Sunday, October 09, 2011

Kent's Disappearing Pubs

I have been inspired to write this latest post by my fellow blogger Helen in Melbourne, Australia.

She wrote an interesting piece on her blog about the contribution to the world of the traditional British pub.

I have read reports that pubs are closing at a rate of two a day (although I suspect it could be even more than than this).

A combination of factors have lead to this criminal state of affairs. The smoking ban, increases in alcohol duties and the general economic downturn.

Many well established pubs in Kent have been closed including a number of historic ones like the Terrace Tavern below in Gravesend.

This pub has been closed for several months now and faces an uncertain future. As a riverside town Gravesend used to boast numerous traditional Victorian pubs like this but many have now disappeared and with them their unique architecture.

The Terrace Tavern is a particularly good example of Victorian decoration with the green glazed tiles, etched glass windows (hidden by the hoardings) and fancy ironwork. The Shrimp Brand Beers were brewed locally in Gravesend.

Another closed pub I came across on one of my recent walks is the Fox and Hounds at Darenth.

This pub is located on a busy main road between Dartford and Longfield. Despite the passing trade it still does not appear to have been able to generate enough trade to survive.

The Colyer Arms at Betsham named after a local Great War hero (more about him in a future post) is no longer with us.....

A few months later....

This was the only pub in the village. It's closure followed that of the local petrol station and shop. The village had already lost it's railway station in 1962 courtesy of Dr Beeching.

The pub will be replaced with housing.

The Polhill Arms at Halstead was another large pub on a busy main road close to Orpington. The pub was named after the Polhill family who were important local landowners in the 18th century.

Finally two views of the Chequers Inn in the affluent village of Ightam near Sevenoaks taken on recent walks. The first shows the pub for sale....

Then a couple of months later boarded up....

These are just a few examples of the pubs we have lost in Kent over the last couple of years. Sadly before we come through the other side of the current recession there will no doubt be many more added to the list.

If you have any comments on this post I would love to hear from you.

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  1. What a terrible shame. I particularly noted what you said about the Terrace Tavern - Victorian decoration with the green glazed tiles, etched glass windows and fancy ironwork. Communities are damaged when their favourite pubs close down and precious architecture is lost.

  2. My Great-grandparents ran the Two Sawyers in Gillingham High Street. My great-great grandfather ran the Plough and Checquers on Dane's Hill in Gillingham. Other family members ran the Staff of Life and the Beehive in Cliffe and Cooling, Hoo. All rather funny because my other set of Great-grandparents were teetotal. It's a shame that these old beauties are being ripped down.

  3. My local the Plough in Northfleet has gone too. First it was renamed the cosmopolitan which quickly failed and it now seems to be a Cafe. Have you heard about the Northfleet Harbour and the group trying to restore it?

  4. I think this is heartbreaking. I hate soulless gastro pubs but there just don't seem to be any pubs at all in my corner of Dartford. I think another factor is binge drinking. People don't want to sit and relax and chat over a couple of pints. They want to get hammered. An it costs far less to do that at home or in a gastro pub.

    I must ask my dad how pubs are doing in the north west. My dad and I spent many a session bonding over pints and crisps in the 90s!