Kook marks second pub design with The Nelson Arms Tonbridge

Posted on January 4, 2018


Nelson Arms Tonbridge // Project overview


Kook’s second pub design project has gone to site at The Nelson Arms Tonbridge.  Previously a Shepherd Neame pub, it was taken over earlier this year by Matthew Rudd and Emma Cole of The Windmill in the Weald.  Following a campaign by local residents to save the pub, the Barden Residents Association applied to have the pub on Cromer Street listed as an ‘Asset of Community Value’ (ACV).

Due to open early 2018. Kook have been working closely with Matt & Emma to help achieve their requirements for the interior layouts.  The concept for the Nelson Arms was simple.  To create a pub which takes a step back in time, reviving the style of pub England was once famous for.

Last refurbished in 1999.  The Nelson Arms was opened up to give the open planned space everyone wanted to achieve.  This unfortunately destroyed any original character the building had.  The original parquet flooring was ripped up, partitioning removed and fireplaces blocked up.  With such an open space to work with, Kook have come up with a design which restores some of its original features, while exploring modern innovations to help bring the Nelson Arms into the 21st Century.


Exterior lamp at The Nelson Arms

Nelson Arms Tonbridge // Design


The Nelson Arms will now consist of 2 saloon bars, a jug room and a modernised lounge bar. Each with its own unique design and purpose.  See projects page for proposed designs.

Both Saloon bars will be ornate, lavish rooms.  Heavily patterned Axminster carpets will compliment William Morris hand printed wall paper and antique brass fixtures and fittings.  while existing tongue and groove panelling will be restored and stained to match the remodelled bar.

The jug room, a small portion in between the saloon bar and lounge bar, will be a standing only section which thrives conversation.  A small oak beer shelf will run around the entire perimeter.  Above this, hand glazed, Victorian tiles will run all the way to the ceiling.  Victorian green field tiles will be broken up with decorative mouldings and motifs.  Existing timber floors will be exposed and varnished.

The lounge bar, located at the rear of the pub, will adopt a similar colour scheme to the other rooms, but will focus on attracting a younger audience.  Craft beer will be the focus here. As well as having a dartboard and TV showing sports regularly.  The lounge bar will contain a mixture of high and low level seating.  A standing area similar to the jug room will also run along one wall.  The walls will be painted in a rich aubergine colour, with tongue and groove panelling at chair rail height around the entire perimeter.  Panelling in this room will be stained in a colour to contrast the other rooms.  Possibly green.


Exterior view of the Nelson Arms Tonbridge prior to refurb

Nelson Arms Tonbridge // Bar design


The existing bar, one of the only original features at the Nelson Arms Tonbridge is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship.  Made from pine and oak and stained to a dark brown, it is the centre piece of the Nelson.  Accessible from all sections of the pub, Kook have incorporated it into the design with minimal changes.  The only changes are in the Saloon bar. Both corner pieces will be removed and replaced with columns.  By adding columns, this will break the bar up, defining each of the zones even more.  Each of the columns will be bridged by a decorative brass shelving system to store glassware and bottles.  Once complete the existing bar will be stripped back and stained to match the new woodwork.

Rick from Kent Oak, who built the bar on the Fuggles Beer Cafe project will carry out the changes.  RTW construction, who were also involved in Fuggles, will be undertaking all building works involved.

Interior view of the Nelson Arms prior to refurb

Interior view of the Nelson Arms prior to refurb

Interior view of the Nelson Arms prior to refurb

Interior view of the Nelson Arms prior to refurb

Progress of works will be featured on our blog and on social media as the project develops.

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