She loved going around from table to table, knowing about people’s lives and families, listening to their worries and struggles and giving advice where appropriate.

“She had such an amazing capacity for love and understanding. She would really give you her time, which is so valuable in a day and age where everyone’s running at 100 miles an hour, and she would give people a chance, whatever their circumstances.

“She had such a zest for life and never regretted anything. She took every moment as it was because she knew without [the bad] she would not have the wonderful things, like my dad and me and my brother.”

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Viv at the Big Dip fundraiser in March (credit: Nicola Neal)

Viv and Bun met at University Technical College Tottenham, when she was 18 and he was 19, and were together for more than 40 years.

“From my understanding,” Joanna added, “My dad was all ‘football, football, football’ and my mum saw him and knew she had got to work her way into that crowd. She knew she was going to spend the rest of her life with him.”

Viv “helped rebuild” Bun after he nearly lost his life to Covid-19 in 2020 but received a surprise diagnosis of a brain tumour last November, forcing her to put plans to swim in all 100 lidos in the UK on hold.

Instead, in March, she and friends organised a “Big Dip” at the London Fields Lido in Hackney, aiming to swim 100 lengths in one lido and raise £10,000 for The Brain Tumour Charity. The group actually raised more than £20,000.

Joanna added that mourners who want to honour her mother’s memory are encouraged to donate to the Lloyd Park Children’s Charity with the reference ‘Viv Barrett’, adding that her mother sat on the board of trustees and “believed wholeheartedly” in its cause.

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