For the history of the recent demise of the Tumble Down Dick see below
As far as we know there has been an inn on the site of what is now the Tumble Down Dick, 227 Farnborough Road, since around Tudor times.
The first licence to serve alcohol or as a hotel was issued in around 1661.
The first sign of a public house on any map dates back to 1772 when only St Peter’s Church, dating back to Norman times, and the coaching inn were visible on what was once open heathland. Farnborough was a good stopping point as it was half way between London and the south coast. There is even a milestone across the road from the pub, just outside the Milestone Surgery.
Initially the pub was thought to have been called the Prince of Orange but later had its name changed to The Duke of Cumberland.
The name The Tumble Down Dick has a number of potential origins:
- One rumour is that it is named after Dick Turpin.
- Another possible name is from the highwayman Richard “Galloping Dick” Ferguson (17??-1800) who met his eventual accomplice Jerry Avershaw at the Tumbledown.
- Local man Dick Thrupples apparently fell off a stool at the inn
- Oliver Cromwell’s third and youngest son, Richard (4 October 1626 – 12 July 1712), became Lord Protector of England on the 3rd September 1658 but lasted only a few months until April or May of 1659 when parliament was dissolved and Cromwell was allowed to “fade away” from his position as the country’s premiere. Ever since known as “Tumbledown Dick” this is the man after whom the pub is most likely named.
The current red brick Tumble Down Dick building mainly dates back to 1812 and there have been numerous modifications and additions to the pub over the years including an interior toilet (oh, the luxury) commissioned by the then owners Simonds Brewery (Reading) in 1915 for war-wounded local servicemen who were “inconvenienced” by the old outdoor facilities.
The Tumbledown last closed its doors to the public in February 2008 when Punch Taverns/Spirit Group voluntarily shut the pub after a filed health inspection by EH officers from Rushmoor Borough Council.
Promising a refurbishment within 6-9 months, all staff lost their jobs when the PubCo failed to reopened the Tumbly. Nearby Frimley pub Ye Olde White Harte, another Spirit Group tavern, had a full refurbishment, a new roof and was underpinned. Yet Farnbourough’s Tumbledown was left derelict.
Despite numerous attempts to inquire about the pub’s state and future use, the Tumbly has stood empty for nearly five years and has been seriously overlooked, whether through deliberate and wilfull neglect or pure “professional” incompetence. With holes in its slate roof it is wondered how much longer the inn can weather the storm.
In October 2012 a campaign was started to generate a positive and practical course for the pub. It came to light, through a check of the Land Registry documents, that MacDonald’s the fast food giant, were interested in the Tumbledown after signing an agreement with the freeholders, Bride Hall investments of London – Property developers with a portfolio of ambiguous and pain cookie-cut developments.
After a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, it has come to light that Rushmoor Borough Council knew about MacDonald’s Restaurants Ltd’s the interest in the site since at least April 2012 and they indeed, even seemed happy about the plans to demolish the pub and replace it with a “supersized” two-storey MacDonald’s restaurant.
At the same time, the Tumbledown Dick, listed as a “Hampshire Treasure” for it’s 18th century build and 16th century parts, mysteriously disappeared from “locally listed” buildings whilst every other Hampshire Treasure stayed. The Tumbledown is now ripe for knocking down and redevelopment.
The Tumbledown must not be demolished. The Tumbledown must not be (yet another) a McDonald’s restaurant (this country already has 1,200 of them). The Tumbledown must reopen as a pub, music venue and more. The residents of Farnborough deserve their coaching inn back or else we’ll have another common name in a faceless town, just like every other place in this country.