James Watson is a campaigner, activist and pub evangelist. Originally raised in a Midlands mining town, where pubs played a large part in his childhood, he moved to London at the age of 18 to pursue a career as a professional engineer. In every part of London, his local pub was closed, sold, converted to flats or demolished.
After years of this repeating pattern, James lost his patience with the destroyers of pubs and refused to accept the inevitability of pub closures. He resolved to expose the truth behind the aggressive targeting of pubs and to hold local authorities to account to stop this needless destruction.
He was a founder member of the campaign to save his local, The Chesham Arms in Hackney, which raged for almost 1000 days and finally defeated a property developer. In 2014 he co-founded the hard-hitting viral campaign ‘Protect Pubs’ which was pivotal in changing English planning law three times to eventually close the loophole allowing pubs to be destroyed without planning consent.