DOVER KENT ARCHIVES

Page Updated:- Friday, 05 January, 2024.

PUB LIST PUBLIC HOUSES Paul Skelton

Earliest 1793

Lads of the Village

Closed Dec 2023

Elizabeth Street

Stone

01322 382083

https://whatpub.com/lads-of-the-village

Lads of the Village 1910

Above postcard, circa 1910, kindly sent by Shaun Gardiner.

Lads of the Village 1950

Above photo, circa 1950, kindly sent by Shaun Gardiner.

Above photo 2011 by Ian Capper Creative Commons Licence.

Lads of the Village 2023

Above photo 2023.

Lads of the Village 2023

Above photo 2023.

Lads of the Village sign 1970

Above sign, 1970.

With thanks from Brian Curtis www.innsignsociety.com.

 

Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser 1 January 1889.

DEATH OF A CHILD FROM BURNING.

On Thursday evening an inquest was held at the "Lads of the Village," before Mr E. N. Wood, to enquire into the cause of death of a child named Annie Kate Rose Sawyer, aged four years. The evidence showed that the child, with others, was standing in front of the fire downstairs, while the mother was upstairs, and by some means or other her clothes caught fire, and the child was severely burned on the neck, chest, and face. She died from shock to the system the next day. A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

 

Tony Bates from Vancouver, Canada whose father was licensee in the early 1950s write to tell me the following:- The pub served Courage beer. The Lads of the Village had a good football team at the time. At that time the pub did not have a hard liquor license, so my father sold the license and bought a greengrocers' shop in Northfield, Ealing, in 1954, I think.

 

From the https://www.kentonline.co.uk By Keely Greenwood, 4 July 2023.

Bid to save Lads of the Village pub in Elizabeth Steet, Stone from closure and make it asset of community value.

Villagers are rallying together to save a 230-year-old pub described as a “community icon” from closure.

The Lads of the Village pub in Elizabeth Steet, Stone is under threat of closure after the landlord was served with an eviction notice.

The historic boozer has been described by regulars as “the heart of the village” and landlord Sean Holland is due to celebrate 45 years at its helm on July 4.

The 80-year-old and his wife Julie have until January before they must leave the pub after reportedly being told by private company that manages it they intend to repurpose it – by either demolishing or renovating it.

Now villagers are rallying together with local councillors and are seeking to have it nominated as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) in a bid to save it.

Sean said: “The sad thing is all these people are my friends here.

“I've been here 45 years and I will miss it. I'm getting on and it's forcing me into early retirement.

Sean Holland 2023

Landlord Sean Sullivan celebrated his 80th birthday in May. Picture: Andy Barnes.

“But I'll be ok as long as I always have a drink in my hand.”

Stone Parish Council are campaigning to save their pub and protect the building as a local heritage landmark by nominating it as an Asset of Community Value or a local heritage asset.

At a meeting earlier this month members of the village were asked to share their memories of the pub and a phrase repeated by many was how lost the community would be without it.

Stone Parish Councillor Paul Cutler has lived in Stone for almost 30 years and is a regular at the pub.

He said: “It really is the hub of the village and fits the profile of a community pub in every way and more.

“I have made many life long friends and sadly said goodbye to too many who are no longer sipping a pint or two with me.

“Many bereaved people have found great compassion and friendship at the Lads and have avoided loneliness which often comes when your partner is taken from you.

He added: “I will always remember a friend actually saying if it wasn’t for the support and social life from the friends at the lads they would not be here.

“People really will be lost without it.”

And he said the pub has been there for every milestone in his adult life.

He added: “I have wet the heads of my four children here, had my stag do, had a few to settle my nerves on the way to the local Church on my wedding day and enjoyed precious time with my late dad here on Father’s Day and similar occasions.”

The pub is known for its many and varied social events including darts, Vets and Super Vets football, golf societies, pool, battle field tours overseas, as well as putting on loads of charity events, raising thousands for good causes.

But it’s not just the regular punters that gain comfort from the pub. Cllr Cutler said it is always really welcoming to new patrons.

He said: “A recent new customer who was staying at the local motel said how the Lads warm welcome had made his stays away from home and family much more bearable.

Dany and Steve Tibb 2023

Regulars Dany and Steve Tibb.

“If anyone does not come in when they are expected someone will always check on them.

“I have had so many special times to remember from The Lads but I think the most precious and life long memories will be the laughter and the humour and warmth of the friendships made here.”

He added: “We must, must preserve this community icon in Stone.”

Dany Tibby, of Hedgeplace Road, has also been a regular patron for the past 30 years playing bat and trap, darts and golf.

She said the pub has always been very welcoming for ladies.

Sean Holland and Steve Tibby

Landlord Sean Holland and punter Steve Tibby.

“They always made ladies welcome to join in and be part of the community. Most public house are very male orientated but The Lads is a pub where a woman can enter and feel welcome any time.

She added: “The Lads of the villages is the heart of our community for so many people and we need to save this amazing place.”

A planning application for the erection of two three-bedroom semi-detached homes with parking and amenity space was permitted in 2018.

Reserved matters were approved in 2022 but to date seemingly only minor groundworks have been carried out at the site.

Dartford council has the power under the Localism Act to nominate the pub as an ACV if the asset champions the community’s social well-being or social interest, and is likely to do so in the future.

If it is accepted as an ACV the community can then decide if they want to form a bid to buy the pub if the freeholder chooses to put it on the market.

Those fighting for the pub now face an agonising eight-week wait to find out if their appeal has been successful.

Listing the building as a local heritage asset or ACV would not prevent redevelopment or demolition but adds to the considerations in assessing any planning application.

 

From the https://www.kentlive.news By Mary Harris, 3 January 2024.

Emotional goodbye to Lads of the Village pub and legendary landlord at 'end of an era' party.

There were a few tears wiped away as it was the last time they would be together in the pub, which if it could talk, would tell so many stories.

It was a truly emotional and heartfelt goodbye to a much-loved landlord of 45 years at the Lads of the Village pub in Greenhithe as it closed and he retired.

It was the "end of an era" as one regular said and it was also a significant closing of a chapter in Stone's history, as the pub had been there for more than 230 years. Customers gathered for the last time at the pub on New Year's Eve where they drank, danced and sang and raised a glass to legendary landlord Sean Holland, and wife Julie.

But there were a few tears wiped away too, as it was the last time they would be together in the pub, which if it could talk, would tell so many stories.

Music was played, favourite songs from Van Morrison to The Stones, as well as some good old Irish tunes including Hills of Donegal, a nod to Sean's homeland, and there were shouts of "we love you Sean!" as he said a few words, microphone in hand.

And in moments perhaps the customers will never forget, Sean, who had been wearing a t-shirt with a pug's face on with the words "Pug Life" promised them "another 30 minutes" before he really did have to close.

He said: "This is a sad, sad time but I'll remember all of you. But all I want to say is, you can have another half an hour and then we close. I'm sorry, but they want us out of here."

There were loud shouts of appreciation and applause, as Sean bowed his head briefly and then smiled. It was the last half an hour locals would spend there together in a pub which had seen so many decades of people coming together, whether for a quiet pint, or a regular meet-up, a function or event, such as darts, footie, race night, crib on Tuesdays, and of course, charity events for which the pub was well known.

Lads of the Village locals 2023

Lads of the Village in Stone - Amy Balcombe with Mick and Rita Balcombe and landlord Sean Holland (right, foreground) (Image: Amy Balcombe).

Mick Balcombe told KentLive: "We are every week there. So many meet up, have a chat and enjoy the atmosphere. It's destroyed the community, shutting the pub. It's so sad."

He said they wished Sean and Julie all the best and thanked them for "40 years with friends, and absent friends. This pub will be sadly missed for the community." People were also sad for the bar staff.

Dean Holland 2023

Lads of the Village in Stone - the much-loved landlord Sean Holland (Image: Picture by Andy Barnes).

One customer summed up the feelings of so many when he said simply of Sean: "The total best best landlord you could ever ask for. Big love to that man." While Andrew Guard said: "Will miss this pub and the people that made it what it was."

Charlotte Woodley posted a video she jokingly captioned "The Lads Boyband" which showed Sean in a "jamming session one afternoon" in The Lads around a table, as he played acoustic guitar with two others, as they did a cover of R.E.M. Losing My Religion.

It was a poignant snapshot of pub life in The Lads, which Facebook comments show, had been there for people in good times and bad, at times when people wanted to celebrate or commiserate.

And strangers found a warm welcome in the pub, with one who stayed in the area from time to time, saying a visit to The Lads made his trips so much better.

And the pub celebrated Sean's 80th birthday in May, where so many came to raise a glass to their "favourite landlord" who played guitar and sang.

Sean Stone 2023

Lads of the Village in Stone - Paul Cutler with Sean and Julie Holland (Image: Paul Cutler).

Charlotte told KentLive: "I’ve drunk there for over 20 years. I met my husband there so gained a whole new family. Not to mention the many friends we made.

"The locals were and are ‘our people’ who we choose to spend our time with. Luckily with today’s technology, it’s easier for us to stay connected. But we’ve lost our ‘mutual home’."

Sean Holland 2023

Legendary landlord Sean Holland of the Lads of the Village - he was there for 45 years but the pub has now shut and there was a momentous 'end of an era' party on New Year's Eve.

Regular David Barry said: "This man is a man who has been landlord of this drinking man's pub for 45 year's with distinction, a community hub for all ages Sean welcomed everyone with a style only a few master a no nonsense friendly atmosphere was always abundant if the lads was busy or quiet."

"I believe he himself has raised over 200,000 for cancer charities in his tenure and deserves our gratitude for his dedication for charitable endeavours here in Dartford, so tomorrow as Mr and Mrs Holland relinquish the key's of the best pub for many a mile wish them a happy healthy retirement, our memories will never fade, thank you both."

Dartford Borough Council approved plans from Wellington Pub Company for two three-bed semi-detached homes with parking space in part of the pub's car park, in 2019. Applicants have three years to start work before permission expires, so minor groundwork has been carried out.

There have been scores of submissions to the council since, which give further details about everything from landscaping to rubbish storage, and retaining walls. The last of these was in June 2022, which related to electric vehicle charging points.

Sean Holland 2023

Lads of the Village in Stone - the much-loved landlord Sean Holland (Image: Charlotte Woodley).

 

LICENSEE LIST

HOWLAND Thomas 1891+ (age 71 in 1891Census)

BATES William James 1951-54

Last pub licensee had HART Emily June/1957+

HOLLAND Sean 1978-Dec/2023

 

CensusCensus

 

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