Town council completes five years of work on Vine Pavilion in Sevenoaks to help preserve the historic and iconic building

THE Vine Pavilion has become one of Sevenoaks’ iconic landmarks. It was built in 1850 for Mary Sackville, who was the daughter of the 3rd Duke of Dorset John Frederick Sackville who lived at Knole. The Duke had previously given the Vine to the town for cricket in 1773.

Sevenoaks Mayor, Nicholas Busvine OBE, joined other dignitaries and guests for the official opening the new ramp on 19 June 2019.

In those early days the players changed in a ‘cricketing house’ situated in an area roughly where the bandstand is today.

But not long after the pavilion was built for Mary – who was married to William Pitt Amherst, the 1st Earl Amherst from 1839 until he died in 1857 leaving her a widow – she let it to the town cricket club, and they have been there ever since.

No doubt these figures from Sevenoaks’ history would appreciate the efforts Sevenoaks Town Council has been making to restore and preserve the Vine Pavilion during the past five years.

The work has included new roofs, repairs to wooden cladding, and upgrading the exterior toilets which are accessible for all. This restoration was completed recently with the installation of a new access ramp and refurbished sash windows.

The access ramp was made possible thanks to a £25,000 grant from the Tarmac’s Landfill Communities Fund. It was designed by local architect Glenn Ball to meet all conservation requirements. The design has the bonus of providing a handy balustrade which can double up as a viewing area for spectators to enjoy their drinks from the bar while watching the cricket.

The Vine Pavilion was extended in 1975 and has, for a number of years, also been home to Sevenoaks Hockey Club as well the Sevenoaks Vine Cricket Club. Both now have plans now to refurbish the interior.

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