PUNTERS enjoyed their final pint at a well-established pub after the boozer closed its doors for the last time.
The Battle of Minden, in St Mary’s Road, Kingston, shut on Saturday evening after more than 70 years at its present site.
Landlord Ray Shaw, 68, who has run the pub for nearly 25 years, is retiring after 28 years as a publican.
He was saddened to shut up shop but said falling trade and competition from supermarkets, selling cheap booze, had caused custom to dry up.
The former Chief Petty Officer in the Royal Navy said: ‘I have had some absolutely brilliant times here with the locals. This isn’t just a pub – it’s been my home too.’
Ray held a farewell party with friends and regulars to mark the Minden’s closure.
Dozens of people packed into the pub to enjoy drinks and a disco.
Among them was Gary Winslade, 61, of Clive Road.
He had been a regular at the pub for five years and was dismayed by it’s closure.
He said: ‘I’m well and truly gutted. I love it down here.
‘It’s a brilliant pub. We’re all mates and we have a good time here. There’s a great camaraderie.
‘I’m going to miss Ray immensely. He is a great guy and this is his home.’
James Harding, 60, of Chelmsford Road, North End, said: ‘This is going to be a real loss to the community.’
Roz Baldacchino said her father-in-law Tony Baldacchino, of Foster Road, Landport, was devastated by the closure.
‘He has Parkinson’s and has been coming here for 50 years,’ she said. ‘He meets mates here everyday. He is going to lose that. It’s something he will miss terribly.’
The pub is the last of five pubs that once traded on St Mary’s Road. It was also reputedly the only pub in the country to bear its name, which derives from a battle fought during the Seven Years War between 1756 and 1763.
It it understood pub owners Kipcroft Properties Ltd are seeking to obtain planning permission to carry out conversion work on the site, which had previously been earmarked for redevelopment into eight flats.