Sort file:- Maidstone, December, 2023.

Page Updated Maidstone:- Wednesday, 13 December, 2023.


Earliest 1835-

(Name from)


Latest 1932

(Name to)

Sutton Road



This pub could well have started life as the "Broadway Bell" as early as 1830.

Although I believe this pub to be called the "Bell" and change name to the "Blue Door" at first I believed between 1938 and 1954, I have also seen reference to it called the "Blue Door" in the 1891 census. I don't know whether this is in error, but have been informed that the area of Bell Shaw and Bell Wood, hence its original name, but where the "Blue Door" comes from, as yet I haven't a clue.

Local knowledge needed here.

It is said that the name changed after the political minded landlord who preceded Mr Croucher renamed his pub after waking one morning to find blue stripes painted on his front door in reference to his rival party - he liked the colour and stuck with it.

Back in March 1937 it was surrounded by fields and woods - a far cry from the heavy development you'd find today - and became the go to inn for shooting parties, according to a fascinating article from 1937. When shooting fanatic William Croucher was at the helm, it was also the only tavern in the town still lit by oil lamps and had no running water or electricity. The article continues:- "The fish is a Sun Fish from Chinese Waters and hangs in the public bar, a fierce some (sic) looking object. But Mr Croucher claims it is an infallible weather prophet. When rain is due its prickles drip with water, but they soon dry up when the fair weather is about," the author continues, in reference to the pub's famous 'fish barometer' - apparently inherited from the town's White Hart.


From the Kentish Gazette, 24 July 1838.

Sudden Death.

On Saturday morning se'ennight a young man named Samuel Robonson, servant to H. R. Reynolds esq. the chief commissioner of the insolvent court, was found dead in his bed at the "Bell Inn," Maidstone. medical attendance was procured but was unavailable An inquest was held the same afternoon before Mr. Dally, coroner, and a respectable jury, who after hearing the evidence of Mr. Taunton, surgeon, and other witnesses, returned a verdict declaring that the deceased's death was caused by apoplexy.


Kentish Gazette, 2 April 1850.


An inquest was, on Saturday se'nnight, held at the "Bell Inn," Maidstone, before F. F. Dally, Esq., coroner, on the body of Eliza Phipps, late of Shepway Street, who was found drowned in a well on the previous Wednesday morning.

It appeared that she had for some time past been in an ill state of health, under medical treatment, and suffering much from a pain in the head.

Verdict:— "Found drowned in a well."


From the Maidstone Telegraph, Rochester and Chatham Gazette, 14 December 1861.

Robbery at the Bell Hotel.

On Thursday afternoon between the hours of 3 and 5 a gold watch and other property belonging to a Mrs. Tegg stopping at the hotel was stolen from room No. 10., the thief appears to have taken the opportunity of walking up stairs and of ransacking the drawers in the room without being perceived. There have been during the last week several other robberies in the Town, and it is hoped the parties will soon be in custody.


From the Maidstone Telegraph, Rochester and Chatham Gazette, 14 December 1861.

Amateur Musical Party.

We are glad to learn that a new musical society has been established at the "Bell Hotel," to meet during the winter months. The members meet at 8:30 and separate at 11 o'clock. The first meeting was held during the last week under the presidency of Mr. Muruss, the very worthy and obliging host. There are upwards of 50 gentlemen present, and the evening was spent in great hilarity. Mr. Gibson presided at the pianoforte with his accustomed taste. On Wednesday last the meeting was again well attended.




FURMINGER John 1861-62+ (age 47 in 1861Census)

PEARCH Henry 1867-74+ (age 65 in 1871Census) Post Office Directory 1867

AVARD William 1881-82+ (also Farmer age 40 in 1881Census) ("Blue Door")

STIFF James Stone 1882+

REEVES William 1891+ (age 35 in 1891Census) ("Blue Door")

SPINK William 1903+ Kelly's 1903

BICKLEY Richard 1913+

SMITH A Mrs 1918+

CROUCHER William 1919-32 Next pub licensee had



Post Office Directory 1867From the Post Office Directory 1867

Kelly's 1903From the Kelly's Directory 1903


If anyone should have any further information, or indeed any pictures or photographs of the above licensed premises, please email:-