DOVER KENT ARCHIVES

Page Updated:- Thursday, 21 March, 2024.

PUB LIST PUBLIC HOUSES Paul Skelton

Earliest 1935-

Manor House

Latest Feb 1967

Kingsdown Estate

West Kingsdown

Manor House

Above photo, 1930s, kindly sent by Andrew Crawford.

Manor House

Above photo, 1930s, kindly sent by Andrew Crawford.

Manor House

Above photo, 1930s, kindly sent by Andrew Crawford.

Manor House back

Above photo, 1930s, kindly sent by Andrew Crawford.

Manor House back

Above photo showing the back of the house, 1930s, kindly sent by Andrew Crawford.

Manor House garden

Above postcard, 1930s showing the Manor House garden.

Manor House hunt

Above photo, 1930s, kindly sent by Andrew Crawford.

Manor House pool 1965

Above photo showing the opening of the pool, 1933. Kindly sent by Andrew Crawford.

Manor House pool

Above photo, 1933, kindly sent by Andrew Crawford.

Hugh & Elsie Ephraums 1935

Above photo, 1935, kindly sent by Andrew Crawford.

Manor House aerial

Above postcard, 1935, kindly sent by Andrew Crawford.

Manor House Key 1935

A summertime aerial view of the Manor House complex between 1933 and 1934 with swimming in progress and afternoon teas being served on the back lawns. Courtesy of Major General R. J. Ephraums.

1. One of the many steam-driven lorries which used the main road. This one probably like many others had taken on fresh water from the pond at the "Horse and Groom."

2. A splendid collection of modern motorcars belonging to the visitors.

3. The Regency crosswing to the older part of the house.

4. The owner, Mr H. C. Ephraums, whose 'Star' motor car has a rear wheel puncture. He is in the white shirt assisted by his two sons.

5. An old wooden stable convened into the Ladies' Changing Rooms!

6. New Gentlemen's Changing Rooms.

7. An old building, of date unknown used to house the filtration plant for the swimming pool and the electrical generating engine for the house and grounds in use until mains arrived in time for Christmas 1937.

8. Garages and outbuildings.

9. The vegetable gardens.

10. The flower gardens.

 

Manor House Tea Rooms 1936

Above postcard, circa 1936 showing the tea rooms. The bus coming into view is passing the Beacon Filling Station, whilst the single lorrycalls at the "Portobello." The Manor House and grounds welcome what travellers are abroad. Courtesy of Mrs. I. J. Mellish.

Manor House Banqueting Hall 1965

Above postcard, circa 1965, kindly sent by Andrew Crawford.

Manor Houe fireplace 1965

Above postcard, circa 1965, kindly sent by Andrew Crawford.

Manor House lounge 1965

Above postcard, circa 1965, kindly sent by Andrew Crawford.

Manor House lounge 1965

Above postcard, circa 1965, kindly sent by Andrew Crawford.

Manor House Blue Room 1965

Above postcard, circa 1965, kindly sent by Andrew Crawford.

 

Old 16th century building named the Manor House and originally a the feudal centre for the area where people at one level of society receive land to live and work on from those higher than them in rank, and in return have to work for them and fight for them if necessary, sometimes also giving them some of the food they produce. Later converted into a public house. Unfortunately destroyed by a fire in February 1967.

Unknown source tells me the following:- "Back in around 1964 I lived at a pub in West Kingsdown called I think the "Manor House." It was the Maidstone side of the "Portobello" with just a field between them. It was a lovely old building maybe 16th century but had a new wing built on we called the Teenage Bar as it contained a Juke box and very modern.

The original building had a massive fireplace in the Snug as you entered in which dad kept going a huge welcoming fire. The main bar was low timbered ceilings. In the grounds was a swimming pool, a boating lake and a dance hall built without planning permission so never used.

It was a very popular pub, especially on Brands Hatch racing days.

It was set back from the road with a large car park out front. The open air swimming pool and cafe were open only in the summer. When we were there we didn't open the boating pool as the boats were a bit dodgy.

Oh we thought it had a ghost too.

Dad managed it for a year or so but when we were tipped off that the owner was probably a London gangster we moved away.

It burnt down a year or so after we left I believe.

Andrew Crawford tells me the following:- There was a ghost! - My mother, Joan, Hugh and Elsie’s daughter, as down to earth and pragmatic as they come, did say she saw a woman float through the outside wall of her bedroom - which was on the first floor at the far left end of the house. It was later discovered that there had been an external staircase up to that room...

 

“THE MANOR HOUSE” (Dave and Vi Clarke).

ON THE A.20 AT WEST KINGSDOWN, KENT. WEST KINGSDOWN 329.

This is a fully-licensed free house of great character and charm lying on the main road to Maidstone, after Farningham but before Wrotham as one drives from London. It lies on your left and at night the large car park is strikingly floodlit.

Entering one turns left into the small 16th century Tudor Bar where you are greeted by one of two very attractive lady bartenders, surrounded by an awe-inspiring profusion of genuine oak beams, a marimba, a leather-gauntleted wooden two-pronged fork (used to speed unwelcome guests on their way?), Chianti bottles, horse-brasses, a kris, copper and brass warming pans, a post horn, a brass pikehead, soft background music (mostly Latino-Americano!), daggers, a hunting horn, two fruit machines, various coloured lanterns, a brick-built fireplace, a gun-powder horn, leather upholstered straight-back chairs on a red fitted carpet, one helluva lot of atmosphere and (wait for it!) ... an electric Steadyhand Testing Machine, which always deflates my ego by ringing the bell!!

Drinkwise, take your choice, Beer Guzzler, of Charrington’s Toby Keg, draught Bass, Flower's Keg, Whitbread Tankard, Watney's Red Barrel, and draught Guinness (later followed by a deep sleep, a king-size hangover, black coffee, an Underberg, a “Hair-of-the-Dog-that-bit-you" . . . and off you go again!!) Lovers of lager will select either a Schous or Skol from the refrigerated counter-tray.

No hot meals are served, although a really delicious chunky-cut fresh ham or cheese sandwich is available at all times upon request, the bread being ultra fresh and delicious.

To the right of the main entrance is a small unlicensed room especially for your children who, on a pleasant day, will much prefer to romp on the spacious lawns; take a canoe out on the sizeable Boating Lake; or splash in the shallow end of the large open-air Swimming Pool! For that matter so perhaps would you! There is also a rock garden and sunbathing lawns upon which you may disport yourself . . . with decorum, of course! (If sites got another boy-friend don't despair. Remember there are plenty more boats on the lake!) Incidentally, the use of deckchairs, changing rooms, sun-shades and car park is entirely free of charge, Ices, confectionery and cigarettes are all sold at the outdoor Snack Bar.

There is also another Bar, the Regency Room, adjoining the Tudor Lounge and, at the time of writing, a large new building to be used for weddings and other functions is in the process of completion.

Yessir! This quaint old-fashioned Country Inn has everything that this modern world has to offer . . . are you coming in for a dip? Or, like me, do you prefer getting wet inside? Take your pick!

Manor House book

The Inn appeared in a book titled "More Friendly Inns," date unknown.

From the Kentish Times, February 1967.

BIG BLAZE GUTS 15th CENTURY MANOR HOUSE.

Two dogs trapped.

WEST KINGSDOWN’S 550-year-old Manor House — once the local feudal centre and now a public-house was reduced to a patchwork of blackened timber and gaping windows in the early hours of Sunday morning. The blaze spread from a first-floor room and engulfed the entire building.

Firemen from Dartford, Swanley, Gravesend, Seven-oaks, Borough Green and Strood were on the scene at about 1.45 a.m., and shot water from the 90,000-gallon Manor House swimming pool on to the blazing structure. Under the direction of Mr. W. Babington, Chief Fire Officer, they had the blaze under control in just over an hour.

Two dogs, an Alsatian and a Labrador, belonging to the owner, Mr. Dave Clarke, were trapped in the smoke-filled lower rooms for about 25 minutes before they were released by firemen. The dogs spent the remainder of the night in the public-house social hall, where, frenzied by their experience, they ripped down the curtains.

The firemen worked through the night and until lunch-time on Sunday, leaving piles of wet, charred rubble beside the crusted shell of the village’s historic landmark.

RECTOR’S "ALARM."

The alarm was given by a passenger in a passing motor-coach. just before the Rev. R. L. McCulloch, whose Rectory overlooks the Manor House, on the other side of the A20, also telephoned the fire brigade.

"It was frightening in its intensity." Mr. McCulloch told the Kentish Times. "I became aware of it just before the arrival of the first fire engine. Within minutes the entire roof was an inferno, and the bursting of glass and crackling timber could be heard a quarter-of-a-mile away."

Awakened by the noise. Mrs. B. Phyall looked across to the Manor House from her home several hundred yards away at 17, St. Edmunds-cottages. "It was ablaze from end to end," she said. "Bottles were popping and everything was breaking. I thought at first that I was dreaming."

The cause of the fire is unknown. Mr. Clarke, who converted the Manor House into a club in 1959 and into a public-house in 1962, was in London with his wife and friends on Saturday night, and did not hear the news until the morning.

"It is a tragedy," he said. "It couldn't have happened at a worse time."

REBUILDING PLANS.

Now Mr. Clarke has plans for rebuilding the Manor House. "If I restore it it will be on the same lines as before." he said. "People liked the old world building. I have got to make the best out of what I have left."

Mr. Clarke hopes to get permission from Dartford Rural Council to resume business in his social hall. His application will be considered by the Council on Tuesday, together with his second application for planning permission to regularise the social hall, following a directive from the Ministry of Housing.

Mr. Clarke commended the firemen on their efficiency in putting out the blaze so speedily.

Manor House fire

A show of baked walls and blackened rafters marks the remains of West Kingdown’s 550-year-old Manor House after fire took hold of the building on Sunday morning. Now the owner, Mr. Dave Clarke, wants to build a replica. (K.T. Photo No. JZ/9042.)

 

Kent Messenger, February 3 1967.

Fire destroys the 20,000 Manor House.

APPLLANCES from eight districts spent 13 hours at a fire which gutted the 16-room Manor House, West Kingsdown, a pub and club, early on Sunday morning.

Damage is estimated at 20,000.

The house was unoccupied at the time.

Half the ground floor was damaged by fire and water, the first floor and contents were severely damaged, and the roof of the building was completely destroyed.

Mrs. E. Cranmer, London Road, West Kingsdown, told a reporter: "Just after 12.30 on Sunday morning my son came to my house and told me that there was a fire at the Manor House.

"We could see the flames from my house, which is over 200 yards from the pub. My son phoned the fire brigade and we went along to the fire.

When we got there the whole building was a mass of flames; I have never seen anything like it."

The owner of the club, Mr. David Clark, recently built a 10,000 social hall at the rear of the building and has been instructed by Dartford Rural Council that it must come down as it was built without planning permission. The social hall was not damaged by the fire.

The cause of the blaze is unknown.

Manor House fire 1967

APPLIANCES from eight areas spent 13 hours at the scene ot a fire which gutted an hotel in West Kingsdown early on Sunday morning. The damage caused to the 16-room Manor House on the A20 was estimated at 20,000. Half the ground floor was damaged by fire and water, the first floor and contents were severely damaged and the roof was completely destroyed. The owner of the Manor House. Mr. David Clark, recently built a 10,000 social hall at the rear of the hotel and has been instructed by Dartford Rural Council that the building must come down as it was built without planning permission. The social hall was not damaged by the fire. The cause of the blaze is unknown.

 
Manor House Plans

Above plans, date unknown, kindly sent by Andrew Crawford.

 

LICENSEE LIST

EPHRAUMS Hugh & Elsie 1930s-1958+

CLARK Dave and Vi 1959+

 

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

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