Friday, 3 June 2011

A sad day for my village...

Today, I came home to find that the three roads into the village were taped off by the Police.

We have two pubs in the village, on opposite sides of the road. I live just 100 metres or so up the road from them. They are both quite old although The Bell is from about the mid-1500's whilst the Wheatsheaf was built in about the 1840's. The tiny plot of grass outside The Wheatsheaf is known locally as the Village Green, so it is likely that the pub was built on the site of the original village green. They are both popular pubs and despite the recession they have kept going although the Wheatsheaf has been up for sale for some time, but unlike so many pubs locally, has not been forced to close.

The Wheatsheaf Pub in 2007

This afternoon a fire took hold in The Wheatsheaf and it has been gutted. Eight fire tenders from around north and west Kent attended the fire and almost 5 hours after the blaze started there are still two tenders outside. I guess they will be there for the rest of the night as they try to dampen down. Unfortunately, whilst it is a beautiful sunny day there is quite a breeze which is not helping.

Outside my front door

My first view of the pub

 Approximately 3 hours after the fire started it is still ablaze

It is amazing to see that the hanging baskets are still there and appear to be unaffected!

There are still flames in the roof and the old stables or "barn" has completely disappeared.

Lots of smoke

One brave fireman

Still trying to damp down

Whilst the roof has completely caved in, the outer walls have remained standing, thanks to the ragstone, a local stone which is used in the building of many local houses and walls etc. So it is thought that the pub could be re-built, but I somehow wonder given it has been up for sale.

Over the years I have been mapping who lived in which house in the street, and exactly 100 years ago the Wheatsheaf was owned by Mrs. Ellen Jarvis. I have a copy of an old photograph of her standing with her husband outside my neighbours house, because just at the outbreak of the 1st World War, she retired and moved into next door, she looks a kindly lady, but at the same time I wouldn't want to cross her! 


  1. How sad to see such a beautiful building destroyed by fire and removed from it's original form forever. The stone on the outside is just beautiful. Hopefully they can rebuild. What a beautiful place you live!

  2. Looks like it was a great pub - hope they find the courage(and funding) to rebuild. Looks like it would be a great project for the right person.
    So nice you have some of the neighborhood history.