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SEnine
HISTORIC ELTHAM
pub (now part of Eltham Fire station) In 1963 Beasleys North Kent Brewery
from 1907 to 1920. At his new posting he at Plumstead was sold to Courage for
took a keen interest in local affairs being £1million. To capitalise on their assets
treasurer of the New Eltham Trader’s suitable pieces of land next to pubs
Association and founder president of were developed for housing. Behind
the New Eltham Bowls Club. The club the Beehive 22 flats and maisonettes
was inaugurated in 1934 and based on were built by McManus in 1969, with
a bowling green already established in prices from £4,400 and given the name,
the grounds behind the Beehive but Brentwood Close. ‘Brentwood’ was the
previously used for quoits and tennis. original name of the red-brick cottages
The pub was also headquarters of the which stand opposite Wyborne School.
Kent County and Kent County Amateur Before this housing scheme could start
Football Associations, and New Eltham a home had to be found for Mrs Mary
& Chislehurst Pigeon Flying Association. Clasper who had lived in her caravan
behind the pub for some 60 years.
On part of the grounds stood the Although unable to leave her home
caravan home of Mr and Mrs Clasper unaided she enjoyed its peaceful
famed for their Clasper Fair which was location and every August was taken to
hive 1995
one of the country’s most famous Mitcham Fair which her husband had
touring fairs. It included a helter-skelter, once run. Her peace was shattered when
friends and local patrons to the beautiful roundabouts and swings and was very she was given notice to quit in August
grounds at the rear of the hostelry which popular with children. The fairs were also
would be splendidly illuminated during held at the Beehive and it was probable
the evening with entertainment from that the owners ‘wintered up’ here in
Mr Wormley’s Quadrille Band. their showman’s caravan. Robert Clasper
died in the early 1930s and his funeral
Walter Holland was licensee from 1910 was attended by showmen from far and
to 1926. At Christmas time the family wide. Mrs Clasper continued to drive her
organised a big party for the ‘village’ two horse caravan, but touring with the
children ‘with a huge tree, presents and fair had to cease in 1939 due to wartime
wonderful food’ as a grateful recipient petrol rationing.
recalled. Mr Holland was succeeded by
Mason Choppin died in 1943 and the
pub was run by his widow Mary Choppin
until 1958 when son Bob Choppin took
over. Like his father he was a keen angler
and became involved in local affairs as
chairman of the Blackheath Licensed
Victuallers Association, president of the 1967. She sold her caravan and moved
Woolwich District Bowling Association to a ground floor flat in Southwood
and secretary of the New Eltham Road managed by the Eltham Housing
Motif on Gables
Children’s Peace Committee and retired Association. She died aged 94 in 1970
from the Beehive in 1973. Terry and Joan and was buried at Brockley Cemetery.
Mason Choppin from the Rose Inn at Freak took over the reins until moving to Members of the Showmen’s Guild were
Plumstead who had run the Man of Kent a pub at Lee in 1996. in attendance to pay respect to a holder
of a Showmen’s Guild life membership
certificate.
In 1992 a free-standing pictorial pub
sign was erected on the forecourt
to complement the unique original
beehive motifs in the pediments
to the pub frontage and centenary
celebrations were held over the August
Bank Holiday weekend in 1997 which
included a barbecue and fete.
All pictures are from the John Kennett collection
Be active in your community
21
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