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From Payne's Brewers of London to Mem's Mezze - how Halfway House has changed over the years

By KentOnline reporter

by Bel Austin

The wind of change has been blowing through Halfway in recent times.

Not only has the century-old school building been vacated and left empty, another state-of-the-art school has replaced it, and the once familiar pub on the corner has undergone a transformation. However, history tells us it wasn’t the original Halfway House.

This picture was first to bear the name for Payne’s brewers of London, plus stables, and was opposite on Queenborough Road.

The Half-Way House pub, believed to have been on the opposite side of Queenborough Road, Halfway (5582488)
The Half-Way House pub, believed to have been on the opposite side of Queenborough Road, Halfway (5582488)

A garage stands on the site. It has been argued the position suggests it was on Minster Road but that was undoubtedly The Oddfellows, now divided into flats.

Our second picture shows the corner pub in the early 1900s when the Lutman family called it home. We are intrigued by the markings on the pavement and what appears to be a weighing machine on the side of the building.

Customers could well have included those from the Army units billeted in tents on nearby fields.

The Lutmans outside the pub
The Lutmans outside the pub

The very name Halfway has often to be explained to visitors who invariably say “the” Halfway.

Locals simply call it by name as being midway between Minster and Queenborough.

They wouldn’t dream of prefacing either of those communities with “the” anymore than saying “the” Eastchurch or “the” Leysdown. Over the years, Halfway has developed its own identity and is a popular area to wine and dine.

The Halfway House before it became Mem's Mezze
The Halfway House before it became Mem's Mezze

It once boasted a baker’s shop, two butchers, wool shop, sweet shop, nursery, dairy, monument maker and, more recently, a school outfitting shop and estate agent.

The choice of barbering or hair styling is still available in three salons. In June 2011, a fire in the kitchen of the pub had to be brought under control by firefighters from Sittingbourne and Sheerness, closing Queenborough Road to traffic.

The fire was contained in the cooking area but the main bar was damaged by smoke. Trudie Gannon, who with late husband PJ, was in situ at Halfway House for an amazing 42 years before it became a 40th birthday present for Mehmet Suzgun from wife Elvin.

Mem's Mezze Bar at Halfway, Sheppey
Mem's Mezze Bar at Halfway, Sheppey

The complete transformation to Mem’s Mezze at a cost of almost £1 million has proved a popular move.

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