Sir Richard's famous Kensington Roof Gardens set for closure
Kensington Roof Gardens, one of London's most iconic venues, is to close after its owner Sir Richard Branson said a challenging market meant the firm struggled to make a profit.
The history of the Gardens, now a Grade II listed site, goes back to the 1930s but Sir Richard's Virgin firm said yesterday that "the time has come for us to close our doors".
"In an ever-changing London market The Roof Gardens has stood the test of time but in the face of unpredictable market conditions and a challenge to remain profitable, we feel that the time has come for us to close our doors," the company said.
Virgin took control of the Roof Gardens in 1981 but will not renew its lease agreement.
The venue was used for events, showbiz parties, award ceremonies, weddings and dinners in its restaurant Babylon.
A total of 85 staff are being axed as a result of the closure, which is being linked to soaring inflation and high business rates.
Virgin said it is working closely with affected staff to find alternative employment opportunities within the group and hospitality industry.