Lost Pubs: The Call Boy / by Nigel Rumsey

The Call Boy, Harmer Street, Gravesend

Just so we are clear we’re not mentioning the van - it doesn’t move, ever. I’ve been back several times, that is more of a tin shed than a van.

The Call Boy was built in 1953, replacing the demolished Assembly Rooms pub that was on this site before it. In 2008 the brewery Shepherd Neame closed The Call Boy along with many other pubs in the area. In 2009 it reopened as a Bar Liquorice which lasted until 2012, it then had a short life as a gay bar called Angels.

All trace of Angels has vanished, the windows are boarded up presumably to keep the vandals out. The rear garden hasn’t been so lucky, it now features its very own car-without-wheels feature along with a couple of old rusting washing machines.

The original pub on this site was called Institute Shades which opened in 1846 and was associated with the Grand Theatre that was on the site. At some point, the name was changed to the Assembly Rooms and then Grand Bars. Records seem to suggest it may also have been called the Theatre Tap and the Theatre Bar somewhere along the way.

The Grand Theatre closed in 1933, but the pub remained open until the roof of the theatre fell in in 1952, when it and the pub were demolished. The Call Boy was built in on the same site in 1953.

This is one of many pubs to have recently closed in Gravesend. Since the turn of the century, 24 pubs in the town have ceased trading.

Part of an ongoing project.

Information from the Lost Pubs Project and pubhistory.com.