Sort file:- Maidstone, March, 2023.

Page Updated Maidstone:- Wednesday, 29 March, 2023.


Earliest ????

Railway Bell

Latest 1992

10 (33) Hart Street


Railway Bell

Above photo, date unknown.

Raileway Bell 1987

Above photo, August 1987, kindly sent by Vikki Nash.

Former Railway Bell 2013

Above photo 2013 by Chris Whippet Creative Commons Licence.

Railway Bell sign 1988

Above sign 1988, kindly taken and sent by Richard Green.


One time a Mason's tied house, but the brewery was bought out by Shepherd Neame in 1956 and the brewery was subsequently closed and the brewery demolished.

The pub itself, I am informed by licensees Mr and Mrs Vickers in the 1980s was a very busy market pub on Tuesdays and during the cattle market’s on Mondays and Thursdays. They also housed also dog shows on Sundays and Saturday night there were wrestling shows in market buildings.


South Eastern Gazette 04 September 1860.


This being the general annual licensing day, the whole of the licenses were renewed.

Mr. J. Monckton then made application for new licenses to William Brewster, "British Queen," Sandling Road; Thomas Bodkin, "Ten Bells," Upper Stone Street; and Moeshac Gardiner, "Railway Bell," Hart Street. The applications were not opposed, but the magistrates refused all of them.


Maidstone Telegraph, Rochester and Chatham Gazette, Saturday 8th September 1860.

Maidstone Petty sessions. Annual General licensing day.

Application for licences.

Mr. M. Gardiner, landlord of the "Railway Bell," Hart Street, made an application for a licence to his house. Mr. Monckton support of the application and presented a petition signed by a number of his neighbour's and also several person's connected with the South Eastern Railway.

The Magistrates after having retired for about 20 minutes, upon their return into court the Chairman, addressing Mr. Monckton, said that the magistrates had given the application due consideration and they must decline granting the license.


From an email received, 14 May, 2014.

We used to frequent this pub with parents when we were kids. I don't have any photos, and the building has now been demolished and replaced by a multi-storey car park. It was closed down by the police around 1992 due to excessive drug dealing on the premises. It was raided several times in the few years running up to closure. The licensee was a woman called Maggie. She had run it with her husband Geordie but he passed away around 1991. I don't know their surnames.

Upon closure, one of the regulars applied for a license for the premises next door, a single storey building in the railway car park, this was granted and ‘The Lockmeadow Club' ran for several years, although it was most commonly known just as ‘The Railway Club'. Most of the customers from the Bell made this their new regular. The same problems followed and the pub was also forced to close a couple of years later. I believe the building is now a restaurant.

Hope this helps!


Gordon Graham.


From the By Paul Hooper, 15 January 2014.

Ashford driver Ronald David Lynch spared jail after pensioner Michael Donnelly killed in day trip horror crash.

An Ashford man has escaped a jail sentence today after his car hit a pensioner after the pair had returned from a day out to Belgium.

The tragedy happened as driver Ronald David Lynch was leaving a car park in Beaver Lane after completing a Christmas shopping trip on a freezing December night.

Pensioner Michael Donnelly, 70, had been walking nearby when he was struck by the vehicle.

Michael Donnelly 2014

Michael Donnelly died after a crash in Ashford.

But a judge at Canterbury Crown Court ruled there had been no evidence the driver had failed to clear his windscreen of ice or mist.

Judge James O'Mahony said: "The defendant was driving very slowly and he simply didn't see the unfortunate victim. It is a mystery how precisely it happened."

In ordering Lynch to do 200 hours of unpaid work for the community, the judge said his powers of sentencing were restricted by law.

"I have no magic powers... sometimes I wish I had, but if I sent Mr Lynch to prison for 10 years it would not bring back Mr Donnolly who was a loving family man."

Prosecutor Paul Valder told the court how Lynch had driven out of the car park intending to turn right onto a main road and had been driving slowly.

He said: "However as he did so he collided with Mr Donnelly, who sustained injuries from which he died."

Lynch, 55, of Beaver Lane, had denied causing death by driving carelessly but was convicted by a jury.

Beaver Road accident 2014

The scene of the tragedy in Beaver Road, Ashford.

Mr Valder told the court: "Had he been driving with the requisite care and attention the accident would not have happened."

The jury had heard how on December 1 last year Lynch, his wife and step son and Mr Donnelly had all been on an outing to the Christmas markets in Belgium.

"They had been picked up by coach in the early morning from the car park of the Marino's Fish Bar in Beaver Road, next door to the Beaver Inn."

The prosecutor said the coach party returned at 8.20pm and "on any view it was cold and below freezing, but it was dry and not slippery under foot".

Lynch, who had a good driving record, went to get his Vauxhall Cavalier, which was parked in the Beaver Inn car park as 6ft 5ins Mr Donnelly began walking.

Michael Donnelly

Much-loved Michael Donnelly leaves three children, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

A witness saw him carrying a white carrier bag and "at the same time saw the Cavalier emerging from the car park".

Mr Valder said Mr Donnelly was then seen to raise his hand in an attempt to get the attention of the driver of the Cavalier and also tapped on the bonnet

"The car stopped briefly but then pulled away, knocking Mr Donnelly to the ground and then partially over him," he added.

Lynch later told police when he returned to his car after the trip, it "was covered in ice" and so he started the engine.

He scraped both front and rear windows and then drove very slowly towards the exit of the car park, he said.

As he pulled away, he felt "the front of the car lift slightly... like driving over a bag of rubbish" and reversed "to remove the rubbish and then saw a man lying in the road".

Mr Donnelly, who ran the "Railway Bell" and "Holly Bush" pubs in Maidstone in the 1980s, died 12 days later in London's King's College Hospital.

Banning him from driving for 18 months, Judge O'Mahony said: "The one thing that is certain is the last thing on his mind that night was doing any harm to Mr Donnolly."


Railway Bell location 2020

Above photo December 2020, kindly sent by Stuart Giles. The buildings shown in the photo are on the opposite side of the road from where the pub stood. Unfortunately the pub was demolished some time ago and is now the car entrance to McDonalds.

You can still see the wall, and the low building (now painted in off white) on the right in the current photo.



GEORGE Charles William 1858+

GARDINER Moeshac 1860 (license not granted)

BEECHING Charlotte 1881-91+ (widow age 41 in 1881Census)

TAPPENDEN George 1901+ (widower age 68 in 1901Census)


GEORGE Charles William 1911-Aug/18 (age 57 in 1911Census)

GEORGE Rosetta Aug/1918+ South Eastern Gazette

PURCELL George Foster 1918-22+

MANNERING Harry H W 1930+

MOORE H G 1938+

Last pub licensee had DONNELLY Michael 1980s

LAWRENCE David & Janet to 1975 Next pub licensee had

VICKERS Douglas & Audrey 1979-82 Next pub licensee had

MATTHEWS Dave 1987+



South Eastern GazetteSouth Eastern Gazette


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