BEER …THE HEALTHY CHOICE!
Alcoholism had become a real problem in the early 18th century as Gin, an originally Dutch drink, had become very popular in England during and after the reign of William ( of Orange) and Mary. Beer was considered the much healthier option, as this painting by William Hoggard shows.
In order to combat alcoholism, the government of the day introduced the Beer Act of 1830, which made it possible for ordinary people to brew and sell beer for the payment of 2 guineas a year. (approx.. 2 months wages for a skilled tradesman in those days).
As a consequence of the Beer Act, ale houses and small breweries sprung up everywhere. This was also the case in Lenham, where there were more small ale houses than we know of today. There were the public houses in the parish. The Dog and Bear, the Red Lion, The Hussar, the Chequers and in the hamlets there was The Bull in Lenham Heath, the White Swan (Platts Heath) ,‘The Plough’ on Liverton Hill ‘The Woodman’s Arms’, on Faversham Road, Glovers Cottages and there was The Duke of Wellington in Woodside Green ( West Street), the White Horse in Sandway and in Warren Street there is still ‘The Harrow’.
In 1904 the Licencing Act intended to reduce the number of public houses. From 1905 onwards, landlords who decided to close their pubs were compensated under the Compensation Act. Almost 7000 pubs closed in England between 1905 and 1911.
In more recent years Drink Driving legislation, and increased sales of alcoholic drinks in supermarkets and off licenses for home consumption, led to more public house closures.
During the enforced temporary pub closures during the Covid 19 pandemic in 2020, alcohol was freely available to drink at home, but one of the things which many people missed most was the social enjoyment of a trip to the pub!
"Few things are more pleasant than a village graced with a good church, a good priest and a good pub"
John Hilaby, travel writer
Past and Present
The Duke of Wellington in
on Faversham Road
The Red Lion in the Square
The Harrow Inn in Warren Street
The Chequers in the Square
In Liverton Street
The White Swan
in Platts Heath
in the Square
The Bull Inn in Lenham Heath
is a year to remember. Until 1982 it was legal to refuse to serve a woman in a pub. Pubs were a male domain. Women who were tolerated in pubs were often ladies of bad repute.
Pub Names are intriguing. Bill Bryson observed that a Briton doesn’t want to ‘dub his drinking’ in a place with an ordinary name such as Harry’s Bar or Greenwood Lounge. It has to be the ‘Dog and Duck’, the ‘Goose and Firkin’ or the ‘Spotted Dog’.
However Bill Bryson does not understand the British psyche when he writes that pub names ‘defy all logical explanation’. It is just a question of digging deep, sometimes very deep in history, local folklore or long lost traditions and find the name of ones favourite haunt most obvious.
 Bill Bryson, The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way
 Some of the explanation for Lenham’s pub names are taken from the website of the inn sign society ( www.innsignsociety.com.)