Published: 06:00, 17 January 2021
Here we take a look back at the Kent pub which over the years became a wine bar, lap-dancing club and gay bar...
For more than two centuries, drinks were served from an establishment on the corner of King Street and St Alphege Lane in Canterbury.
It began life as a traditional pub in the 18th Century but in more recent times was home to lap dancers, before being reinvented once again as a gay bar.
The earliest known records are for a tavern called the Dog and Bull in 1796. But in September 1798 the then Prince of Wales - who would later become King George IV - was presented with the freedom of the City of Canterbury. The pub changed its name to the Prince of Wales to celebrate this.
It was bought by Rigdens from Flints brewery in 1849 for the sum of £510. In the 1940s the inn’s clientele was described as being “local artisans, visitors and shoppers”.
It became a wine bar called Merefields before being bought by Enterprise Inns in 2001 and transformed into Scribe’s.
By 2006 there was a lap-dancing club upstairs above the bar.
When bosses launched a bid to extend its opening hours there was fierce opposition from the St Peter’s Association, who feared “drunken louts roaming around the area late at night causing a nuisance”.
Later that year comedian Dara O Briain, clutching a copy of the Kentish Gazette during a show at The Marlowe, referenced Scribe’s late-licence snub as his reason to finish on time.
With falling customer numbers the bar shut at the end of 2008.
But halfway through 2009 the venue reopened as a gay bar called CO2. Yet in January 2010, CO2 - which was then the city’s only gay bar - closed due to a lack of business.
Pictures and information used with kind permission of Paul Skelton, of dover-kent.com.