DOVER KENT ARCHIVES

Sort file:- Sheerness, April, 2024.

Page Updated:- Tuesday, 02 April, 2024.

PUB LIST PUBLIC HOUSES Paul Skelton

Earliest 1700

(Royal) Fountain Hotel

Closed 1982

15 West Street

Blue Town

Sheerness

Fountain Hotel 1830

Above print circa 1830.

Fountain Hotel print 1830

Above print, 1830.

Fountain Hotel 1830

Above coloured print of above, 1830, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Royal Fountain Hotel print 1937

Above print, by H Moses, 1837.

Fountain Hotel

Above photo showing a naval march, date unknown. Taken from http://www.pbase.com

Royal Fountain Hotel 1940s

Above photo, 1940s.

Fountain Hotel 1970

Above photo, circa 1970, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Fountain Hotel bar 1970

Above photo, circa 1970, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Fountain Hotel inside 1970

Above photo, circa 1970, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

The building on the left showing Shepherd Neame I am told is the "Royal Fountain." Photo kindly supplied by Joan Thompson. The "Jolly Sailor" is shown on the right.

Royal Fountain Hotel 1980s

Above photo showing the premises shortly after it was converted into flats in the 1980s.

Royal Fountain Hotel 2009

Above image from Google, May 2009.

Fountain sign 1948

Above picture circa 1948, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Printed on the back of this it says "The Trust House of this sign is the Royal Fountain, Sheerness, Kent. Trust House Ltd., 53, Short's Gardens, London. WC2."

 

According to Michael David Mirams in his book "Kent Inns and Inn Signs,"  an old Fountain once stood opposite the dockyard gates at Blue Town, Sheerness.

There is reference to a Fountain Hotel in Bluetown in 1802, and others dating back to the 1700s, so I believe this was not the first Hotel in the area with that name. In fact a document found from 1833 says these building were newly built for a cost of 6,000 about 25 years past making that about 1808.

According to Kent's Pubs and Inns by G. Weaver (Published in 1977), the book says that "The Royal Fountain was built in 1700 and started life as a coaching inn".

This building however, was constructed in 1806 by George Clarkson, and it is rumoured that Lord Nelson stayed here one night inspecting the efficiency of his dockyard before sailing away. Both George and his wife died in 1812, but I believe his son continued to run the hotel.

The Fountain Hotel was where the body of James Anthony Higho  was taken after he drowned whilst bathing on a day trip to Sheerness. It's also where they held the inquest in July 1850 with the jury recommending that a fence be erected around the creek where he'd died.

Part of the building was built by Shepherd Neame in 1866. The building is now Grade II listed.

Previous to the building being erected the land was described in 1791 as 'part of a piece or parcel of pasture or fresh marshland containing by estimation four acres more or less heretofore in the tenure of Henry Lee.'

During the late 1990s the Fountain was a "drugs den", the Police raid made the South-east T.V. news. More recently, Aug 2010, the ground floor flat was badly damaged in a fire. I, Paul Skelton, was actually passing it just before fire was discovered and the police contacted me, knowing that my van was in the area, asking whether I had seen anything suspicious. Unfortunately I was unable to help, and knew nothing of the fire till the next day, when the roads were cordoned off. I was a teacher of technology at the nearby Oasis Academy at the time.

 

Kentish Gazette, 12 December, 1806.

FOUNTAIN INN, SHEERNESS.

GORGE CLARKSON (late of the "Marlbro’ Head Inn") returns his most grateful acknowledgments to his friends, and the public in general, for the very liberal support he has so long received, and begs leave to inform them, he has, at a very considerable expense, built the "Fountain Inn," near the New Pier, Sheerness, which is a roomy commodious, and elegant house, superbly furnished with upwards of sixty beds, and every other article of furniture entirely new; and is now ready for the reception of Gentlemen and Families, who may please to honour him with their company. The "Fountain Inn" is situated to command views of the river Thames and Medway, the Noret, South-End, and all the surrounding country.

G. C. having purchased a large stock of choice old Wine, with the very best Liquors, hopes, by every attention in his power, to merit a continuance of their favours.

N. B. Good Stall Stabling, &c. &c.

Packets from Chatham to Sheerness, and back, every tide, at One Shilling expense.

5th Nov. 1806.

 

Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal. 19 December 1806.

FOUNTAIN INN, SHEERNESS.

George Clarkson (late of the "Marlbro’ Head Inn") returns his most grateful acknowledgements to his friends, and the public in general, for the very liberal support he has so long received; and begs leave to inform them, he has, at a very considerable expense, built the "Fountain Inn," near the New Pier, Sheerness, which is a roomy, commodious, and elegant house, superbly furnished with upwards of fifty beds, and every other article of furniture entirely new: and is now ready for the reception of Gentlemen and Families, who may please to honor him with their company. The Fountain Inn is situated to command views of the rivers Thames and Medway, the Nore, South-End, and all the surrounding country.

G.C. having purchased a large stock of choice old Wines, with the very best Liquors, hopes, by every attention in his power, to merit a continuance of their favors.

N.B.—Good Stall Stabling, &c. &c.

Packets from Chatham to Sheerness, and back, every tide, at one Shilling expense.

 

The Morning Post (London, England), Tuesday, 10 October, 1826.

DREADFUL FIRE AT SHEERNESS.

On Friday morning, about half-past four o'clock, the inhabitants of Blue Town were alarmed, and thrown into the greatest confusion, by a fire breaking out with tremendous violence in the stables belonging to Mr. Clarkson, of the "Fountain Inn." Assistance was promptly rendered, but the flames had acquired such powerful force, that before they could be subdued, no less than ten dwelling-houses became the prey of the devouring element, together with the whole of the stabling and coach-houses, including five horses, a coach, hearse, post-chaise, gig. and all their harness, &c. which were entirely consumed. The Officers and men of his Majesty's ships Brunel and Gloucester, as well as those front the Dock-yard, exerted themselves in the most praiseworthy manner, and happily succeeded, with the engine belonging to the Naval Establishments, in arresting the progress of the calamity, or the consequences might have proved dreadful in the extreme; as it is, there is evidently too touch to deplore. We have not heard to what extent, if any, insurances may have been effected on the property destroyed ; but by the destruction of the dwellings, several poor families are deprived of their little all, having barely had time to escape with their lives ; their situation, it is sincerely to be hoped, will not fail to excite commiseration in the hearts of the affluent.

 

The Standard (London, England), Friday 3 August, 1827; pg. (1) Issue 65.

EXTENSIVE FIRE AT SHEERNESS.

In yesterday's paper, there was a paragraph stating that a destructive conflagration had broken out at Sheerness. The following particulars of this distressing calamity have been since communicates by a gentleman from Sheerness:- It appears that on Monday night, between the hours of 11 and 12, a fire broke out in a small house adjoining the "Fountain Tavern," opposite to the dock-yard, in the Old Town. At the time above stated the flames were first discovered by a watchman, who is stationed at the entrance to the dock-yard, and who immediately gave the alarm. A scene of great confusion ensued, and such was the rapidity with which the flames spread, that the inmates of the house in which they broke out had scarcely any time to quit the premises; indeed, one little girl belonging to the family is said to have fallen a victim to the fire, as nothing has been heard of her since the night in question, and she having slept in one of the attics, not a doubt can be entertained of her having perished. For a considerable time it was apprehended that the "Fountain Tavern" would fall prey to the flames, and the whole of the persons who were residing there were compelled to make their egress as speedily as possible. The household furniture and effects were removed from the premises. At this time most of the men from the dock-yard were on the spot, and rendered every assistance in their power; but we regret to say that, owing to its being low tide at the time, for upwards of an hour and a half no water could be procured. On account of this circumstance the flames spread rapidly, and great fears were for a long time entertained that the whole of this part of the town would be consumed. There were now present from fifteen to twenty engines, some of which, from the indefatigable exertions of the firemen, were able to play with effect. Some of the most respectable of the towns' people hastened to the spot, and used their utmost exertions to arrest the progress of the evil; but for a considerable time their efforts were in vain, except as to the humane assistance which they afforded to the persons who were thus calamitously deprived of their homes. By two o'clock in the morning the whole of one side of the street, consisting of 23 houses, was entirely destroyed; still not the slightest probability appeared of subduing the fire. Nothing could exceed the consternation of the inhabitants of the town at this moment. They had all risen from their beds, and many of them appeared in the streets almost naked. The flames continued to rage; and, notwithstanding the united efforts of the firemen and the inhabitants, who had crowded to the spot, the fire was not completely subdued until between seven and eight o'clock on Tuesday morning, when no less (says an informant) than 62 houses were consumed.

The description of property lost was chiefly what is termed "slops and marine stores," and it is gratifying to be informed, that much of this was insured; but as all the houses were inhabited by a class of persons among whom a neglect of insurance is a common failing. there is reason to fear that some of the occupiers, at least, must have been sufferers to the extent of their little all. The rapidity with which the flames spread may be entirely attributed to the want of water, and to the material (wood) of which most of the houses were composed.

 

From the Maidstone Gazette and East Kent Courier, 7 August, 1827.

Dreadful fire at Sheerness.

On Tuesday evening, a dreadful and most destructive fire broke out at Sheerness, and the consequences have been most calamitous, a large part of Blue Town having fallen prey to the devouring element. The fire broke out in the premises of Mr. Clark, and from the combustible nature of the houses, being principally built of wood, they continue to ignite one after the other until forty-five dwellings were burnt down.

The flames were first discovered by a watchmen, who is stationed at the entrance to the dock-gate, and who immediately gave the alarm. A scene of great confusion ensued, and such was the rapidity with which the flames spread, that the inmates of the house in which they broke out had scarcely time to quit the premises. For a considerable time it was apprehended that the "Fountain Tavern" would fall a prey to the flames, and the whole of the persons who were residing there were compelled to make their escape as speedily as possible. The household furniture and effects were removed from the premises. At this time most of the men from the dockyard were on the spot, and rendered every assistance in their power; but we regret to say that, owing to its being low tide at the time, for upwards of an hour and a half no water could be procured. On account of this circumstance the flame spread rapidly, and great fears were for a long time entertained that the whole of this part of the town would be consumed. There were now present from 15 to 20 engines, some of which, from the indefatigable exertions of the fireman, were able to play with effect. Some of the most respectable of the townspeople hastened to the spot, and used their utmost excursions to arrest the progress of the evil; but for a considerable time their efforts were in vain, except as to the humane assistance which they afforded to the persons who were thus calamitously deprived of their homes.

By 2 o'clock in the morning, the whole of one side of the street, consisting of 23 houses, was razed to the ground, and still no probability of the fire being subdued.

Nothing can exceed the consternation of the inhabitants of the town, the whole of them were driven from their beds, the majority of them being nearly in a state of nudity; but not withstanding the united exertions of the fireman and townspeople, the fire was not got under until between 7 and 8 o'clock on Wednesday morning, when no less than 62 houses were consumed. The description of property lost was mainly what are termed "Slops," or fitting out warehouses for sailors. Several of the firemen and others received some serious injuries.

 

From a publication dated 1833.

The Fountain Inn, at Sheerness.

MR. MUSGROVE is authorized to SELL by PUBLIC AUCTION, at the Auction Mart, on Thursday, October 17, at 12, in 1 Lot, without reserve, a valuable and important FREEHOLD ESTATE, comprehending those extensive premises known as the "Fountain Hotel," Tavern, and Wine-vaults, with a very lucrative tap adjoining, most eligibly situate, contiguous to the pier at Sheerness, in the Isle of Sheppy, in the county of Kent. This desirable freehold property was erected by the vender’s father about 25 years ago, at a cost of nearly 6,000. The buildings are now in perfect repairs the interior arrangements are of a superior order, and well adapted to the conducting with facility a first-rate business. Considering the beneficial Government alterations in the neighbourhood, together with the liberal spirit lately manifested by the inhabitants to obtain a cheap and expeditious conveyance to and from London daily, the establishment of gas, the erection of a new church, and other local improvements, added to the delightful scenery of the Isle of Sheppy, it may be reasonably anticipated that Sheerness will ultimately become a favourite watering-place. The present returns are considerable, and have been progressively increasing for the last few years. Every change of the Government shipping in this district adds materially to the business, and in time of war the property produced a clear rent of 800 a year. Printed descriptive particulars may be obtained at the house; the "Ship," Chatham; "Crown inn," Rochester; "Royal hotel," Southend; "Pier hotel," Gravesend; of Mr. Ashley, solicitor, Old-street-road; and at Mr. Musgrove’s offices, 5, Austinfriars, Old Broad-street, London.

 

South Eastern Gazette 31 December 1833.

DIED.

Dec. 28, at Blue Town, Sheerness, Elizabeth, wife of Mr. Clarkson, of the "Fountain Inn."
 

South Eastern Gazette 29 November 1836.

DEATHS

Of a consumption, Mr. William Norly, of the "Fountain Tap."

 

Dover Chronicles 30 January 1847.

Sheerness.

On the 20th inst., an inquest was held at the "Fountain Inn," before Mr. Hinde, on the body of Thomas Bowes, age 22 years, belonging to the Britannia smack, of Milton, who was drowned the night before, at the pier.

It was conjectured that the deceased, going down to his boat, slipped off the side of the pier, and although the water was not more than 3 or 4 feet deep at this spot, he sank before assistance could reach him.

Verdict:- "Accidentally drowned."

 

Sheerness Guardian 1 January 1859.

“FOUNTAIN” NAVAL AND COMMERCIAL HOTEL, (opposite the Pier,) SHEERNESS. R. POTT,

BEGS to intimate to his Friends and the Public generally, that the greater part of the alterations on his premises having been completed, securing thereby a greater facility for business, he is prepared to supply Families and private individuals with GENUINE WINES, SPIRITS, & LIQUORS, of every kind, at prices that will stand comparison with any house in the trade.

At this Hotel every comfort will be found, combined with the strictest attention and economy.

Am excellent Billiard Table with First-rate accommodation.

 

Sheerness Guardian 1 October 1859.

Local Intelligence.

Throwing Night Soil Over The Pier.

The following case was heard last week at Rochester.

George Pollard, a town carter, was charged, on the information of Mr. J. Beal, surveyor to the commissioners of Sheerness-pier, with having thrown a quantity of night soil into the river Medway at Sheerness pier. Mr. R. Prail, junr, appeared for the defendant.

Job Mummery, a night watchman at the Sheerness railway station, stated that about one o’clock on the morning of the 14th July, he saw the defendant approach the pier from the "Fountain," and throw about twelve or fourteen buckets of night soil into the river. The tide was then ebbing.

Cross-examined by Mr. Prail:— The commissioners of the pier had instructed him to look out to see what nuisances were emptied over the pier. Defendant came from behind the "Fountain" tavern.

Mr. Prail said the evidence of the complainant was unsupported. Several witnesses would be called to prove that the defendant was not in Sheerness at the time, but in London, and that three months ago defendant discontinued his business of a nightman and disposed of it to his son. He therefore trusted the magistrates would dismiss the summons and award the costs, as the defendant had been summoned before the Sittingbourne magistrates for this offence, but the summons was dismissed, as there was no jurisdiction.

William Pyle, John Mills and John Hughes, were then called in support of Mr. Prail’s statement. Mills, who is a licensed victualler, and formerly kept the "Fortune of War," gave, as a reason for remembering the date, that on that day he had ordered a quantity of porter from Meux’s stores, he produced the permits of the porter delivered, and said he was quite prepared to swear that the permit of the 14th was that on which the defendant went with him to Woolwich.

Mr. Coles after examining the note, said to him it appeared as if the date had been altered.

Witness said he had not altered it, nor was he aware that any one else had.

Mr. Levy said the note would remain with the magistrates, and the counterfoil at Meux’s would be examined, to see if the dates corresponded.

Mr. Coles:— Because if the date has been altered perjury has been committed.

The magistrates, after deliberating some time, dismissed the case, but refused to allow the defendant the costs.

[With reference to the evidence of Mills, reported above, Mr. Coles called the attention of the bench to it; he had no doubt perjury had been committed, the figures on the document produced in court having been altered. The other members of the bench expressed the same opinion, and directed the altered delivery note to be impounded, with a view to other proceedings being taken.]

 

Sheerness Guardian, 7 January, 1860.

‘FOUNTAIN’ NAVAL AND COMMERCIAL HOTEL, (Opposite the Pier, Sheerness.)

R. POTT, RESPECTFULLY begs to inform the Gentry, Visitors, and Inhabitants of Sheerness, and the Isle of Sheppey. that he has now completed the alterations in his Establishment, securing thereby greater facilities for business and comfort for visitors. He is now prepared to supply Families and individuals with GENUINE WINES, SPIRITS, &c., Of every description.

At this Hotel, will he found every comfort, combined with the greatest attention and economy.

 

Sheerness Guardian, 25 February, 1860.

POLICE CASES.

When Gladstone, was charged by Sergeant Ovenden, with being a disorderly prostitute and breaking a window at the "Fountain Hotel," Sheerness, between the hours of 11 and 12 o'clock on the night of the 14th instant. The charge being fully proved, the magistrate sentenced her to be imprisoned and kept to hard labour for 21 days with an intimation that she would be dealt with still more severely if again brought before him.

 

Sheerness Guardian, 14 April, 1860.

Police Cask.

(Before Edward Twopenny, Esq., at Sittingbourne, Monday April 9th, 1860).

Sarah Baker, an ex-nymph of the pave, who stated that she now lived under the protection of a Royal Marine, was charged with wilfully breaking a plate glass window, at the "Fountain Hotel," thereby committing damage to the amount of 18s. on Saturday afternoon on the 7th of April, 1860.

It appeared from the evidence that the prisoner and another woman, named Keating, went into the bar at the "Fountain Hotel," on the afternoon in question, and as the proprietor would rather have their room than their company, they were ordered to leave, and were ultimately turned out by a young man named Munday, in the employ of Mr. Pott. The prisoner resisted and an she was being pushed out at the door, she broke the window, by wilfully knocking her head against it.

Ordered to pay 1 16s 6d; damages, costs and penalty included, or be committed to prison.

Prisoner agreed to pay in a fortnight.

 

South Eastern Gazette, 19 June, 1860.

DEATH.

On the 11th inst., Mr. George Clarkson, of the "Bell and Lion Inn," Mile Town, for many years landlord of the "Fountain Hotel," Blue Town, aged. 68.

 

Sheerness Guardian, 17 November, 1860.

George Alexander, a stoker in the Steam Reserve at Sheerness Harbour, was brought up before E. Twopenny, Esq., on Wednesday, in charge of Sergeant Ovenden, for having on the previous night committed wilful damage to the amount of 30s. At the "Fountain Inn Tap," whilst in a state of intoxication. From the evidence of the prosecutor, it appeared that the prisoner went to the housing question in a state of inebriety and after calling for a pint of ale, began to quarrel with a Marine who was present, which ensued in the prisoner making a furious onslaught upon him. The prosecutor ejected him from the premises when he became excessively violent and smashed the shutters and windows of the front door, doing damage to the amount specified. He was then given into custody. The evidence was corroborated by Mr. J. Jeffries and the charge fully substantiated. After a suitable reproof from the Bench, the prisoner was fined 2 10s. including costs, or in default, to be committed for three weeks.

 

From the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, Saturday 12 January, 1867. Price 1d.

Michael Phair, a seaman belonging to H.M. Lizard, lying at Sheerness, pleaded guilty to a charge of assaulting Mr. A. W. Howe, of the “Fountain Hotel,” Sheerness.

Fined 3 9s. including costs, in default six weeks hard labour.

 

From the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, Saturday 19 January, 1867. Price 1d.

SITTLNGBOURNE. PETTY SESSIONS. Monday.

(Before J. D. Dyke, Esq.)

Henry Fenton, a "gentleman” who declined to give his address, was charged with stealing two leather bags, with their contents, from the “Fountain Hotel,” Sheerness, on the 11th inst.

George Sydney Carver, a commercial traveller, said:—I live at No. 6, Biggerton Terrace, Maitland Park, Haverstock Hill. On the 11th inst. I went to the “Fountain Hotel,” Sheerness. I had a feather bag containing wearing apparel, and a case containing samples of tobacco. I placed them in the hall of the “Fountain,” where luggage is usually placed. I saw them safe a little after 5. About half-past six I missed them and gave information to the police. The leather bag now produced, and which contained 9 pocket handkerchiefs, 4 pairs of socks, two shirts, one pair of drawers, one box of collars, one cap, one clothes brush, two hair brushes, two pieces of soap, one box of scent, one meerchaum pipe and case, and one account book is the one I lost, as is also the leather case containing ten canisters of tobacco (with about a quarter of a pound of in each). The prisoner is an entire stranger to me. The bag has been searched, and a scent bottle containing benzine is missing. Paper was torn off some of the things. The lock was not broken.

Eliza Howe, said:- I reside with my father, who keeps the “Fountain Hotel,” Sheerness. I saw the prisoner come into our house about five o'clock in the afternoon, of Friday, the 11th January. I asked if he wanted a bed, and be said, “Yes.” He asked where the coffee-room was, and I showed him in. He had the leather bag now produced in his hand, and took it into the coffee-room with him. He had some gin and water, which the waiter took in, and I did not see him afterwards. I am sure that was the bag prisoner took into the coffee-room with him.

Henry Kent, a guard on the Sheemess branch of the London, Chatham, and Dover Railway stated:- The prisoner was a passenger by the 7.40 train from Sheerness on the 11th January inst. I saw him cross under the line at Sittingbourne for the up platform. He had the black leather bag and leather case now produced in his hands. I detained him, and handed him over to Sergt. Noakes.

Prisoner, when asked if he had anything to say, stated as follows:- “I admit taking the bags, I plead guilty to that, but I was stupid with drink at the time. I left my own bag behind me at the Hotel. I did not take the bag here in the coffee-room. It was my own bag.”

Committed for trial at the next Quarter Sessions.

 

Kentish Gazette, Tuesday 5 February 1867.

Sheerness. Sudden Deaths.

On Tuesday an inquest was held at the "Fountain Hotel," on the body of John Sosby, aged 53, of Blue Town. It appeared that deceased, when drunk, fell down stairs and cut his head, but did not injure the skull. He went to bed, and talked quite rationally, but shortly afterwards turned over on his side and appeared to be going to sleep; before a medical man could be called he expired. Mr. Stride, surgeon, on his arrival stated that deceased died from disease of the heart, accelerated by the fall.

Verdict accordingly.

 

From the East Kent Gazette, Saturday, 9 March, 1867.

Hotel Robbery at Sheerness.

Henry Fenton, 32, engineer, a man of respectable appearance and deportment, pleaded guilty to stealing a leather bag and a number of articles, value in all, 5, the property of George Sydney Carver, from the "Fountain Hotel," at Sheerness, on the 11th of January.

Mr. Biron had been instructed to prosecute, and he made a short statement of the facts.

From this it would appear that a number of things, the property of a commercial traveller, was stolen from the above hotel. When apprehended prisoner had what he called a skeleton portmanteau, which is very commonly used by hotel robbers for the carrying off of property; and he also had two bladders, which it appeared were used when distended to put in the bag to make it look as if he had luggage inside.

Prisoner said he had a witness to character, but on his name being called no answer was returned.

He said it was his first offence, and having given the Court no trouble by pleading guilty he hoped his Honour would be lenient with him.

The Chairman, in passing sentence, said the crime was one of considerable magnitude, and prisoner was committed for 9 months' hard labour.

 

Maidstone Telegraph, Saturday 13 November 1869.

Terrible explosion at Sheerness. Coroner's inquest.

The enquiry into the death of the 11 men who were killed by the explosion of a boiler on board H.M.S. Thistle, on Wednesday last, was opened at the "Fountain Hotel," Blue Town, Sheerness, yesterday (Friday), before Mr. T. Hills, coroner for West Kent, and a respectable jury, over whom Mr. C. Polson was chosen foreman. The Coroner in opening the proceedings, impressed upon the jury the necessity of not listening to the rumours and reports which were afloat in the town regarding the cause of the accident, but to be guided by the scientific evidence which would be brought before them during the course of the inquiry. The eight bodies, which lay beneath the gun battery at the Naval Barracks, viz., Messrs. Roberts, Scorrer, Smithers, and Knight, engineers; John Daer, fitter; Robertson, leading stoker; and John Timson and Lawrence, stokers, were then viewed, after which the whole of the party were conveyed to the Thistle, which lay moored of the dockyard, in two steam launches, which were placed at their disposal by Capt. the Hon. A. A. Cochrane, C.B., and every facility was rendered to the coroner and the jury by the government officials, to further the investigation into the cause of the accident. The engines and the boilers of the ship were inspected, and the hole in the boiler which exploded fully explained to all present. The company then return to shore and viewed the bodies of Messrs. Mason, engine fitter, and Whalebone and Anderson, engineer students, which lay at the Garrison Hospital. On their return to the "Fountain," there were present on behalf of the Admiralty, Mr. Arnold, From the firm of Messrs. Essell, Knight, and Arnold, admitalty solicitors: Mr. Lindsay, from the office of the Lords of the Admiralty; Mr. Murray, the Admiralty surveyor of factories and consulting engineer; and Mr. Wright, the Admiralty engineer.

Mr. Walter Wilson Williamson, chief inspector of machinery at Sheerness, was the first witness examined. He said that he knew nothing of the cause of the accident. He was conducting the trials of the ship at the Maplin Sands on Wednesday, and while on deck to time the runs, he heard a puff about 4.34, and on turning round saw that steam was escaping in a large mass from the engine room. It was his impression at first that one of the steam pipes had burst in the engine room, and he thereupon sent a leading stoker to ease the safety valves, and with the assistance of another stoker the men lashed up the levers of the valves so as to let the steam escape. He then had the large hatch removed from over the engine room and in a few minutes the men went below and brought up on deck the wounded, dying, and dead.

John Edgar, engineer student, the only person alive who was present in the engine room at the time of the accident, said that the ship was about starting on the third mile with her high-pressure engines, when he saw a flash of light or flame issue from out of the stokehole towards the engine room, which he first thought was merely back-draught. He then thought he saw some sort or ashes falling on the engine, and he stooped to avoid it. He then found himself surrounded by steam, and knowing that something was wrong, he sprang up the ladder and reached the deck with only some slight scalds. He could not account for the explosion.

The evidence of Dr. Prescott, R.A., as to the death of the deceased, was then given; and it appeared that no evidence as to the cause of the explosion could be given until a minute examination had been made of the boiler, the Admiralty having directed that nothing should be disturbed until after the inquest, the enquiry was adjourned until Thursday, Mr. Murray promising to have everything ready by then.

The Coroner then granted the necessary certificates for the burial of the deceased, and the enquiry was adjourned till Thursday, when a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

 

LICENSEE LIST

Last pub licensee had CLARKSON George 1806-12 dec'd (also wine and spirit merchant) Pigot's Directory 1828-29Pigot's Directory 1832-34

CLARKSON George jun. 1812-27+ Next pub licensee had

NORLEY William to Nov/1836 dec'd (Fountain Tap)

CLARKSON James 1847+

DAVIS L 1855+

POTT Robert 1858-61+ (age 35 in 1861Census)

HOWE Alfred Whittaker 1862-81+ (age 42 in 1851Census) Whitstable Times

JOHNSON William 1891+ (age 65 in 1901Census)

SINCLAIR John R 1901-02+ (age 65 in 1901Census)

Trust Houses Ltd 1918-40s+ Kelly's 1830

SHEPHERD Alf 1960s

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

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

 

Whitstable TimesWhitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald

Pigot's Directory 1828-29From the Pigot's Directory 1828-29

Pigot's Directory 1832-34From the Pigot's Directory 1832-33-34

Kelly's 1830From the Kelly's Directory 1930

 

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

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