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Home > Kent > Sittingbourne > Kentish Hotel

Kentish Hotel

Picture source: Bryn Clinch

The Kentish Hotel was situated on Hawthorn Road. This pub is now used as an off-licence.
 My grandfather, Old George Langford (my dad was George too) drank in the Kentish very nearly every day from his retirement till his death circa 1954; and he could certainly drink. He estimated, according to my dad, that he drank 10-12 pints of Shepherd Neame mild at lunchtime then 6 or so more in the evening. He sat on the same stool, unless it was taken in which case he let the occupier know of his right of place, drank from his old mug and cursed the royal family loudly ( I've inherited his anti-royallist left wing views).
Old George had been something of a ww1 hero, decorated after the Somme were he was gassed. He would regale, who ever would listen, tales of the fighting and because of the gassing had his own handy spittoon apparently not unusual in the post war years.
After Old George died none of my family set foot in the place until I ventured into the pub in 1978 or thereabouts. I didn't mention the pub's old regular at first; one thing that I found was that my first pint S&N mild of course was dreadful, but I noticed that the "local" were being served from a different hand pump to me. I complained about the poor beer to the landlord and remarked about the pump "activity"; grudgingly I was given a replacement pint from the locals pump, "nectar".
One of the pubs regulars asked me how I'd found the pub as strangers were rare and I explained who I was, they asked me to "hang about" for a bit as they were phoning an old man, a relative of the landlord, he arrived and greeted me like an old friend. Not only had Old George been very popular but he was always generous if anyone was short for a pint. Several times the old man had subbed from Old George and owed him a fair amount when he died. The old man refused to allow me to pay for any subsequent drinks and I left decidedly "ratted" after a modest six pints.
I was told that day a ghostly anecdote; Old Georges stool was located near the hat stand as it always had been; if an unsuspecting passer by sat on the stool they would squirm and feel uncomfortable and move to a different spot. Everyone in the pub said it was Old George saving his place.
After a bad start with the first pint I left the pub to handshakes, I never went back.
Rex Langford (October 2014)

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