Sort file:- Herne, January, 2023.

Page Updated:- Saturday, 28 January, 2023.


Earliest 1840

King's Head

Closed July 1914

7 King Street

Herne Bay

King's Head 1910

Above photo, circa 1910, kindly sent by Michael Mirams.


Kentish Gazette, 13 May 1851.


The death of an aged woman, named Elizabeth Pressley the wife of a mariner, occasioned by William Marsh, a person living on his independence, and who lodged with her, has created much excitement here. An inquest was held on Wednesday afternoon at the "King's Head Tavern," before T. T. Delasaux, Esq., coroner.

The room was crowded.

The first witness examined was Thomas Scoones, clerk to Messrs. Kingsford and Wightwick, who deposed—that he was at the house of the deceased on Monday last, when she made the deposition hereinafter set forth, in the presence of Wm. Delmur, Esq., one of the justices of the peace acting in and for the county of Kent, and of Thomas Marsh, and that the deposition now produced was the same which was so taken.

"This deponent, Elizabeth Pressley, on her oath, saith as follows:— I am quite aware, from what Dr. Evans has told me, that I am now very dangerously ill, and it is more than likely that I shall never get over the injury. On Saturday afternoon Mr. Marsh (now present) asked me to go to the Bay to Mr. Hammond for a couple of lobsters; I accordingly did so. I returned. There was no quarrel between him and me. he was checking me about what Miss Collard had done for me. Marsh said. "I shouldn't care if Mr. Hammond were to give you 5." I was sweeping up the fire-place. Wm, Marsh was sitting on one side of the fire-place. I asked him to move his foot: he said he wouldn't, with an oath. He got up and gave me a push, and pushed me on the corner of the table, and I fell. Before he did so, I said, "If you don’t leave off your unkindness I will knock you down with the dust-pan upon which he pushed me, and I took the corner of the table in falling to the ground; my side came against the table. I laid on the floor some considerable time. Marsh said he would help me up, and I told him to keep his hands off my garments, if he could not behave better than that. I laid, and after a time got up myself. My husband came in, and I told him what had been done. Mr. Marsh, before my husband came in, said he would go and fetch the doctor, but I refused to let him: he offered to go twice, but I said if he did I would turn the key against him. I hail not had any quarrel with him, but we had been jarring together about presents from Miss Collard. Marsh was not sober; he had been out and having something to drink. There was no one in the house but us two when it happened. My husband was absent an hour alter it happened. Marsh has often pushed me about—three or four times, when he has been cross; he was hot and hasty in manner. He has lodged with us between three and four years. This time he pushed me with all his force.

Cross-examined by prisoner:— You have pushed me about many limes before.

Wm. Evans, surgeon, of Herne Bay, stated that he was sent for on Sunday last, between seven and eight in the morning, and went accordingly, and found the deceased in bed, suffering from excruciating pain in her left side, breathing with difficulty. He examined her side and found two ribs fractured. In the evening of the same day, at about seven o’clock, he again saw her in the presence of Wm. Marsh, and she then stated that the said Wm. Marsh was sitting by the fire-place, and had been checking her about some presents which Miss Collard had given her; that she asked him to move his foot, which he refused to do with an oath, and pushed her, and she said "if you do that again you shall have the dust-pan about your ears and then she was going away from him, when he gave her a blow which knocked her down against the corner of the table, when the said Wm. Marsh said "I did not strike you, but I pushed you." The previous night (Tuesday) the witness made a post mortem examination of the body of the deceased, and found the surface thereof pale—there were no external marks of violence on her body, excepting a slight bruise on her left side, and that on removing the skin he found slight extravasation of blood in the muscles under the bruise. Carefully dissecting the muscles from the ribs, he discovered the 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th ribs fractured—but the 8th was fractured rather in the front part of it, the 9th farther back, the 10th still more so, and the 11th nearer the spine; and that great violence must have been used to have inflicted the injuries above described, and which might have been received in the mode described by the deceased as before stated. He then carefully removed the bones of the chest, and found the left cavity filled with blood and the lung pressed back against the spine, and which was slightly fractured. He also found the 8th rib had perforated the pleura—the 10th rib broken through, the keen edge pressing in and cutting through the intercostal artery, and from which vessel the blood filling the chest had flown, and which was the cause of the death of deceased.

John Salter, constable, deposed:— That on Sunday evening last, he went to the house of the deceased, and asked her, in the presence of William Marsh, whether any person had injured her, and she, pointing to Marsh, said, "That man." Consequently he (Salter) took Marsh into custody, telling him for what he was taken—that he had assaulted Mrs. Pressley, when he replied. "I did it—I am very sorry—I hope she will not die. I was in liquor, or it would not have happened." He (Salter) then asked deceased whether Marsh was sober, and she replied, "He was not—he was in liquor."William Pressley, of Herne, mariner, deposed that deceased was his wife, and with whom he was living. That at about seven o'clock in the evening of Saturday last, he went home and found his wife getting tea ready, and William Marsh standing near the fire; he was at that time the worse for liquor. Witness went out, leaving the deceased and Marsh alone, who were quarrelling, and returned again in about an hour and a half, and found the deceased sitting in a chair with her arms on the table; Marsh then being absent. Witness proposed to go for a doctor, but she declined having one, stating that she thought she would be better in the morning. Witness retired to bed about nine o'clock, leaving the deceased in a lower room, and who came upstairs in about a quarter of an hour and got in bed. She complained of much pain in her left side, and was too unwell to extinguish the candle—she suffered much during the night, but still refused to permit him to go for a doctor. On the following morning, he got up as usual, between seven and eight o'clock in the morning, leaving the deceased in bed, she being too ill to get up; he then went for a surgeon, having first obtained an order from the relieving officer. William Marsh had lodged in his house for three or four years, and was always a very quiet man except when in liquor. The deceased died on Tuesday morning last, between ten and eleven o'clock.

The Coroner, after some further evidence, ably summed up, and pointed out the law upon the subject, and the jury were left to consider their verdict; and, after a abort deliberation, they returned a verdict of Manslaughter.

The Coroner immediately made out his warrant for the committal of William Marsh, to take his trial at the next Kent Assizes, binding over the different witnesses to appear.

Deceased was 70 years of age.


From the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, 20 April, 1867. Price 1d.


On Monday last Augustine Bird, landlord of the “King's Head,” was summoned before Captain Slarke, for making use of obscene language to a man named Fisher, and the latter was also summoned for a similar offence by Mr. Bird. It appears that Mr. Bird employed a man named Smith to clip one of his horses, which he accordingly did, but so disfigured it, that its value was reduced at least 10. With this Mr. Bird was angry and sent for Smith, who instead of going himself, sent Fisher, and on the two meeting the language complained of by Fisher was made use of. Captain Slarke considered the charge against Mr. Bird proved, and ordered him to pay a fine of 2s. 6d, and the costs. On the summons being served upon Mr. Bird, he immediately took out one against Fisher, and at the termination of the first case this was proceeded with. The complainant, however, failed to substantiate the charge, and the summons was accordingly dismissed.


Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, 2 July 1870.


Early on Sunday morning, between twelve and one o’clock, a fire broke out in a cottage situated in King Street, occupied by Mrs. Wanstall, a laundress, and resulted not only in the destruction of the house but also the death of three persons, viz., Susannah Wanstall, aged 71, a little girl named Ethel Day, aged 6 years, grandchild of the old lady, and William Bosby, aged 3 years, who was staying with Mrs. Wanstall on a visit. Mr. Sidwell, (in the employ of the Gas Company), first discovered the fire and gave the alarm, but so rapid was the progress of the flames, that before assistance could be procured, the house was completely gutted. After the fire had exhausted itself, search was made among the ruins, and the body of Mrs. Wanstall was discovered in the back room, so severely burnt, however, as to render identification impossible. On pursuing the search the body of a little boy who was staying with Mrs. Wanstall, and whose parents reside at Milton, was found in the front room with his head lying on his arm and his legs drawn up, death had evidently taken place through suffocation. It was known also that another child was in the house, sleeping with the grandmother in a back room, but the body was not discovered until the debris had been cleared away, when the head and legs burnt to a cinder were found. A fourth person was in the house, viz., Susannah Day, daughter of Mrs. Wanstall, and mother of the child Ethel Day, who escaped with her life, but is in such a precarious condition that little hope is entertained of her recovery.

When the fire was discovered screams were heard, and on Sidwell proceeding to the spot he saw a person on the first floor crying for assistance. He hastened back for a ladder for the purpose of rescuing her, but before he could return the woman had jumped through the window and was found on the pavement beneath severely injured, being burnt on various parts of her body. She was as speedily as possible removed to a house opposite.

Mr. Bowes and his assistant promptly attended and Mr. Hilder shortly afterwards arrived, and all endeavoured, as far as possible, to relieve the sufferings of Mrs. Day. Much praise is due to Mr. Turner (the Clerk of the Water Works Company) for the prompt assistance he rendered in directing the hose belonging to the Company to be worked, and there is little doubt that if this had not been done the whole of King Street would have shared the conflagration, whereas it was confined to the one cottage.

All residents in the locality rendered every assistance in their power in extinguishing the flames. A good supply of water was obtained from the Gas Company's mains, which, by means of the hose, was brought to bear upon the front of the cottage, while a number of the boatmen and others rendered invaluable service by taking buckets of water to the top of the building and throwing it upon the fire inside. Sergeant Gowar, of the K.C.C., was at the scene of the conflagration shortly after the outbreak, and, with Instructing Constable Martin, and Constables Town and Snashel, who arrived afterwards, rendered important assistance in getting the fire under, which was accomplished by about three o’clock.

The three bodies were taken to the coach-house of Mr. Bird, at the "King’s Head Inn," to await the coroner’s inquest. As may be supposed, the sad affair has created much excitement and commiseration throughout the Bay. A subscription is already on foot to relieve the sufferers. The house was insured, but the furniture and effects belonging to Mrs. Wanstall were not. Several tenants of adjoining houses removed their furniture which was thus greatly injured, and it is proposed that they should be compensated for their loss out of the subscriptions that may be raised.

THE INQUEST on the bodies of the victims of the fire was held on Monday afternoon before T. T. Delasaux, Esq., coroner, and a respectable jury, of whom Mr. Jehu Taylor was chosen foreman. The inquiry was opened at the "King’s Head," and afterwards adjourned to the Town Hall.

The jury having viewed the bodies, which presented a ghastly appearance. The Coroner alluded to the unfortunate occurrence, and requested the jury to understand that although it was a very serious investigation and would require some little consideration at their hands, their duty was simply to ascertain the cause of death and what led to that cause. The cause of death was very apparent; the question was more as to the cause of the fire, and he was afraid there would not be sufficient evidence to satisfy them on that point; but that it was an accident there could, he thought, be no doubt. The following evidence was then adduced.

John Harding deposed:- I live in King Street, Herne Bay. I am a labourer. I have looked at the bodies of the deceased and can identify them as those of Susannah Wanstall, Ellen Day, and William Busby. I saw them all at half-past eight on Saturday evening last. I do not know how the fire happened. The deaths were occasioned by burning, the house in which they were having been burnt down. The only person in the house when I left at half-past ten o’clock, besides the deceased, was Susannah Day, daughter of the old lady.

By a Juryman:- There was fire in the ironing stove, which stood on legs on a wooden floor and linen standing round it.

By the Coroner:- I do not think anyone went to the house after I left. The deceased was a laundress.

Frederick William Sidwell:- I live in Herne Bay. I am a stoker employed at the Gas Works. About 12.30 on Sunday morning I was sitting in the front room of my house and I heard a woman scream. I went out of the door into the street and looked towards the "King’s Head." I saw the small reflection of a light and I went to the spot. I then saw the lower room on fire. I tried to burst the door open while the woman continued to scream from the upper room in the house of the deceased Susannah Wanstall. When I found I could not burst open the front door I cried out to her to wait while I fetched a ladder. I saw no one at that time. As I was going to the gasworks to get the ladder, I heard a smash of glass and on looking back I saw a body lying on the pavement in front of the said house and flames playing over the body from the lower room. I went and got the ladder from the gas works and called assistance. The woman who fell out of the window was taken to the police-station. I saw the bodies of the three deceased persons taken from the house at about half-past three quite dead, and in their present state. I believe the fire was confined to the front room at the time I first saw it.

By a Juryman:- She was upstairs when I first went, but I think she jumped from the lower window.

John Bowes, surgeon:- I knew the deceased Susannah Wanstall and Ellen Day. I have seen their bodies, and also that of William Busby. Their respective deaths were caused by suffocation and burning.

The Coroner, in summing up, said he had anticipated in his previous observations what would be the result of the inquiry, viz., that the cause of the death of the three poor creatures was purely accidental.

The Jury then returned a verdict in accordance with the above facts, adding the following recommendation:- "The Jury impress on the Commissioners the urgent necessity for the town being supplied with the requisite appliance for extinguishing fire. At the same time they express their opinion that the means used by the Herne Bay Water Company prevented a spread of fire which, in this instance, might have added much to this fearful calamity. The praiseworthy conduct of Sergeant Gowar deserves especial mention."

We were pleased to learn on making enquiry on Thursday that Mrs. Day was slightly better, and that hopes are entertained of her recovery, though some months must elapse before this can take place, so serious are the injuries she sustained.

The funeral of the unfortunate deceased took place on Thursday afternoon. The remains of the bodies having been deposited in two coffins—the old lady, Mrs. Wanstall, in one, and the two children in the other—they were conveyed to the burial ground at Herne in Mr. Tyhursts Shillibeer, and there interred, the service being impressively read by the vicar, the Rev. J. B. Buchanan.


To the Editor.

"The Lodge,"

Herne Bay.


In the terrible fatal fire, of yesterday, in this place, the value of an immediate and unlimited supply of water (as given by our new Water Works) was most apparent; but I cannot help thinking that by an increase of hose, enough to make any two hydrants (only fifty yards apart) always available as two sources of such supply, the value would be immensely increased; and if was added a skeleton iron ladder for escape, we should be most effectually helping Fire Insurance Companies, as well as conducing to our own safety.

Yours, &c.,

T. G.

June 27th, 1870.


To the Editor.


I was amongst the first of those who were present at the fatal fire in King-street on Sunday morning last; and on reading the addenda which accompanies the verdict of the jury at the inquest on those persons whose lives were lost, I am unable to find a reason why Police-Sergeant Gowar alone is named for high commendation. I saw him on duty, and I willingly bear testimony to his good conduct, but I also witnessed the equally good conduct of others of the police force, who did duty well; and there were on the spot some twenty or thirty daring fellows, chiefly our own boatmen, to whose praiseworthy exertions we owe it to acknowledge that the fire was got under and extinguished. The manager of the Water Works (Mr. Turner) acted throughout this sad affair in a manner which does him great credit; and his efforts being so well supported by the boatmen, the alarming appearance of the flames was subdued, and the fire happily was confined to the house in which it commenced. The insurance offices will no doubt substantially and deservedly reward those to whom reward is due.

I am, Sir, &c.,


Herne Bay, June 29, 1870.


Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, 16 July 1870.


We regret to state that the injuries sustained by Mrs. Day at the late fire have terminated fatally, so that the number of victims of the sad occurrence is now increased to four. After intense suffering, Mrs. Day expired on Tuesday evening, and on Thursday her remains were interred in the churchyard at Herne.


Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, 23 July 1870.


On Wednesday evening last, a meeting of the fire relief committee was held at Mr. Holder’s. The funds as far as collected were appropriated; and it is hoped that some further subscriptions will enable the committee to fully compensate all the sufferers and those who assisted in nursing Mrs. Day during her trying illness.


From the Whitstable Times, 31 December, 1870.


On Wednesday evening last Mr. A. Bird, of the “King's Head Inn,” was driving home from Herne, and when opposite the Parsonage the horse ran into a large snow-drift. In endeavouring to right itself the off hind leg caught the fetlock of the near fore leg with such force as to cut the foot almost off. With great difficulty Mr. Bird got the horse and carriage out of the snow and returned to the Bay. Much sympathy is felt for Mr. Bird as the horse is a valuable one.


From Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald 12 September 1891.


SATURDAY, September 5th. - (Before O. C. Waterfield, Esq., in the chair, and Captain Lambert).


This being the annual licensing session, Superintendent Wood presented his annual report which was as follows:-

The landlord of the KING'S HEAD INN, at HERNE BAY, was fined 18s and costs in May last for selling adulterated spirits.

I have no complaint to make against the house.

There are 102 fully-licensed houses, 36 beerhouses, and 11 grocers and others licensed to sell beer, spirits, and wine not to be consumed on the premises. Thirty one persons (26 males and 5 females) have been proceeded against, and 30 convicted for drunkenness and drunk and disorderly conduct, this being one less than the previous year." The whole of the licences were then renewed, and the sessions adjourned for three weeks when applications for new licences will be heard.


From the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, 9 June 1900. Price 1d.


William Wood, a Canterbury man, pleaded guilty to being drunk and disorderly at Herne Bay, on the 1st June.

Sergeant Heard deposed that prisoner used very bad language and had to be carried all the way to the police station. He was afterwards recognised as the man who broke four panes of glass at the "King's Head" public house.

Inspector Dunk, of the Canterbury Police Force, proved several previous convictions for drunkenness and assault in this city.

The Bench fined prisoner 10s. and 9s. 4d. costs or 14 days'.


From the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, 2 March 1907.


The Magistrates objected to the granting of the renewal of the licence of this house on the ground that it was not required.

Mr. Walter Hills appeared on behalf of the tenant (Mr. Norman), and Mr. R. M. Mercer represented the owners (Messrs. Ash and Co. of Canterbury).

Superintendent Jacobs stated that this was a fully licensed house, free for spirits, and the rent was 40 a year. The rates were 16 13s. 9d, and the assessment 52. The tenant depended on the house for his living. It was fairly well conducted considering the rough class of people living in the vicinity. Here were the roughest inhabitants of Herne Bay, and it was worse now then ever before, and considerable discretion was required in the conduct of the house. The nearest house was the “Royal Oak,” some 20 to 30 yards away. The “Brewery Tap” was opposite, and the “Queen’s Head” was about 70 yards away.

In reply to the Chairman, Superintendent Jacobs said he should describe the trade as moderate.

Under cross-examination by Mr. Hills, the Superintendent admitted that there was a direct road by the house from the station, to Beltinge, Margate and Ramsgate, and other towns; but although he was frequently at Herne Bay practically every day in the summer, and not so often in the winter, he had never seen from twelve to seventeen carriages outside the house belonging to people who had stopped for refreshment.

Mr. Hills—Do you patronise this house when you go to Herne Bay?

Superintendent Jacobs—No sir, I patronise the “Royal Oak.”

“Then,” said Mr. Hills, “it is down with the King and Queen and three cheers for the “Royal Oak.”” (Laughter.)

But," said the Superintendent, “I want you to understand that I have nothing to do with the selection of these houses.”

Mr. Hills—Quite, but supposing you had would you have objected to the other houses beside the “King’s Head?”

If I had I should have objected to both.

Replying to Mr. Mercer, witness said in 1901 considerable alterations were made to the house. His only objection was that there were too many houses for the requirements of the locality.

Mr. Hills proceeded to give some figures of the trade done. In 1905 there were 279 barrels of beer, and 532 dozen bottled beer, representing 18 barrels. In 1906 there were 371 barrels of beer and 840 dozen bottled beer, representing 35 barrels. Then the sale of spirits on the average for each year was 337. Mr. Hills then gave particulars of the trade that was done in other articles to show the necessity of renewing the licence on behalf of the public:—In 1906 were sold—46 gallons of port wine, 10 gallons of sherry, 8 gallons of ginger brandy, 6 gallons of peppermint, 2 gallons of cherry brandy, 8,000 cigars, 100 lbs. of tobacco, 250 boxes of cigarettes containing 250 each, 49 tins of sponge cakes, 10 tins of fancy lunch biscuits, 6 tins of arrowroot biscuits, 500 lbs. of cheese, sold in half-penny worths with half-penny worths of bread, 441 gallons of ginger beer on draft, 208 dozen of minerals, soda and lemons, 18 gallons of ginger wine, and 81 syphons of soda.

For 1905, said Mr. Hills, the total turnover amounted to 1,080 8s, and for 1906 no leas then 1,487 12s., or practically 1,500. Whereas in January of 1906 the receipts were 82 5s., for the month of August for the same year they were no less then 204 14s. The importance of this was obvious. There was the same enormous increase in the year 1905, because in January of that year the receipts were 70 15s., but in August, 1905, they were no leas then 162 19s.

Mr. Mercer spoke of the orders of the tenant as to spirits in 36 gallons, 26 gallons, and 35 gallons, to show the trade of the house, which was the only one owned by Messrs. Ash and Co. in Herne Bay, and was of considerable value. An enormous trade was done, and he expected the Bench had been surprised at the figures quoted by Mr. Hills. He showed that respectable people used the house, and pointed out that if the licence were taken away it would do harm to the parties interested, and do injustice to the public.

Mr. Hills told the magistrates they would be surprised at the position of the gentlemen at Herne Bay who habitually used the saloon bar of the house. The class of articles sold showed it to be of good character, and supplying a public need. More then double the amount was taken by the tenant in the month of August then in the month of January, an evidence of the enormous increase of business that he did in the summer. He referred to the excellent character of the tenant, and remarked that this was the only house in Herne Bay where one could get Messrs. Ash and Co.’s beautiful, brilliant, sparkling ales,” and be asked the Bench so to decide that the public should continue to be able to get them.


Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, Saturday 18 July 1914.

East Kent Compensation Authority.

"Kings Head," Herne Bay (tenant, Albert William Taylor; owners, Messrs. Ash and Co., Canterbury.)

Mr. Morris applied for the renewal and Mr. Fletcher opposed on behalf of justices.

The renewal of the licence was refused.


The pub opened in 1840 and closed its doors to the public in 1914. The building has been demolished but at present I do not know when this happened.



REDMAN Charles 1847+

BIRD Augustine 1855-71+ (also Agent for the Steam Navigation Company age 58 in 1871Census)

PEARSON George 1881-82+ (age 56 in 1881Census)

KEELER Richard 1891+ Census

TITLOW Frederick H 1901+ (age 35 in 1901Census)

ROBINSON Charles Robert 1903+ Kelly's 1903

NORMAN Christine to Sept/1910 Whitstable Times

BURKE Edward Robert Sept/1910-11+ (age 54 in 1911Census) Whitstable Times

TAYLOR Albert William 1913-July/14


Whitstable TimesWhitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald


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:-