DOVER KENT ARCHIVES

Sort file:- Dover, December, 2018.

Page Updated:- Thursday, 20 December, 2018.

PUB LIST PUBLIC HOUSES Paul Skelton

Earliest 1968

Post Office Club

Latest 2002

Charlton Green

Dover

Post Office Club, 1990

Above show the Post Office Club, 1990. Kind thanks to Dover Library for the picture. (ILL/3683)

From the Dover Express, 8 February, 2001

Mayor falls foul of new parking fines.

Dover Mayor Gordon Cowan fell victim to the council's new team of parking wardens when they gave him a ticket in Maison Dieu Road.

But Cllr Cowan claims that he was wrongly targeted and has already launched an appeal against the notice.

He said: "They said I was parking in a restricted area and I said that I was not. There was no sign to say that it was restricted."

Despite being hit by the squad, Cllr Cowan still thinks that the new blitz on errant car parkers is a good idea.

He added: "The restrictions needed to be brought in because people just parked where they liked previously."

 

From the Dover Express, 11 April, 2002

Gordon Cowan, Post Office Club, Dover 2002

Cowan quits PO club.

EXCLUSIVE by Simon Finlay.

POST Office management has admitted that its ailing social club in Dover is in financial difficulties - just days after its treasurer Gordon Cowan stepped down.

A significant sum - thought to be thousands of pounds - is believed to be owed to creditors and at least one brewery has stopped supplies.

Mr Cowan - who was recently booted out of Town Centre Management - did not seek re-election as the club's financial controller last Thursday.

John Pearce, the operations manager at the Post Office, said: "I am not denying any money is owed but I am not prepared to go into figures with you. Any business at times may owe money.

''There was a net deficit but I am not prepared to tell you how much that was for."

He added that Mr Cowan stood aside, although members of the committee are understood to have called for his head at a previous meeting. He refused to go.

Post Office members pay a small weekly subscription towards the running of the bar.

Figures as high as £28,000 have been rumoured although Mr Pearce insisted that the figure is 'nowhere near' that sum. Last month, Mr Pearce denied point blank that there was any financial problems at the social club.

In fact, he said that the club was 'required to produce audited accounts. They balance.'

A spokesman for Consignia appeared to distance itself from the problem in a statement dated March 25: "Each of our staff social clubs is run - independent of Royal Mail - by committee members made of employees.

''In return for use of our facilities, the clubs have until June to submit accounts for the previous financial year. As the current financial year has not yet ended and we have not as yet received the accounts, it would be totally inappropriate, and unfair, for us to comment."

Mr Cowan has been replaced by Les Wright, a postal worker, who was elected in his absence.

He said: ''The social club has been in trouble for quite a while. I won't know what has been going on until I take over. As it stands, you know more than me."

 

From the Dover Express, 23 May 2002.

Cops probe Cowan club.

POLICE have begun an investigation into the financial affairs left behind at Dover Post Office sports and social club by its former treasurer Gordon Cowan, the Dover Express can reveal.

Officials from the committee, which ran the club before it was forced to close with a mountain of debt, met a senior detective last week.

It is understood that Detective Sergeant John Kemp has asked to see bundles of paperwork relating to the way the club’s finances were conducted in recent years by Mr Cowan, the town’s former mayor.

The documentation was handed in to Dover police station shortly before lunchtime on Friday.

Detectives may call senior Labour town councillor Mr Cowan in for interview if the investigation throws up unanswered questions.

A well-placed source said: “Mr Cowan may be needed for the purposes of clarification - to tie up loose ends, if there are any.” A number of Post Office employees were seen to enter the station. Former chairman Graham Lackenby carried the club’s books into reception. When approached, Mr Lackenby said: “Sorry, I can’t make any comment.”

The Express understands that the committee has also asked the Royal Mail to look into the way Mr Cowan - who outstayed his welcome on the board of Town Centre Management - ran the club.

The panel decided to close the club on April 23 after mounting debts of between £15,000 and £18,000 were revealed.

The committee learned in an interview in February with Mr Cowan that he had used a £5,000 loan from a brewery to pay off other creditors.

It was not the use for which it was intended.

He said that money taken from a children’s Christmas toy fund had been used to pay off ‘pressing’ debts and as a result the club received threatening letters seeking payment.

Minutes obtained by this newspaper for February’s meeting show that Mr Cowan had not informed the committee that the club was threatened with closure by Royal Mail regional boss John Williams because accounts had not been provided.

Mr Cowan claimed, according to the minuted record, that the ‘accounts were not ready due to the fact he had not been able to write them up into the books, despite the fact that all the figures were to hand.’

The committee wrote to Mr Williams earlier this month detailing concerns about Mr Cowan’s bookkeeping. At February’s meeting, Mr Cowan accused his fellow members of being ‘back-stabbers’ for asking him to account for his role as treasurer.

He then told the committee that they were jointly liable for the debts and associated legal costs.

But the Dover Express has learned that some of the members may not have been inducted according to the strictest understanding of the rules and could fall outside financial liability.

 

From the Dover Express, 25 April, 2002

Exposed social club financial "shambles"

HOW FORMER MAYOR COWAN RAN CLUB

EXCLUSIVE by Simon Finlay

THE true nature of the financial mess that Gordon Cowan has left behind at the Post Office social club can be revealed for the first time by the Dover Express.

Senior Labour Party member Mr Cowan 'resigned' recently as treasurer after running the club for seven years - but only after his style, of financial management became clear.

The club's committee was kept in the dark about debts, thinking they amounted to a few thousand when the figure was closer to £20,000, At a recent meeting, Mr Cowan was forced to admit that a £5,000 loan from a brewery to payoff a supplier had been flung at other creditors.

This emerged as the pattern of how he organised the club's finances, but still took a modest wage himself from the takings.

Mr Cowan even dipped into a children's Christmas toy fund to pay for 'pressing debts and to meet more urgent demands.'

A well-placed source said: "The committee is wondering why he allowed the Shambles to carry on. The members still don't feel like they've got to the bottom of it."

Now the six committee members are worried that individual members may be held personally liable for debt-related legal action and costs.

Consignia, which runs the Post Office, told the Express some weeks ago that until accounts for this year are in that it would be 'unfair' to comment. It is highly unlikely that senior management are aware how the club has been run.

At a committee meeting held on February 15 at Charlton Green, Mr Cowan was grilled in front of his manager John Pearce, Graham Lackenby, Graham White, George Smissen and Bill McCready.

Minutes of the meeting leaked to the Express clearly reveal Mr Cowan on the rack as his fellow members demanded answers about the club's parlous financial state.

Despite being treasurer, Mr Cowan was only able to offer the members what he called a, 'snapshot' when asked about the financial position of the social club.

Figures produced by Mr Cowan himself show that, as the club's financial controller, he was able to reduce - on paper - debts in February of, almost £18,000 to £15,500 in April. Insiders say that his calculations were 'cock-eyed' as there were rolling bills not accounted for.

Former Dover Athletic Football Club chairman Mr Cowan was asked by the committee why a £5,000 loan taken out with Carlsberg to payoff an old debt with the brewing giant Courage had not been used for that purpose.

The minutes, record Mr Cowan reasoned that 'other factors' had to be taken into account and that the cash was used to 'stave off' demands from several sources.

Mr White asked Mr Cowan - who recently resigned from Town Centre Management's, chairmanship before he was booted out - why he had not told the committee members Carlsberg was not being repaid. The minutes read: "Mr Cowan stated he had not because he felt that members must have noticed Carlsberg were being avoided."

Mr Lackenby told the former district councillor and ex-town mayor that if the committee members had not been informed they 'naturally assumed' there were no problems.

In the case of Courage, according to the minuted record, the members assumed the brewery had been paid. Mr Smissen referred to cutbacks following a previous meeting which should have helped the financial state of the club while Mr White observed that once the Courage bill paid things would be back to normal. The committee demanded to know why Mr Cowan had opened the secretary's letters.

Mr Cowan said he only opened them if they were clearly of a business nature. The former school governor was then asked why he had dipped into money from a children's Christmas toy fund for other than the purpose for which it was intended.

Mr Cowan replied that the money went straight into the bank and was 'used to pay and to meet more urgent demands.'

He admitted that he 'got threatening letters' because there was a long delay in paying the bills.

 

Consignia accepts no blame

ALTHOUGH the facilities enjoyed at the social club are largely owned by Consignia, those running it are liable for debts and legal actions.

According to a Consignia document outlining clubs' responsibilities, the company accepts no liability for 'debt or fines' by clubs or their officers.

It reads: "Officers of clubs should therefore understand that they may be personally liable for any shortfall in club funds caused by negligence or mismanagement or by any other means.

"Club officers may also be personally liable if the club defaults on the repayment of any loan which they have authorised on behalf of the club.

"It must be emphasised that the competent administration of club funds is the responsibility of the officers of that club and not of Consignia plc."

Mr Cowan accused his fellow members of being 'back-stabbers' for calling him to account over his running of the club.

He also made it clear that they would have to share the responsibilities of the debts incurred.

At February's meeting, operations manager John Pearce suggested that the committee would run the finances in future with 'more control.'

Mr Cowan has been replaced by Post Office veteran Les Wright.

 

'Accounts are approved'

GORDON Cowan no longer returns our calls and repeated efforts to speak to him have failed, even as recently as yesterday morning.

Last week, he told a newspaper: "The club is in a difficult financial position because there isn't the support for it.

"Fifteen years ago, the club had a membership of 1,500 and a waiting list. Seven years ago, when I became treasurer and a new committee took oven it was in a worse situation than it is now. We got it back on its feet.

"There are currently about 350 full members - Royal Mail people who pay a weekly subscription - and there are only about 16 associate members who pay an annual fee. They are peopIe outside the Royal Mail who are invited to join by other members.

"The club can't go on as it is for much longer. It really needs more private functions to bring in money."

"About 18 months to two years ago, I halved the amount I was getting, and two months ago I stopped taking any pay at all."

''The accounts have been audited annually, and sent to the Royal Mail for their scrutiny every year. They have always been approved."

 

From the Dover Express, 2 May, 2002.

By Simon Finlay

Club closure blamed on crippling debts.

THE Post Office social club shut its doors last week after 24 years because of a mountain of debt.

The committee left in charge of the finances after treasurer Gordon Cowan stepped aside decided that the owed money would never be recovered.

Instead of accruing further losses, the six-man panel decided to shut the club down completely - despite each being personally liable for the money.

Last week, the Express exclusively revealed the true extent of Mr Cowan's 'management' of the club's finances. The club owed £18,000 earlier this year.

A well-placed source said: "The committee members are being seen as the b*****ds in all of this because they took the decision to close the club.

"But there are hundreds of guys working at the Post Office who are not liable for the club's losses - so it's easy for them to have opinions. The place was in a mess. There was £300 in the bank, a £600 beer order bill and the VAT man wanted £1,500. It was impossible."

Last week, Mr Cowan tried to come up with a rescue package - offering to shoulder losses beyond what was originally owed if he failed to turn the club's fortunes around.

The committee said it would accept the deal if Mr Cowan would take responsibility for all the debt. He said he would consider the deal.

Mr Cowan later had a disagreement with committee member Graham White after demanding more time.

Mr Cowan is also in danger of losing his job as union convenor when the next election is held - although no date has been set.

The Express has learned of one name interested in taking over the role, which allows the post-holder to spend roughly up to half the week on union business.

 

From the Dover Express, 23 May, 2002.

By Simon Finlay

COPS probe Cowan club.

POLICE have begun an investigation into the financial affairs left behind at Dover Post Office sports and social club by its former treasurer Gordon Cowan, the Dover Express can reveal. Officials from the committee, which ran the club before it was forced to close with a mountain of debt, met a senior detective last week.

It is understood that Detective Sergeant John Kemp has asked to see bundles of paperwork relating to the way the club's finances were conducted in recent years by Mr Cowan, the town's former mayor.

The documentation was handed in to Dover police station shortly before lunchtime on Friday.

Detectives may call Senior Labour town councillor Mr Cowan in for interview if the investigation throws up unanswered questions.

A well-placed source said: "Mr Cowan may be needed for the purposes of clarification - to tie up loose ends, if there are any."

A number of Post Office employees were seen to enter the station. Former chairman Graham Lackenby carried the club's books into reception. When approached, Mr Lackenby said: "Sorry, I can't make any comment."

The Express understands that the committee has also asked the Royal Mail to look into the way Mr Cowan - who outstayed his welcome on the board of Town Centre Management - ran the club.

The panel decided to close the club on April 23.

 

From the Dover Mercury, 1 August 2002. By SIMON FINLAY.

ATTEMPTS to oust former town mayor Gordon Cowan as union convener at the Post Office have failed after too few members turned up to a meeting on Sunday.

Only a dozen staff attended instead of least 40 needed to call for a vote of no confidence in Mr Cowan, who has been criticised by some sections of the workforce.

But Mr Cowan’s critics blamed apathy among members and the hottest day of the year for the low turn-out. A well-placed source said:

“On the warmest and sunniest day of the year, where would you rather be - on the beach or going to a union meeting? The attendance spoke volumes about the general apathy despite all the changes that are expected here.”

The Dover branch faces the first wave of 70 redundancies next spring as the Post Office restructures for the future.

Some members said Mr Cowan - a former district councillor and exchairman of Town Centre Management - was guilty of poor attendance and failing to pass on key information to workers.

Even if the required number had shown up for the meeting, union rules state that he would not have had to resign. But his job - which allows the post-holder to spend up to half his working time on union business - may come up for grabs in January and a number of staff are understood to be interested in standing for election.

The source added: “We need someone who will be there to fight for those of us who will be left. There are trying times ahead.”

 

From the Dover Mercury, 27 May 2010.

ROYAL MAIL SITE.

A PLANNING application has been submitted to the district council for permission to build 36 flats and four houses on the former Royal Mail sorting office in Maison Dieu Road, over. The scheme has been submitted by the Southern Housing Group.

 

 

LICENSEE LIST

???? 1968

EASOM Barry & Pam mid 1970s Next pub licensee had

COWAN Gordon 1995-Apr/2002

WRIGHT Les 2002+

 

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

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