DOVER KENT ARCHIVES

Sort file:- Swanscombe, September, 2022.

Page Updated:- Saturday, 24 September, 2022.

PUB LIST PUBLIC HOUSES Paul Skelton

Earliest 1843

George and Dragon

Closed Aug 2019

Galley Hill / London Road

Swanscombe

01322 386440

http://georgedragonswanscombe.co.uk/

https://whatpub.com/george-dragon

George and Dragon 1910

Above photo circa 1910.

George and Dragon 1912

Above photo circa 1912.

George and Dragon 1930

Above photo 1930. Dressed for the Annual Beano. From http://www.garyvaughanpostcards.co.uk/

George and Dragon 2015

Above Google image, September 2015. From http://www.garyvaughanpostcards.co.uk/

George and Dragon 2015

Above photo, February 2015, kindly sent by Bas.

George and Dragon 2015

Above photo, February 2015, kindly sent by Bas.

George and Dragon 2015

Above photo, February 2015, kindly sent by Bas.

George and Dragon sign 2019George and Dragon sign 2019

Above signs, 2019, kindly taken and sent by Tom Duff.

 

In 1910 the licensee Thomas Hudson sold Woodford's fine old wines and spirits.

This pub brews its own beer at a brewery titled the "Caveman Brewery."

The following information has been taken from a book titled, "Swanscombe in old picture postcards, by Christopher Bull":- The "George & Dragon" was one of Swanscombe's major pubs and was able to provide spirits, accommodation and stabling in addition to beer. It stands on the main Strood to Dartford turnpike road; this section was turnpiked in 1738. The present building is believed to date from the 1840's but an earlier house existed to pick up the passing road trade. Until the 1840s Galley Hill was a hamlet physically separate form Swanscombe itself (which was along Swanscombe Street), but massive growth caused by cement workers' housing, caused Galley Hill to merge with the rest of Swanscombe. Note the terraced buildings next to the pub - these were redeveloped in the late 1970s into industrial units. The landlord listed is Thomas Hudson who ran the business from 1897 to 1914.

 

From the https://www.kentonline.co.uk By Sean Delaney, 24 December 2019.

Victorian pub The George and Dragon, Swanscombe, could become Domino's Pizza following Ebbsfleet Garden City planning bid.

Plans have been submitted to turn a 128-year-old pub into a pizza takeaway.

The George and Dragon is a former Victorian coaching inn located on the corner of London Road and Swanscombe High Street since 1891.

George and Dragon 2019

The George and Dragon Pub in Swanscombe could be turned into a takeaway pizza shop. Photo: Matt Brown/Flickr.

Its taps have been running dry since August when owners Bob and Bron Veal shut its doors for good.

The couple purchased the boozer back in 2011 and set about changing its image.

This included obtaining new licences and carrying out a refurbishment to update its B&B facility to cater for up to six guests.

Only six years ago it was named among the 150 best local real ale pubs in the country, winning the title of Gravesend and Darent Valley CAMRA pub of the year two years in a row.

Its success coincided with the opening of the Caveman Brewery in 2013 by Nick Byram and James Hayward, who went on to set up the Iron Pier Brewery in Northfleet last year.

Operating from the basement below the pub, the brewery produced a new line of ales, from the Neanderthal best bitter to a Paleolithic pale ale.

Each beer's name drew inspiration from the former gravel quarry, Barnfield Pit, now Swanscombe Heritage Park, where the archaeological discovery of the then oldest human remains found in the UK – the Swanscombe Skull – was made.

But it appears even the brewer's intervention was not be enough to save the pub from extinction.

Approaching retirement, the couple placed the business on the market but could not find any bidders to continue the business.

Now an initial application by Zaan Ltd, which currently runs a franchise chain of Domino's Pizza in London Road, Gillingham, has been submitted.

It follows a recommendation by planning officers from the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation to change the use of the premises to a food takeaway business.

Christoph Bull 2019

Historian Christoph Bull believes the building should be retained as a public house or made into a restaurant.

A marketing statement submitted with the application read: “The George and Dragon is no longer viable as a public house business, and better suited to alternative use."

It cited several factors behind its recommendation, including "rising costs, a demographic shift towards eating and drinking at home for less money, public health concerns and the smoking ban".

As part of the repurposing of the site, new extract vents and flues will be installed to minimise "noise and smells".

It also includes rear parking access with room for 10 cars which will be retained as a "pick-up" point for customers.

Its not the first historic building in the area to be subject to redevelopments plans, with the All Saints Church opposite having recently been converted into flats.

The "Alma" Public House in Swanscombe High Street was demolished last month to make way for a house of multiple occupation.

Councellor Emma Ben Moussa

Swanscombe Councillor Emma Ben Moussa says some of her residents have expressed concerns at the proposal.

Historian Christoph Bull runs a regular tour from the historic George and Dragon pub.

He hopes the building can be preserved and used either as another public house or a healthy eating restaurant.

"There is enough pizza places in Swanscombe," he said.

"It does not need to be drowned in more unsaturated fat."

Although the historian noted he'd sooner see it be turned into a pizza shop than it face the "same disgraceful fate" as the "Alma" Public House.

Cllr Emma Ben Moussa (Lab) says she will be reading the plans over Christmas and ensuring her residents' views are heard.

"It seems the George and the Dragon despite being part of Swanscombe is under Ebbsfleet planning boundaries," she said.

"The George was a much-loved part of our community and the impression I'm getting from my ward is that we do not need another fast food takeaway and they would prefer it remained as a pub or something that the community can use together."

The Ebbsfleet Development Corporation has been contacted for comment.

 

From the https://www.kentonline.co.uk By Sean Delaney, 7 January 2020.

Motorist arrested after crashing into wall next to George and Dragon pub, London Road, Swanscombe.

A man has been arrested after crashing into the wall of an industrial estate next to a pub.

The driver was pursued by the police helicopter shortly after 2am before colliding with the property in London Road, Swanscombe, next to the now closed George and Dragon.

Crashed car 2020

The vehicle crashed into the wall next to the George and Dragon Pub in Swanscombe. Photo: Kent Police.

Officers arrested a man in his 20s on suspicion of taking a vehicle without consent, dangerous driving and failing to stop.

He remains in custody.

 

From the https://www.kentonline.co.uk By Sean Delaney, 26 June 2022.

Revised plans to transform historic Victorian pub The George and Dragon in Swanscombe into Domino's Pizza takeaway.

Plans have resurfaced to transform a historic 131-year-old pub into a pizza takeaway joint – just two years after they were turned down.

The George and Dragon has been sat on the corner of the junction between London Road and Swanscombe High Street since 1891. (I've traced it as early as 1843. Paul Skelton.)

As a former Victorian coaching inn the vintage boozer would welcome many a weary traveller and in more recent times enjoyed success as a local CAMRA pub of the year.

But despite its reputation it has not welcomed in punters for a light refreshment since its permanently shut its door in 2019 when the landlord and landlady announced they were retiring.

An application was later made to the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation (EDC) to change the use of the premises to a food takeaway business with franchise chain Domino's Pizza poised to take over.

But the bid was refused in 2020 and an appeal against the decision refused by the Planning Inspectorate.

Planners said the proposal would result in loss of a "community facility for non-community purposes" and deemed it an inappropriate location with insufficient parking.

George and Dragon 2022

The George and Dragon Pub in Swanscombe has been on the market for many years without success.

Concerns were also flagged over the length of marketing exercises to explore the pub's continued use as a "community-led" facility.

Undettered, pizza bosses have now submitted a fresh application which again seeks permission for the change of use for the vacant public house to a hot food takeaway joint.

The proposed takeaway would operate between 10am and midnight daily and will generate an as yet unspecified number of local jobs.

Plans outline a new layout to provide a customer service area with a limited amount of seating at the front of the store with the kitchen area behind.

At the back there will be a cold room, storage area and wash up area as well as staff facilities. There will be eight car parking spaces to be access via London Road.

The resubmitted plans come fresh off the back of new updated market evidence after attempts to find a buyer fell flat.

The pub has been vacant since 2019 and has been on the market since November 2018.

In its planning application, the applicant states that while some "very limited interest" has been shown in re-using the site as a pub, no realistic evidence was provided to demonstrate a purchase would have been possible.

It says: "Five months have elapsed following the target market campaign with no further interest in the site.

"In addition to the initial twelve-month marketing period, this is ample time to establish that there is no potential for the site to be reoccupied in community use."

As such the franchisee believes that the change of the use of the site is in line with EDC's development policy.

The statement adds: "The proposed change of use will have significant economic benefits for the local area, with the buildings re-use resulting in the creation of a significant number of jobs for local people, together with other benefits arising from the refurbishment of the building and improvements to its appearance and streetscene.

"More ideas need to be sought to help the town become a positive place to live..."

"It is therefore clear that the loss of the public house is justified in national and local planning policy terms."

But the re-emergence of the Domino's Pizza plans have sparked more than 30 comments on the EDC planning portal, with most voicing their opinion against the proposals.

The main reasons cited were traffic congestion, poor access and parking provision and the loss of a community facility.

One commented: "This should not be allowed. The town leads more local amenities, not pizza restaurants of which there are multiple within a few miles.

Another added: "We have far too many low rate food places - why on earth would we want to turn this lovely building into another one?

"This will cause traffic issues at this junction and put more delivery scooters on the roads."

Kent historian Christoph Bull said: "I want the building to be used for something but I don't want it to be destroyed or developed into a takeaway.

"Swanscombe does not need more saturated fat in its blood stream than it already has."

He added his preference would be for it to be converted into a German restaurant but said whatever it's use it would face issues over parking and access.

Swanscombe and Greenhithe Town Council has also voiced its opposition to the plans.

A statement read: "Members of the Town Council, as local people, know that the proposal would bring more traffic flow to the immediate vicinity which already suffers from heavy use and cannot absorb this.

"The town council do not feel that this application does enough to mitigate the reasons the previous application was refused with the refusal being upheld on appeal by The Planning Inspectorate.

Its not the first historic building in the area to be subject to redevelopments plans, with the All Saints Church opposite having been converted into flats in recent years.

The "Alma" Public House in Swanscombe High Street was demolished recently to make way for homes and the "Wheatsheaf" pub, also in the High Street has been tipped to become flats too.

The previous landlord and landlady purchased the "George and Dragon" back in 2011 and oversaw an upturn in fortunes.

Only eight years ago it was named among the 150 best local real ale pubs in the country, winning the title of Gravesend and Darent Valley CAMRA pub of the year two years in a row.

Its success coincided with the opening there of the Caveman Brewery in 2013 by Nick Byram and James Hayward, who went on to set up The Iron Pier Brewery in Northfleet.

Domino’s Pizza Group's spokesman Will Hill said: "We’re really excited about the possibility of opening a new store for the pizza lovers of Swanscombe.

"A new planning application has been submitted by the owner of the property we and are hopeful of a positive outcome.”

 

LICENSEE LIST

BLACKMAN William 1847+ (also Horse and Fly Proprietor)

CLINCH William 1858+

CARLEY Thomas 1861+ (age 53 in 1861Census)

COTTLE John 1881+ (age 57 in 1881Census)

HERBERT Mr to Jan/1891 Maidstone and Kentish Journal

HACKMAN Henry Jan/1891-July/94 dec'd (age 45 in 1891Census) Maidstone and Kentish JournalBromley and District Times

HACKMAN Mrs (widow) July/1894+ Bromley and District Times

HUDSON Thomas 1897-14 (age 47 in 1901Census) Kelly's 1903

SPARKES George H 1938+

COOPER C Mr late 1950s-early 60s

VEAL Bob & Veal 2011-Aug/19

https://pubwiki.co.uk/GeorgeDragon.shtml

 

Kelly's 1903From the Kelly's Directory 1903

CensusCensus

Maidstone and Kentish JournalMaidstone and Kentish Journal

Bromley and District TimesBromley and District Times

 

If anyone should have any further information, or indeed any pictures or photographs of the above licensed premises, please email:-

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