Dartford pub Wig and Gown in Spital Street to close

A pub is set to close at the end of the year after costs doubled and visitor numbers dropped.

Owners of family-run The Wig and Gown in Dartford have announced time will be called for good after a final send-off on New Year’s Eve.

The Wig and Gown in Spital Street, Dartford, is set to close. Picture: Google Street View

Pub manager Yvonne Rickards said: “We’ve worked really hard at it but it’s costing more and more.

“The government is no help. They didn’t give anyone a chance to rebuild after Covid.”

Yvonne took on the lease at the Grade II-listed venue in Spital Street – previously named The Court House – in 2018 and the pub opened its doors to customers that June.

She said of the pub’s future: “I don’t know what we’ll do with it yet.

“I don’t think it’ll ever open as a pub again unless someone has got a lot of money behind them.”

Another of the pub’s partners, who did not want to be named, said: “It is and it isn’t a difficult decision to be close.

Last year’s takings were double what we brought in this year.

We just aren’t getting the people in. With the cost of living being so high, less people are going out. Our income is going down and our outgoings are going up.

“We were alright until the cost of living crisis. We managed through Covid, that wasn’t the problem. But now the energy bills have doubled. The cost of everything else has doubled.

“There’s been no government help for businesses. They’ve cut business rates now but it was too little too late, we needed that four, five months earlier.

“It’s good to get the support and messages, it’s really nice people care. But we needed the support of people coming through the door.”

Yvonne Rickards at the Wig and Gown pub in Dartford, which will close at the end of the year
Yvonne Rickards at the Wig and Gown pub in Dartford, which will close at the end of the year

The owners have received an outpouring of support on Facebook following their announcement.

Announcing the closure, they said: “It’s with a heavy heart and a lot of soul searching, as a family we have decided to quit while we’re ahead and shut our doors, thank you to everyone for your support.”

In its four years in Dartford, the pub has held events including wedding receptions, gender reveal and birthday parties, with many punters on Facebook commenting about their fond memories of events at the pub.

Yvonne, who has been running pubs for many years, including a stint at the Wat Tyler Inn Hotel in Dartford High Street, is now planning to retire.

On New Year’s Eve, the pub will host a “last hurrah”, where spirits are £2, pints £3, shots and bombs three for £5 and cocktails £5.


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