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Sort file:- Tunbridge Wells, July, 2020.

Page Updated:- Thursday, 23 July, 2020.

PUB LIST PUBLIC HOUSES Paul Skelton

Earliest 1851

Bridge Hotel

Closed 1930s+

6 Mount Pleasant Road

Royal Tunbridge Wells

Bridge Hotel 1908

Above photo 1908.

 

Also known as the "railway Bridge Hotel."

 

THE HISTORY OF THE BRIDGE HOTEL - MOUNT PLEASANT ROAD

Written By: Edward James Gilbert - Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. 26 January 2014.

The Bridge Hotel, at 6 Mount Pleasant Road, up until the mid- 1880's was referred to as the Bridge Tavern, but afterward became known as the Bridge Hotel. It was never listed among the principal hotels of the town in any local trade directories, despite its size and convenient location across the street from the SER train station. Being so close to the railway station certainly helped the business due to the large number of visitors arriving in the town by train since the railway arrived in 1845. The hotel appealed to business travellers and others who could not afford the higher rates charged by the principal hotels. The hotel derived its name from the bridge at the junction of High Street, Vale Road, Goods Station Road and Mount Pleasant Road.

A review of directories shows that it did not exist before 1850 but appears in the 1851 census and the 1858 Melville Directory under “John Apps, Bridge Tavern, High Street”. John Apps was still the proprietor in 1862. In the 1870's his son John Edward Apps took over and the 1874 directory listed him at the Bridge Tavern as” John Edward Apps, corn dealer and farmer. “John Apps senor had died at the Bridge Tavern in 1870 and his son John Edward Apps died there in 1877.

By 1881 Jeffery Mercer was listed as the innkeeper. The 1882 directory gave the listing “ Jeffrey Mercer, Railway Inn, Goods Station Road & the Bridge Tavern, Mount Pleasant Road”. At this time the Railway Inn was located on the north east corner of Goods Station Road and Mount Pleasant Road. It survived until 1911 when the Weeks department store bought the premises and demolished to make way for the expansion of their shop.

John Corner was in charge of the tavern by 1891. The 1899 and 1903 Kelly directories gave Robert Reeves as the proprietor.

By 1911 the hotel was being run by Thomas Stephen Newell, who was still there in 1913. Others who ran the hotel were Frederick William Freeman (1922); Philip Alan(1930) and then James Lee in 1934.

In the mid 1930's the Bridge Hotel was demolished to make way for the expansion of the Weeks department store, which by 1938 occupied the entire corner, consisting of 1,2,3,4,5,6,8, and 10 Mount Pleasant Road, and 1,3,5,7, and 9 Grove Hill Road. For details about the Weeks family and business see my article ‘The Weeks Store-Tunbridge Wells' dated September 6, 2011.

THE LICENSED VICTUALLERS

(1) JOHN APPS. John was born 1809 in Brenchley, Kent and was baptised at Brenchley on September 3,1809. He was one of several children born to John Apps and Ann Pattenden. John Married Susannah who was born in Southborough in 1812 and with her had eight children, among which was a son John Edward Apps (1841-1877) who later took over the operation of the Bridge Tavern from his father. The 1851 census, taken at Mount Pleasant Terrace recorded John Apps as the innkeeper of the Bridge Tavern. Living with him was his wife Susannah and eight children. The 1861 census, taken at the Bridge Tavern recorded John and his wife and four children, plus three servants and two visitors. His wife Susannah died at the Bridge Tavern in 1864. Probate records show that John Apps died at the Bridge Tavern August 28, 1870. The executors of his under 8,000 estate was Thomas Edwin Stevenson, rate collector and John Edward Apps, son, innkeeper of the Bridge Tavern.

(2) JOHN EDWARD APPS. John was the son of John Apps (1809-1870) and Susannah Apps (1812-1864). John had been born in Tunbridge Wells in 1841 and was living with his parents at the Bridge Tavern at the time of the 1851 census. The 1861 census, taken in Mayfield, Sussex listed John working as an apprentice in the drapers business. On April 27, 1867 he married Mary Ann Crowhurst (1839-1909) at Southwark, Middlesex. Mary Ann had been born September 7,1839 at Withyham, Sussex, one of five children born to William Crowhurst (1813-1864) and Mary Crowhurst (1819-1864). Before the marriage she was living with her parents in Withyham. John and his wife had six children, all born in Tunbridge Wells between 1867 and 1874. Mary Ann died 1909 in Dover. The 1871 census, taken at the Bridge Tavern recorded John Edward Apps as the innkeeper. Living with him was his wife, three of his children, his stepbrother, one barmaid and one domestic servant. Probate records gave John Edward Apps late of the Bridge Tavern, innkeeper, who died May 26, 1877 at the Bridge Tavern. The executors of his 800 pound estate was his wife and James Young of the ‘Wiltshire Arms'. John was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery June 1, 1877.

(3) JEFFERY MERCER. Jeffery had been born November 17, 1832 at Goudhurst, Kent. At the time of the 1851 census, taken at Goudhurst Jeffery was working as an agricultural labourer on a farm run by the Amsden family. In 1856 he married Jane Brackfield (1835-1885) and with her had two children between 1853 and 1857. Jane had been born 1835 in Goudhurst and was one of four children born to Thomas Brackfield (1804-1855) and Elizabeth Linbridge (1803-1870). The 1861 census, taken at Goudhurst recorded Jeffery as an agricultural labourer and with him was his wife Jane and two children. The 1871 census, taken at Eden Green in Goudhurst gave Jeffery as a beerhouse keeper. With him was his wife Jane, his son George and one lodger. The 1881 census, taken at the Bridge Tavern in Tunbridge Wells listed Jeffery as the innkeeper. Living with him was his wife Jane and one barmaid. The 1891 census, taken at 18 Grove Hill Road, Tunbridge Wells listed Jeffery as a widower and licensed victualler. With him was an adopted daughter, three lodgers and one servant. In 1903 he married Jane Mary Kemp, born in Frant in 1845 but had not children with her. The 1911 census, taken at Catsfield, Sussex listed Jeffery as a farmer. With him was his second wife and the family were living in 7 rooms. Jeffery died at Goudhurst in the 3rd quarter of 1919.

(4) JOHN CORNER. John was recorded at the Bridge Tavern/Hotel in the 1891 census. John was born 1829 in Lewes, Sussex and was one of several children born to William and Lucy Corner. At the time of the 1851 census, John was working as a grocers assistant on the High Street at St Thomas in the Cliffe, Lewes, Sussex and was at the same place doing the same job at the time of the 1861 census. On July 15, 1868 he married Jane Ann Amelia Friend (1845-1900) and with her had eight children between 1870 and 1889. He was working as a grocers assistant when the 1871 census was taken at 9 Market Street in Lewes, Sussex. By 1881 he and his family moved to Tunbridge Wells and at the time of the 1881 census he was at 2 High Street working as a refreshment house keeper. With him was his wife Jane; 4 children, one waiter, two lodgers and four servants. He left this position to take over the Bridge Tavern at 6 Mount Pleasant Road and is found there in the 1891 census as a licensed victualler. With him at that time was his wife Jane and five of their children. By the time of the 1901 census he had become the licensed victualler of the Castle Hotel on London Road. John was a widow by this time and living with him was five of his children and a boarder. John died at the Castle Hotel May 3, 1901 and was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery. Probate records show he left an estate valued at 1,511 and the executors of his estate were his sons William Alfred Corner, a boat builder and Frederick Ernest Corner, an auctioneers clerk.

(5) ROBERT REEVES. Robert was listed at the Bridge Hotel in the 1899 and 1901 directories. He was born 1854 in Kemsing, Kent and was one of several children born to Thomas and Mary Reeves of Kemsing. Robert was baptised at Kemsing March 26, 1853. At the time of the 1861 census he was living with his parents (his father was an agricultural worker) along with four siblings and some farm workers. The 1871 census, taken on Church Lane in Seal, Kent recorded Thomas as an agricultural worker with is two sons Robert and Frederick. In 1874 Robert married Jane Packham, who had been born in Sevenoaks, Kent in 1854. He and his wife had seven children between 1876 and 1890. By 1891 he and his family had moved to Tunbridge Wells and were found in the 1891 census at 66 High Street where Robert was a beerhouse keeper. With him was his wife Jane, seven children, a nursemaid and one domestic servant. The 1901 census, taken at the Bridge Hotel gave Robert as the licensed victualler. With him was his wife Jane, three of his children, two visitors and six others, being servants and hotel staff. The 1911 census, taken at the Harp Hotel on St Johns Road, Tunbridge Wells gave Robert as the licensed victualler. With him was his wife Jane, a barmaid and a barman. The census recorded that the premises consisted of five rooms and that they had been married 38 years. Of their 10 children only 6 had survived. What became of Robert after 1911 was not determined.

(6) THOMAS STEPHEN NEWELL. Thomas was recorded at the Bridge Hotel in the 1911 census and the 1913 Kelly directory. He had been born 1857 at Brentford, Middlesex, one of four children born to James Newell (born 1829 and died before 1871), who in 1961 was a bailiff, and Anne Fullalove, born 1827. In 1861 he was living with his parents and two siblings at Blouch End Hill in Hornsey, Middles. On December 2, 1866 he was baptised at Southwark Christ Church. In 1871 he was living with his widowed mother who was a shopkeeper. Also present was three of his siblings and one servant. Thomas at this time was working as an errand boy. The 1881 census, taken at 3 Seven Sisters Road in Tottenham, Middlesex recorded his mother as the head of the household and working as a china dealer. Also present was Thomas and his siblings where were all assisting their mother in the business. The 1891 census, taken at New Brentford, Middlesex, gave Thomas as the manager of his mother's glass and china business. On August 5, 1895 Thomas married Louisa Fabian (1861-1953) at St Andrew Holborn, and with her had seven children between 1891 and 1901. Louisa had been born in the 3rd qtr of 1861 at Walworth, Surrey and was one of seven children born to William Fabian (1834-1901) and Eliza Jane Elliott(1837-1922). In 1901 the family was living at Surbiton, Surrey where Thomas was a glass merchant. With him was his wife Louisa and three of their children. By 1911 they had moved to Tunbridge Wells. The 1911 census, taken at the Bridge Hotel gave Thomas as the hotel proprietor and with him was his wife Louisa, four children, five visitors, four servants and three assistants. The census recorded that the four children they had up to that time were all living. Probate records gave him of 55 St Aubyn's House in Sussex when he died January 2,1918. His wife Louisa was the executor of his 7,728 estate.

(7) THE OTHERS. No definitive information was obtained for those who ran the Bridge Hotel after 1913 except for their names and year of record, which I gave at the top of this article.

 

South Eastern Gazette, Tuesday 29 April 1851.

Mr. Foreman, of Tunbridge Wells, appeared on the behalf of Mr. Chittenden, for a licence to a very respectable house at Tunbridge Wells, called the "Kentish Yeoman." The Bench would recollect that at the last annual licensing day, Mr. Apps, the then tenant, in consequence of a scheme of his own, by which he expected to assign a licence for another house, which he also held as a beer shop, was directed to elect which house he would apply for; he chose his own, which eventually went off on some informality; a licence to the "Kentish Yeoman" was therefore gone, and the house almost valueless. The house was well adapted for business, in a good public thoroughfare near the railway station; it had good stabling, &c; he hoped the Bench would grant the licence; according to the 14th section of the act they had ample power given them to remedy the omission caused by Mr. Apps, in neglecting to apply for this license.

Mr. Crisp appeared for Mr. Apps, and requested the bench to allow the application to stand over till the next annual licensing day. Mr. Apps had applied for two years, but the Bench did not grant the licence in consequence of his living at the "Kentish Yeoman," which he was compelled to leave, not being able to get a living.

Mr. Foreman said this licence would have been applied for at the last annual licensing day, if it had not been for that exceedingly unfair conduct of Mr. Apps, which he was sorry to say had been very bad throughout.

Licence granted.

 

Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser, 03 September 1870.

Death of Mr. Apps.

The Death of Mr John Apps took place on Sunday morning after several months' illness. The deceased, who has been for over 20 years landlord of the "Railway Bridge Tavern," and for some years previously of the "Kentish Yeoman," was also a farmer, and was well known some few years ago throughout Kent and Sussex as an extensive dealer in hops. In politics he was a staunch Conservative, and was universally respected both as an agriculturalist and innkeeper. The "Bridge Tavern" will, we understand be carried on by the deceased's son, Mr Edward Apps.

 

Maidstone Telegraph, Saturday 10 September 1870.

Death of Mr. Apps.

The Death of Mr. John Apps took place on the 28th ult., after several months' illness. The deceased, who has been for over 20 years landlord of the "Railway Bridge Tavern," and for some years previously of the "Kentish Yeoman," was also a farmer, and was well known some few years ago throughout Kent and Sussex as an extensive dealer in hops. In politics he was a staunch Conservative, and was universally respected both as an agriculturalist and innkeeper. The "Bridge Tavern" will, we understand, be carried on by
the deceased's son, Mr. Edward Apps.

 

From the Kent and Sussex Courier, 15 January, 1915.

BRIDGE HOTEL LICENSE TRANSFERRED.

The license of the "Bridge Hotel" was temporarily transferred from Mr. T. S. Newell to Mr. W. F. Freman (of Cricklewood).

 

LICENSEE LIST

Last pub licensee had APPS John Edward 1850-Sept/70 dec'd (also corn dealer & farmer age 41 in 1851Census) Kent and Sussex Courier

APPS John Edward Sept/1870-77 dec'd

MERCER Jeffrey 1881+ (age 48 in 1881Census) Next pub licensee had

CORNER John 1891+ (age 62 in 1891Census)

NEWELL Thomas Stephen 1913-Jan/15

FREEMAN Frederick William Jan/1915-18+

BROWNING Arthur 1922+

SIMPSON Philip Alan 1930+

https://pubwiki.co.uk/BridgeHotel.shtml

http://theweald.org/P2.asp?PId=TW.BrdgeT

http://www.closedpubs.co.uk/bridgehotel.html

 

Kent and Sussex CourierKent and Sussex Courier

CensusCensus

 

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

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