Sort file:- Sittingbourne, November, 2023.

Page Updated:- Wednesday, 08 November, 2023.


Earliest ????

Railway Tavern

Latest 1971

(Name to)

22 West Street


From the East Kent Gazette.

Railway Tavern 1880

The "Railway Tavern," now the "Ypres Tavern," in 1895.

WAR-TIME memories of nights spent under a table in the cellar are evoked by this photograph, sent from the other side of the world by Arthur Wallington.

Arthur, who now lives in Melbourne, Australia, has fond memories of living in this pub, the "Railway Tavern" — now known at the "Ypres Tavern" — has e-mailed this photograph.

He and his sister were born at the pub after their parents Bob and Ivy Wallington moved from Higham to take over it in 1938. Arthur writes: “We have memories of the war years and being taken from our beds in the middle of the night during air raids and carried down into the cellar and placed under a very solid table among all the beer barrels.

"Arthur's father, who had spent his former working life in the Royal Navy, was called into the Royal Navy Fleet Reserve in 1939 to serve during the Second World War.

"In 1943, he was at Bari Harbour in Italy when many ships were blown asunder, one was carrying tons of Mustard gas. He died in 1950."

Arthur says his mother kept the licence of the pub after her husband's death, but later married Kenneth Hunt.

Ken was involved in having the pub's name changed to "Ypres Tavern" when Sittingbourne became twinned with the Belgian town. He also saw it through the modern transition, which reduced the number of bars and enlarged the drinking areas.

He has fond memories, too, of his great-grandmother Polly Bush sitting in his bedroom window on the front corner of the pub, watching the people and traffic go up and down the High Street below.

Polly, says Arthur proudly, was 99-and-a-half when she died in 1957 and had been housemaid to the son of Charles Dickens at Gads Hill, in Higham, in her youth.

Arthur says at one time there were five generations of one family living in the pub. His research into the history of the "Railway Tavern" leads him to believe it was converted from two cottages. He has discovered from the 1861 census that Thomas Hales, aged 43 and born at Stockbury, was licensee with his wife Ann, born at Deal. The couple had three sons, two daughters, who lived at the pub with a mother-in-law and four lodgers.

The 1901 census shows another Thomas Hales (son of the former) as a licensee in Sittingbourne, but Arthur doesn't know if he was at the "Railway Tavern."

Arthur says in his day, the pub had five bars — saloon, private, public, bottle and jug and another one called simply "the big bar".

A blacksmith's behind the pub was demolished to make way for the car park.

He ends his tale recalling that he and his friend Dennis West used to play football & cricket on the car park and Mrs Wilson, who lived behind the sweet shop and greengrocer's would give him a penny to keep quiet some afternoons, so she could take a nap!

Arthur used to play darts in the pub after school and in later life he teamed with Tom Turner, for many a game.

Railway Tavern

Above postcard, date unknown. From

Railway Tavern

Above photo date unknown, kindly supplied by Arthur Wallington.

Railway Tavern

Above photo date unknown, kindly supplied by Arthur Wallington.

Railway Tavern

Above photo date unknown, kindly supplied by Arthur Wallington.


From the Faversham Gazette, Saturday 11 August 1855.

Thomas Hales, beer-house keeper, at Sittingbourne, was convicted for keeping open his house in the afternoon of Sunday, the 22nd of July.

Fined 1 and costs.


Faversham Gazette, 26 April, 1856.


On the 17th inst., Henry Wright and John Reeves, two powerful rough-looking men were had before J. Dyke, Esq., for burglariously entering the dwelling-house of Thomas Hales, of Sittingbourne, beerhouse-keeper, on the night of the 7th inst., and stealing therefrom a quantity of pork and other articles. It appears that the two prisoners were seen in company with a daring fellow named Powling, at twelve o’clock on the night of the 7th, near the prosecutor's premises. The next morning they were discovered sleeping in a shed in Mr. Huggens’ brickfield, where the pork was subsequently found concealed. They were all three apprehended and secured in the lock-up, but Powling managed to effect his escape, and has not since been heard of. Wright and Reeves were committed to take their trial at the next assizes.



East Kent Gazette, Saturday 3 March 1928.

Strong Safe by Withers, 33in. high, 26in. wide, 26in. deep, Two shelves, and two drawers. Price, 10. Sutton, "Railway Tavern," Sittingbourne.

About 3 tons of Bar Iron to be sold, best offer, Sutton, "Railway Tavern," Sittingbourne.



Last pub licensee had HALES Thomas 1851-74 (also butcher age 57 in 1871Census)

HALES Ann 1881-82+ (Widow age 65 in 1881Census)

HALES Thomas Richard 1891-1903+ (age 50 in 1901Census) Kelly's 1903

WILLIAMS Henry 1911+ (age 48 in 1911Census) ("Railway Arch")

CARR William 1913-22+

SUTTON 1928+

SUTTON Olive Mrs 1930-38

WALLINGTON Arthur F 1938-50


HUNT Kenneth & Ivy to 1979



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:-