Published: 05:00, 10 October 2021
| Updated: 14:15, 11 October 2021
An historic pub reflecting Medway’s rich military history has reopened after a dispute with a former tenant.
It’s taken owner John Brice more than a year to take back control of the King George V in Brompton.
The popular pub boss has spent more than £100,000 on a makeover and from tomorrow he and wife Diane will be welcoming back regulars and guests from further afield to stay in the refurbished en suite bedrooms.
Mr Brice, chairman of Medway Licensed Victuallers and a real ale connoisseur, has ensured the listed building retains its historic features.
Dating back to 1690, it was frequented by Royal Navy personnel from the nearby Chatham Dockyard as well as soldiers from Brompton Barracks.
Memorabilia including berets caps, badges and emblems adorn the walls along with pictures of his seaside home town in Devon.
The couple retired after running the pub for 10 years in 2014, saying they wanted to put their feet up and “sit the other side of the bar”.
But they are glad to be back at the helm pulling pints at the hostelry in Prospect Row.
He said: “It’s been a long and difficult journey, but after seeing the end results it’s all been worthwhile.
“I used this pub as a drinker 40 years ago and it has a special place for me.
“I just couldn’t just sit here and watch it die. It’s one of the oldest pubs in Medway and is a landmark to naval history serving many characters over the years from both the Royal Navy and army.
“The pub basically looks like it always did. But everything has been upgraded, repainted, re-upholstered, re-carpeted and given a totally fresh appearance.”
The Monday Club, rum club, whisky society, monthly walks, live acoustic sessions, piano evenings, meat raffle and silent quizzes are also back.
Every Tuesday, there will be a music session when the jukebox will be free and on Sundays a traditional roast will be served.
The newly-fitted kitchen will be open between 6.30pm and 8.30pm with a regularly changing menu.
Doors were supposed to open earlier this week but it’s been delayed because of staff sickness. Mr Brice, who also owns the Frog and Toad in Gillingham, added: “We wanted to ensure the safety and and safeguard our customers."
He had a long career as a broadcaster and journalist with the BBC before going into the licensing trade.
He organises the popular annual Medway Beer Festival at the Stanley Ballroom in Chatham which has grown in size over the years.