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New era dawns for pubs

PUBLISHED: 14:55 03 September 2010

Sharon Taylor at the end of the pub's era

Sharon Taylor at the end of the pub's era

Archant

Several pubs had mixed fortunes at the weekend as one of the town's oldest prepared to close whilst others prepared to reopen after months of closure.

In the town once boasting England’s largest number of pubs for every street, there was a wave of closures earlier this year – but the most high profile was the Terrace Tavern, in The Terrace, Gravesend.

A party-cum-wake was thrown over three days at the weekend in the 300-year-old pub, once frequented by Singin’ the Blues rock and roll legend Tommy Steele when he was a teenage trainee seaman in the 1950s.

Traditionally it was a rivermen’s pub, but a decline in the river industry, a general fall off in pub trade and soaring overheads took their toll and it has been sold at auction for £165,000 to turn into bedsits.

Landlady Sharon Taylor, who has been running it for a year, said: “This has been my baby and I am very, very sad. I never came into this to make money but I had to say enough was enough.

“It has been a fantastic time, and I’ve had some really great customers, but the overheads are just too high.”

Ms Taylor, 37, a mother-of-three, quit the Grade II listed pub yesterday – exactly a year after taking over.

Now she aims to start up behind the bar again, this time at the Market Tavern which used to be The Chase in High Street.

She added: “I’ll be taking over in the second week in September. It won’t be called the Market Tavern, but I’ve got three names I’m trying to decide about.”

The Market Tavern, which also has a long history, was sold at auction for £210,000 to a businessman some months ago and Ms Taylor will be landlady.

However, at a time when figures show that 10 per cent of boozers have closed their doors over the last three years, some Gravesend and Northfleet pubs are re-opening.

The New Inn is now under the name of Coyotte Ugly, the Railway Tavern is re-opening as a modern bar under a new name, and the Rose and the Leather Bottel in Northfleet have both re-opened with new tenants, and The Plough, next to the Fleet football ground, is now the Cosmopolitan.

One of the more than 300 people at the Terrace Tavern ‘wake’ on Sunday was Roy Davis, 69, who has been using the pub for about 44 years.

Mr David, who now lives in Outwell, Suffolk, said: “It is the end of an era. Everyone has come here to show their appreciation for the work that the publicans have done – but it is tragic to see it close.”

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