Q. As you may be aware the Ramblers Rest recently changed hands and the new owners are keen to uncover the history. The sign outside saying 1684 is complete fiction, but it may be the oldest pub in the village. Any clues to sources?
A. As the pub gets scant mention in Webb’s History of Chislehurst, it’s safe to assume the 1684 date is spurious. It was previously known, I believe, as The Millers Arms. The windmill was built in 1796 and there is an old image of the pub in Imperial Chislehurst (from the safe hand of Tom Bushell) dated c.1807.
Roy Hopper describes it as originally a beer house frequented when people came to the commons for fairs and bank holidays in the 19thC. A writer in Cockpit describes the Ramblers in the Fifties: “one Lino floored bar, a grim looking ladies lounge some four steps lower than the main bar with a serving hatch. The gents was outside! In 1956 a pint cost £1s 10d (9p today).”
I think for real facts I’d turn to the land registry. If the deeds are there, they should have all the land dates within them. We have some good old images on the society website which we could provide for a small fee if the new people want to make some displays.