Former patrons of one lost Bromley pub have been sharing their memories of the old watering hole after it was closed in 2006 and replaced by the fast food chain McDonald’s, retaining the structure of the old pub. Taking to Facebook in a post shared on the group Catford and Lewisham Way Back When a resident of the area wrote: “DOWNHAM: Does anybody remember a pub called the ‘Garden Gate’?
“To be honest it wasn’t a pub I used. The ‘Garden Gate’ was built in 1953 on the Old Bromley Road, and Bromley Road in Downham. It was later closed down and became McD’s. So from 1953, it didn’t really last very long in pub years. But if you remember it, and you used it back in the day… Tell us your story.”
It turns out the pub was a lot more popular than he had expected, with a number of residents weighing in to share their best memories of the old pub which you can still find, albeit in McDonald’s form, in its original spot today.
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One former regular at the pub reminisced: “When I moved to Downham in 1978 I lived opposite the Midland Bank Ground, now Millwall’s training ground, and I went in the pub from day one until it closed Johnny and Esther Potter ran it and oh what a brilliant pub and days they were. Fantastic people in all three bars with great Courage beers. Sadly, like all good things they come to an end.”
Another who remembered spending time at the Garden Gate wrote: “As youngsters we used to buy our beer in the Public Bar which was the cheapest bar and then go and sit in the lounge bar. Can’t believe you had 3 bars in those days. Public, saloon and lounge all having different prices because of the decor etc.”
For others the pub held some great family memories: “Certainly do, we used to go with our Nan and Grandad Cody bottle of pop and bag of crisps Nan always had her Guinness. Lovely memories.”
Another fan of the old pub said: “I used to go to the Garden Gate with friends. My two friends, Sue and Val worked behind the bar in the early 1980s. John and Esther Potter ran the pub.”
Some knew the pub well from their childhood but never got the chance to drink there, one resident writing: “I remember it well but was to young to use it at first by the time I could it had closed and stood empty for many years before it became McDonald’s.”
Others were glad to have a McDonald’s and pointed out a trend in the chain buying up old pubs, mentioning some other locals: “Yes…Mc D’s had a trend in the late 90s early 00s of converting pubs into their restaurants also done it with The Crown at Bromley Common & The Poppy in Shirley.”
Once the pub was gone some locals were glad the unused building got a new lease of life, one parent writing: “I used to live opposite and was thrilled to get a local McDonalds, with two young boys, in the days before home delivery!”
Whilst the old pub may now be gone, at least it’s clear the fond memories it left in the community are by no means forgotten.
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