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The Krays celebrate 20 years at The Crown pub in Rochester High Street

Like father, like son. Dad Steve Kray has been brought up in pubs since the age of three.

And Pete, the eldest of his four children, has been helping out since he was 15.

The two of them are now celebrating their 20-year partnership at The Crown in Rochester High Street having survived a series of challenges along the way.

Steve and Pete Kray at The Crownin Rochester High Street. Picture: Chris Davey. (12958302)
Steve and Pete Kray at The Crownin Rochester High Street. Picture: Chris Davey. (12958302)

These include the smoking ban in licensed premises, high business rates and cheap booze in supermarkets - all of which have forced countless pubs across the Towns to close.

But they believe being a family-run business has helped them to give them a hands-on commitment and personal touch to the job that big chain brewery pubs lack.

After buying the freehouse for £395,000, Steve immediately closed it for six weeks to carry out a £300,000 refurbishment throughout.

He also reverted the name from the Norman Conquest, adopted by the previous owner, back to The Crown to be more in-keeping with the historic town.

The Norman Conquest before refurbishment (12955838)
The Norman Conquest before refurbishment (12955838)

Royalty including Elizabeth I and King Charles V of Spain also stayed at the original pub by the same name before it was demolished.

Over the years as a team they have had to move with the times.

They took a significant slump in trade when the council moved its headquarters from the Civic Centre in Strood to Gun Wharf in Chatham.

Steve, 58, whose partner Tina Martin works behind the bar, said: “We used get a couple hundred coming across the bridge.

"Although we are known as a sports bar screening most of the big matches in our upstairs bar, a lot of people have Sky sports at home now."

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Pete, 35, said: “Food has become more important.

“People don’t tend to just come in for a pint any more. They want the whole package.”

They are also banking on the massive regeneration at Rochester Riverside, which will see an influx of thousands of new residents, boosting trade.

Pete followed in his dad’s footsteps after leaving school and remembers as a teenager delivering wage packets to staff in a nearby restaurant.

The father-of two, who lives in Hempstead with his wife Louise, 32, puts in long days starting at 10am and ending late at night.

The Crown in Corporation Street, Rochester. Picture: Peter Still
The Crown in Corporation Street, Rochester. Picture: Peter Still

Pete said they tried to do everything as a family, including outings to watch their beloved Arsenal.

He said: “Dad and I have our moments, but we basically get on.

“We are a father and son couple as opposed to a husband and wife couple.”

Steve started off running pubs in Whitstable, including the Duke of Cumberland and the Pearson’s Arms.

He said: “We are planning to hold a party to say thank you to our many loyal customers.”

For more news on big brands and good places to enjoy a tasty bite, head to our Eat, Drink, Shop section

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