|The Shop in c 1900||The Shop in 2011|
The English Heritage Grade II Listed building was originally built as part of a dairy in circa 1800.
It has, over the last half century had a multitude of uses. An elderly lifelong resident of Wateringbury explained how they remembered (when they were very young) how the building was used as an agricultural store selling a multitude of different items stored throughout the height of the building.
This was back in the days when this part of Kent was famous for growing hops. There were several breweries operating in Wateringbury the last of which closed down in the 1960s. As well as the local abundance of hops, the breweries were situated here thanks in part to the fact that Wateringbury sits on a ‘spring line’ where the chalky soil of the surrounding Kent Downs becomes very rich in clay. As chalk is porous it means water will be travelling deep in the ground until at Wateringbury it hits non-porous clay forcing it upwards to form a multitude of natural springs that find their way to the River Medway at Wateringbury.
Little did we realise that we had our own spring-fed well hidden below twelve inches of damp concrete in the basement! (see ‘The Search For The Well & The Building Works‘)
The upper parts of the building along with a small warehouse to the rear were converted to apartments in the last housing boom of the late 1980s. Since then, the retail shop part of the building (on the ground & basement levels) has seen a multitude of uses including ‘Cross Stores’ (a general store), an Antiques centre (until it was flooded!), a gymnasium, an Estate Agents, a building engineering company’s office & finally until we reach today…. ‘Where Memories Meet’ (Tea Room & Antiques/Vintage Centre)
We hope you’ll join us for Tea soon!
– Carolyn and Joseph
For more about the history of Wateringbury see the very informative Wateringbury Blog: Wateringbury.blogspot.com