Since 1750 at least part of the building that was The Sportsman pub at Cliffsend stood at the site on Sandwich Road.
But on April 2, 2017, the doors of the village pub shut with landlords Teresa Kirk and Ronnie Mark, calling last orders after the site was put on the market by Shepherd Neame with a guide price of £250,000 plus VAT.
According to Dover Kent Archives, which catalogues the history of the county’s pubs, The pub used to be a halfway house for stagecoaches travelling between Ramsgate and Sandwich. Smugglers are believed to have used its cellar, connected to the area extensive network of tunnels, to bring in contraband from France.
The 1851 census addressed this as a Hamlet of Great Cliffs End.
Former landlords included ex-footballer Tommy Robinson and his wife Eva who took the helm in 1950 and remained for more than 14 years.
East Kent developer Future Homes is now creating seven homes at the site after planning permission for a revised scheme was granted in February this year. An initial application had been rejected in 2019 with a number of objections including concerns about building height and traffic increases.
The amended plan is for a new three-storey building with three apartments on the upper floors and commercial space for a cycle café on the ground floor. There will also be four semi-detached, three-bedroom houses. The Government’s Help to Buy Scheme will be available to first-time buyers of the apartments.
Part of that plan meant the demolition of the old pub building which was razed this month.
Resident Sarah Emily Wormsley caught the last piece of the demolition on camera, with just the door standing before the building was finally demolished.
She said: “The last thing to be taken down was the door. Seconds after I took these, it was all gone – to make way for flats and a cycle cafe. It was so sad to see something so historical being flattened.”
Work began on June 28 with a target completion date of July 2022.
f you’d like to find out more about the development visit futurehomes.co.uk or call 01843 604504.
To find some fascinating snippets of Sportsman pub history visit http://www.dover-kent.com/Sportsman-Cliffsend.html