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Magnolias GREAT COMP

11th March 2020

Tasty Make-over at the Old Dairy Tearooms

Tasty Make-over at the Old Dairy Tearooms: a property once home to a prominent WI Member A Sevenoaks garden, which reopened this week, has invested in an exciting redevelopment of their tea rooms for the enjoyment of their visitors. Great Comp Garden in Platt, near Sevenoaks, has appointed a new tearoom manager who has initiated a new menu and overseen the redecoration project. The garden’s dedicated volunteer workforce rolled up their sleeves and assisted with the painting and renovation of the Old Dairy Tearooms at the 17th century manor house. As the name suggests, the tearooms were once the stables and dairy onsite at the house which has existed for the last 300 years and has been home to 19 registered owners including the notable Frances Heron Maxwell, a prominent WI member in Kent who also served as the West Kent Women’s War Agricultural Committee during the second world war and pioneered the Women’s Cricket game in England. The newly renovated tearooms, which boasts a fabulous new coffee machine, will be run and managed by Joe Lane (29) from Northfleet. Joe, who originally trained at The Cricketers Inn in Meopham, is keen to bring a vibrant and different menu to the tearooms. Joe says: “Visitors will be able to enjoy homemade soups (made daily), avocado toast, baked camembert, freshly made sandwiches as well as a full range of delicious cakes including vegan and gluten free offerings!” Trustees and volunteers who usually tend the 7 acre garden were rewarded last Friday (28th February) with freshly baked cake and fizz to celebrate the reopening of the garden and the cafe. (image of reopening) The garden is curated by William Dyson who is famed for his collection of salvias and so it is unsurprising that these magnificent plants from Mexico and South America proliferate in the colourful borders come the summer. In the spring the garden is home to over 80 flowering magnolia trees (in 52 different varieties) and a host of azaleas and rhododendrons. Curator William Dyson said "It's great to see the tearooms looking so wonderful and to get a chance to taste the new menu and fantastic cakes. I think the former members would approve, especially Frances Heron Maxwell who must have shared a fair amount of tea and cake with Kent WI ladies in years gone by." Great Comp Garden and Old Dairy Tearooms opened to the public on the 1st March. At present, entry to the tearoom is included in the entry price to the garden. The Great Comp Charitable Trust, who run and maintain the garden, hope in the future to be able to open the tearoom to non-garden visitors too.