Landmark Crowborough pub gets top marks

The Crowborough Arms
The Crowborough Arms

A landmark pub, recently taken over by national chain JD Wetherspoon, has gained the top rating for its levels of hygiene in the council’s Scores on the Doors programme.

The Crowborough Cross, in Beacon Road, was awarded a five star rating by the council’s inspectors. Scores on the Doors aims to highlight hygiene standards in pubs, restaurants, take-aways and clubs across the district.

Inspectors judge outlets on how hygienic and well-managed the food preparation at the premises is and each business is benchmarked against the same criteria.

Manager Michal Fryca said: “I am delighted that we gained the top rating and I’m sure our customers will welcome the news too. Standards of hygiene at the pub are of paramount importance.”

The Crowborough Cross was acquired by Wetherspoons after former owners Punch Taverns decided not to redevelop the site. It had been closed for a year after fire chiefs condemned the kitchen and cellar and demanded that the gas supply was cut off.

At the time a Wetherspoons spokesman said: “We have been keen to open a pub in the town for a number of years and we are delighted that this happened.” He promised that the pub would be substantially refurbished.

Two months before re-opening, the building’s new inn sign caused controversy as it appeared to show a three-dimensional plant - researched as a symbol of the town.

Local documents explain Croh was Old English for golden-yellow and berg means hill. Gorse grows profusely in the Beacon area and yellow flowers might have contributed to the meaning. In 1734, Sir Henry Fermor bequeathed money for a church and charity school for the benefit of the ‘very ignorant and heathenish people’ that lived in the part of Rotherfield ‘in or near a place called Crowborough and Ashdown Forest.’ The church, All Saints, and primary school still survive today.

The railway arrived in 1868 and by 1880, the town had grown so much the ecclesiastical parish of All Saints was separated from that of St Denys, Rotherfield.

In the late 19th century Crowborough was promoted as a health resort due to its high elevation, rolling hills and surrounding forest.