Published: 06:00, 27 March 2021
Although the name was clearly displayed on the fascia, even in large painted letters on the roof, the long-gone Lord Nelson pub was often referred to as The First and Last.
It depended on the route of travel, on or off the Isle of Sheppey.
It was the only pub between Queenborough Corner and The Woolpack and the official address was Iwade.
There is also Lord Nelson Road in the Bobbing, Iwade and Lower Halstow ward, but of the pub?
Nothing at all. No landmark stone. Nothing since 1959 when it was demolished as the new Kingsferry Bridge was making ready to officially open in 1960.
But there are many stories about it, which lose nothing in the telling - accidental deaths and a suicide.
The pub’s location in near-isolation gave way to ghostly happenings.
Many a yarn most likely began “it was a dark and windy night, no moon or stars in the sky when (pause for dramatic effect )...”
It was such a night in February 1827 when a young woman, smartly but plainly dressed, entered the pub and begged a room for the night. Where had she come from on foot? She was made welcome but a few hours later announced she had taken poison and then she died.
There are accounts of a livestock sale in 1803, but not until 1841 is there is mention of a landlady - 55-year-old Martha Lockyer.
We can assume in its long history farm workers and Swedish sailors coming in from the pulp boats at Ridham Dock would have been customers.
Soldiers too, from Chetney Marshes, and railway workers from Swale Halt. Is it possible after the Second World War German prisoners-of-war held in huts at Kingsferry were allowed supervised freedom to imbibe?
It was certainly not on the beaten track, but we know families from Queenborough and Rushenden found a route across Rushenden Marshes which brought them out to the Ferry Road with the Lord Nelson as their goal.
What better place to sit and admire Sheppey’s magnificent sunsets?
Film makers both amateur and professional have found it an ideal location and scenes from one film starring John Mills were definitely shot there.
But not everyone agrees the name of the classic. Some insist it was Great Expectations with the actor as young Pip meeting with escaped prisoner Magwitch. Not so.
The film was Long Memory, made in 1953 - the year of the floods. John Mills was certainly the star, but he played a man out for revenge after serving a prison term for a murder he did not commit.
Filming must have been after the ruinous floods because everywhere was a quagmire of mud when the water subsided.
However the pub did feature prominently in the rescues - there never had been such activity in years - swarms of soldiers creating a Bailey bridge, armies of civilians filling sandbags and farm workers squelching through mud hauling the bloated bodies of dead sheep.
After days like that a few thirsts had to be slaked, be it with beer or hot drinks. The bar also offered warmth and shelter from bitterly cold winds, sleet and rain.