I would have joined this thread earlier but I have had difficulties getting on Mudcat recently. I have a great affinity for the Coach House having spent a minimum of three evenings a week there over a seven year period.
My first association with the Coach House was in 1969 after John Barker informed me of a new Folk venue he was working on. I met John when he, Pete Hicks and Mac McNally were hosting Dartford Folk Club at the Railway Hotel and I went along to see the Yetties.
At that time the Coach House had been cleared of accumulated rubbish and a floating floor laid. Late in the Summer of 1969 there was an impromptu folk event held there (probably over the August Bank Holiday) where I was first introduced to the Morris (but thats another story). Work continued during the winter of 1969 when the chimney was built, the last wooden barrels (used as seats) were obtained from Courage brewery, cushions made for them, and various artifats such as the ships wheel, anchor, anvil, etc obtained and installed. The bar was simply made by laying wooden planking across upended barrels and a high stalter for the beer casks. The stage was made from lots of wooden beer bottle crates closely laid on their side. In my time there was never any amplification nor the need for it.
My contribution to the work was to construct the Folk Shop adjacent to the original club entrance door at the far side. The large main doors were generally only used for festivals in the car park and the intermediate side door, latterly used as the entrance, was never opened. Adjacent to the Folk Shop was a narrow store room that Pete Choppin used as his workshop for a time.
Work on the Coach House was completed in time for it to open as a Folk Club venue at he begining of May 1970. I only have vague memories of the opening day probably as I was kept busy in the Folk Shop. I have a clearer recolection of the first birthday which was held on Saturday 1st May 1971 for which I still have the programme leaflet featuring Kenneth Loveless, Johnny Handle and of course the Hartley Morris Men who had adopted the Coach House as their spiritual home and practice venue.
As I mentioned, at first I used to run the Folk Shop on Fridays as the Dartford club, which changed venues to the Royal Victoria & Bull, still ran on Sundays and had not initially transferred to the Bull at Farningham.
I then took over the running of the bar behind which I served virtually session held in the Coach House until the end of 1977 assisted mainly by Stuart Ansell and Dave Masterson.
We generally had four casks of draught Courage beer on - Mild, Directors and two of Best each being a Kilderkin (18 gallons). We often sold most of the contents on a Friday evening (576 pints) and had to change the barrels ready for the Sunday session.
The third weekly evening I spent their was Thursday Morris practice.
I have very happy memories of my times their but for the most part lost touch with all the people I must have served over the years.
To those who may remember me, I hope you are still well and enjoying good health. Those were happy days.
In 1978 I transferred to Canterbury for a few years and so lost touch. After that time I understand that things changed slightly with amplification, the Folk Shop turned into a beer 'celler', the intermediate side door brought into use and a flagstone floor laid.
The Coach House was a shadow of it's former self when I looked in a couple of years ago, forlorn but not forgotten.
Oh and yes the Stefan Grapelli evening (Diz Disley on bass if I remember) absolutely packed to the gunnels.
p.s. Daniel Sheridan-Bolton was the landlord and it was he who changed the name of the pub from the Bull to the Pied Bull sometime in the mid seventies.