Queens Arms

Kent - Cowden Pound

A historic pub interior of national importance

Listed Status: II

Hartfield Road
Cowden Pound

OS ref: TQ463426

Tel: None

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/thequeensarmscowdenpound

Real Ale: Yes

Real Cider: Yes

View on: Whatpub

A precious survival of a small Victorian wayside country pub. Land for it was acquired in 1841 and the pub was named to commemorate the Queen’s Royal West Kent Regiment. It was in the same family hands from January 1913 when Henry Long became the licensee, followed in 1973 by his daughter Elsie Maynard who died, aged 91, in April 2015. The present owners had taken over in August 2014 intending to keep it just as it was (including the no lager policy!). Ahead of the entrance is a door leading to private quarters while that on the right leads into the tiny, simply appointed public bar. The counter, shelving and plain bench seating are pretty timeless and but they could well go back to the 1840s. The Dalex handpumps are dated 1948, prior to which beer was brought from the cellar in jugs. There is still no till, hence the bowls for coins. The only significant modern changes have been the addition of the gents’ in 1953 (formerly outside) and the fireplace brickwork. Note the Bissett darts scorer, a finger-operated device to save the strain of mental arithmetic. The saloon (left) was doubled in size in 1953 by taking in a private room: it too retains its Victorian counter (which has acquired bright yellow paint but a good few years ago).

A rare, rural time-warp, in the same family hands from 1913 to 2014, with the former landlady, Elsie Maynard taking over in 1973 (she died aged 91 in April 2015). It was purpose-built by William Longley of Pound House on land purchased in 1841, the name commemorating the Queen’s Royal West Kent Regiment. The pub has one of the last remaining totally unspoilt rural public bars (on the right) dating from the Victorian era and which, apart from the paintwork, has been almost untouched since the end of the nineteenth century.

The front door leads to a tiny lobby with doors left and right and another in front that leads to the private quarters. On the right-hand door with the figure '1' leads to the tiny public bar with its original panelled counter with decorative brackets. The black mastic around the base of the bar counter is the position of the spittoon trough. The three Dalex handpumps, dated 1948, can still dispense exactly half a pint of beer with one pull: prior to their installation beer was fetched by jug from the cellar. There is simple shelving, basic bare benches in the window recess and a two-sided bench. The brickwork around the fireplace probably dates from 1953.

The saloon bar on the left with '2' on the door was originally a very small room that in 1953 was increased to twice its size by combining with a previous private room. It retains its original curved Victorian panelled counter with decorative brackets all painted bright yellow. The rear straight section is a later addition, no doubt of 1953? This very spartan room has a bell-push and a sign saying 'please ring for service'; old fireplace; and a ticking clock. At the rear an extension added in 1953 contains the ladies'. The present inside gents' (public bar) replaced outside ones in 1953.

A sign on the outside of the pub warns customers 'Lager not sold here' and there is no ice and no children's room! There is no till - just a small bowl for coins with notes placed beneath. Crisps are stored in tins – all crisps were supplied in tins up to the 1950s and two have been retained – you can just about make out ‘crisps’ on one and ‘cheeselets’ on the other! Note the old Bisset dart scorer - three finger-operated metal dials that change the score.

The saloon bar is venue for monthly folk music sessions (ring 01732 862862 or 01737 248708 for details) - it has a few chairs and the odd table placed around the edge of it.

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