DOVER KENT ARCHIVES

Page Updated:- Saturday, 15 April, 2023.

PUB LIST PUBLIC HOUSES Paul Skelton

Earliest 2000s

(Name from)

Bridges

Closed 8 July 2022

Horton Road

South Darenth

01322 860588

https://whatpub.com/bridges

Bridges 2017

Above photo, kindly taken and sent by Ian Goodrick, August 2017.

Bridges

Photo date unknown from http://www.flickr.com by Nigel Chatfield.

Bridges 2023

Above photo, 2023, kindly taken and sent by Ian Goodrick.

Bridges sign 2012

Above sign 2012.

With thanks from Roger Pester www.innsignsociety.com.

 

The viaduct saw its first trains in July 1858 when the East Kent Railway extended its line from Strood to Bromley, and comprises ten arches within an overall length of approximately 390 foot. The viaduct became a key strategic target for the Luftwaffe during 1941 air raids as the route was instrumental in conveying troops and supplies to Dover. One bombing mission during that year did set out to destroy the mass of arches, but the explosives were unsuccessful in reaching their target.

Formerly known as the "Sun" the pub changed name when Wayne and Sarah Bridges took over the pub prior to 2010.

 

Information from http://www.newsshopper.co.uk 23 August 2010.

SOUTH DARENTH: Former wrestler and bodybuilder wife against 'crippling' road closure

A FORMER wrestling champion and his bodybuilder wife are leading a village campaign against a road closure which they say is “blighting their lives”.

Bridges licencees 2011

Kent Highway Services (KHS) has closed part of Horton Road in South Darenth while developer Fairview New Homes Ltd builds 235 houses and flats on the site of a former mill.

But business owners and residents say the road closure is crippling the village, and want KHS to re-open the road with temporary traffic lights to control the flow of vehicles.

Former wrestler Wayne Bridges, aged 60, and his wife Sarah, aged 38, a bodybuilding champion, own The Bridges pub and say the road closure, at the junction of New Road, is "crippling" business.

Mr Bridges, who wrestled for American powerhouse WWE in the 1980s and has owned the pub for 13 years, said: “My customers can't get here because of the road closure.

“Since the road closure began in January, my takings have been down 5,000 a month from last year. I'll go out of business if the road does not open again by the end of the year.”

When Fairview got planning permission from Sevenoaks District Council, a condition was that the facade of the old mill remained in place for historic reasons.

Fairview has placed concrete supports around the facade to protect it during construction, and a KHS spokesman said this means there is “inadequate width for the road to remain open safely”.

But Mr Bridges says the road is wide enough for one-way traffic, and has asked KHS to remove the barriers and introduce traffic lights instead.

The KHS spokesman said the road is expected to be re-opened in October or November.

For Andrew Barrett, who lives in New Road, the road closure could have been fatal, as when he had a stroke five weeks ago the ambulance could not get through the barriers.

He said: “The ambulance had to turn around and find another way to Darent Valley Hospital, which added five minutes onto the journey.”

The 71-year-old added: “According to Kent Highway Services, someone from Fairview on the construction site is supposed to open the barrier for the emergency services.

“It was just after 9am, but nobody came out to open the barrier. If it happens again with someone who is critically ill, they could die because of the time wasted at the barrier.”

Mr Barrett was in hospital for two days and made a full recovery. Nobody from Fairview was available to comment.

 

Been informed in 2022 that the pub has closed, although do know it was still open in 2021. Date of closure not yet known.

 

From the https://www.kentonline.co.uk By Keely Greenwood, 15 April 2023.

Uncertain future for The Bridges pub in Horton Road, South Darenth, as it goes up for auction.

Villagers have voiced their concerns over the future of their pub after it was revealed it has been put up for auction.

The Bridges in Dartford has been serving locals for years but residents fear what will happen when it goes under the hammer on May 4.

Its position nestled under the viaduct arches between Horton Kirby and South Darenth has seen it named Kent's most photographed pub.

But the village boozer has stood empty since closing on July 8, when locals were invited to raise a glass for the last time.

Tim Gillingwater's parents ran the old-fashioned pub for 12 years during the seventies and early eighties, when it was called The "Sun".

He still lives in the village and is disappointed at what has become of his family's pub.

"It makes me sad to see the old place boarded up," he told KentOnline. "I hope whoever buys it keeps it as a pub.

"It was our family pub. I built a carpet and window cleaning business on the back of it. It was always called the "Sun"."

Tim Gillingwater 2023

Tim Gillingwater's family ran The Sun pub in Horton Kirby in the seventies.

After Tim's parents called last orders in 1983 the pub had various tenants including professional wrestler, Wayne Bridge.

He took over the building with his wife Sara in the early 2000s and changed its name to The Bridges.

Tim said: "Sara was a successful bodybuilder, and Bill was a world champion heavyweight wrestler.

"Every year on August bank holiday Sunday, they would hold a wrestler's day, and a lot of famous old wrestlers would show up including 'Mr TV' Jackie Pallo, Mick McManus, Pat Roach and Dave (Darth Vader) Prowse. Bill and Sara died within a couple of years of each other."

Tim said Bill would love to hear stories about his dad from customers.

"Bill loved my dad," Tim said. "Although they never met, customers would tell stories about his years at the pub. He used to say to me that he wanted to take the pub back to when Bill and Em, my mum and dad, ran it."

Bridges barmaids 2022

Barmaids Maddie Yates, Lottie Alexander, Charlotte Blaze and Jo Gillard behind the bar at The Bridges pub in Horton Kirby before it closed.

Tim thinks the long term effects of Covid have contributed to the end of the pub.

"Local pubs are finding it hard since the lockdown ended," he added. "It's all gone a bit dead with the closures."

Situated on the corner of Horton Road and Station Road it is being sold for 595,000, as a single bar operation with a riverside beer garden and four or five bedroom accommodation.

The worrying part for residents in the tiny village is it has been billed as suitable for "alternative use" leading to suggestions it could be turned into housing.

Jo Gillard, who worked at the pub in the few months before it closed, said residents are concerned about its future as a pub.

"People in the village have a lot of history with the pub, so there is concern," she said.

"It was a lovely place to work. People in the village are very friendly and it holds a very special place in my heart."

 

LICENSEE LIST

BRIDGES Wayne & Sarah 2010+

 

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