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Green Lion pub in Rainham, to become Hedgehogs nursery

An historic pub is being converted into a children's nursery.

The former Green Lion in High Street, Rainham, has been taken over by Hedgehogs Childcare which has pre-schools in Rochester, Chatham and Hempstead.

Green Lion in Rainham to become a nursery school
Green Lion in Rainham to become a nursery school

It is hoped little ones will be enrolling from January where no doubt they might learn about the 14th century hostelry's rich history.

Refurbishment of the Grade II-listed building is under way and the company's spiky emblem now adorns the walls replacing the two green lion illustrations at the doorway.

Hedgehogs Childcare, which has a head office in Hills Terrace, Chatham , was founded by Eve Poynter and Laura Hollands.

Hedgehogs pre-school and forest school opened in 2016 and the day nursery started in March last year.

The Rochester site takes youngsters from three months to five year-old.

The Green Lion pub in Rainham High Street back in 2008
The Green Lion pub in Rainham High Street back in 2008

The nurseries in Hempstead and Chatham look after children from the age of two.

The former coach house closed at the end of last year.

Workmen carrying out alterations in the 1960s, uncovered a passageway leading from the cellar to the nearby St Margaret's Church.

When roof tiles were removed about a decade later, a "priest hole" was discovered with several clay pipes and an old rickety bench in it.

It is possible this was a hiding place for those escaping various authorities and persecution.

The Green Lion, Rainham, in September 1974
The Green Lion, Rainham, in September 1974

Before the Second World War, the back of the pub was a bowling green which doubled up as a tennis court, but this was dug up as part of the conflict effort.

In later years, live music and functions were held and it also used to have overnight accommodation.

Part of the hostelry was converted into a Thai restaurant, but the business no longer exists.

Former landlady Hazel Staden, who ran the pub with her husband between 1968 and 1986, has described it as one of the oldest buildings in Rainham.

She said: "I expect it could tell quite a few tales if only the walls could speak."

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