Page Updated:- Thursday, 24 August, 2023.


Earliest 1809-

Bull Inn

Latest 1939 (Name to) Open 2020+

Birchwood Corner / London Road


01322 610021

From the Fly Times, Supplement 2, September 2018. Bull Inn 1826

The above picture was published in the above supplement and gave the name "Bull Inn, in Kent, where the original Entomological Club often met." The address given was Birch Wood Corner, and the date of the engraving would have been 1826.

The Entomological Club is a strange group in natural history, it is the first ever Entomological society in the world, but for historical reasons they can only have 8 members. One cant apply to be invited, one has to be as recommended by one of the 8 members.

Bull 1930s

Above postcard 1930s.

Bull Inn 1938

Above photo, 1938, kindly sent by Matt Minch.

Bull 1938

Above photo, circa 1938, kindly sent by Michael Norman.


I also have reference to a "Bull Inn" at St. Paul's Cray.


Morning Advertiser 20 May 1830.


On Sunday morning, about one o’clock, the most indescribable alarm and confusion prevailed in the minds of the inhabitants of that pretty little village, Paul's Cray, in Kent, in consequence of a most dreadful fire breaking out at Apollo House, the residence of John Smith, Esq., a gentleman of independent fortune, situate near the village church. Mr. Smith and his family happened to be in London, on a visit to his son, and the only persons in the house were two female domestics, and a lady named Davison, who was nearly eighty years of age, and had for the last eighteen months been bed ridden. At about eleven o'clock on Saturday night, the servants retired to bed, leaving all the fires and lights extinguished, and all appeared perfectly safe.

About the hour above stated, the servant of a gentleman at Chiselhurst was passing the house on horseback, when be perceived the kitchen and parlour of the residence in flames, which were very rapidly rising to the floors above. Just before the flames had reached the top floor, the two servant maids made their appearance at the windows, screaming and wringing their hands in the greatest despair, as all means of retreat down stairs had been cut off, and a dreadful death stared them in the face. At length, just as the flames burst into the room in which they were, they jumped out, and were caught in a carpet, and miraculously escaped injury.

Mrs. Davison, the old lady above alluded to, we regret to state, was buried in the ruins, as, from the impetuosity of the flames, all attempts to save her were impossible and the poor creature whose piteous groans were distinctly heard, was abandoned to her fate. The servants state, that on finding the house on fire they alarmed the old lady, and endeavoured to remove her, but before they could do so the flames rushed into the room, and they were obliged to retreat for their own security. At about nine o’clock nine o'clock yesterday the trunk of the old lady was found in the ruins, but her head, arms, and legs were burnt off. The remains were removed to the "Bull Inn" for a Coroner's Inquest, which will take place this afternoon. No cause can be assigned at present as to the origin of the melancholy calamity. Mr. Smith is insured in the Phoenix. One hundred sovereigns were yesterday picked out of the ruins belonging to Mr. Smith.


Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser, 03 September 1870.

Annual licensing day.

The licence of J. C. Drew, the "Bull Inn," Birchwood Corner, was refused on account of applicant being fined for allowing disorderly conduct at his house. Mr. Drew gave notice of appeal to the quarterly quarter Sessions.



I am informed by Matt Minch that the area is now a part of Swanley and was later known as the "Bull at Birchwood" then later "Hickorys Night Club" and then "De Ja Vue Night Club." (Dates unknown). It sat unused for years until several ‘mystery fires’ made it unrepairable so they were allowed to knock it down, it’s a hotel now.


Bulls 1938

Above photo showing the old and new Bull being built, 1938.

Bull 1952

Above photo, 1952 showing the "New Bull."


Above photo date unknown, taken by Chris Floyd.

Bull sign

Above photo date unknown, taken by Chris Floyd.

Old Bull map

Above map showing the location of the old Bull.

New Bull map

Above map showing the location of the new Bull.


Further information from Matt Minch says the following:- The premier inn ‘swanley’ used to be ‘The Bull at Birchwood", or "The Bull", that was right on Birchwood Corner that THEN used to be in St Mary Cray, now I believe it comes under Swanley.

They knocked down the original "Bull" about 1939ish, the larger attached photo is taken from the other direction looking towards Swanley and shows just as they started building the ‘new’ "Bull" next door to the old one with the old "Bull" still standing in 1938, the ‘new’ "Bull" building then became a nightclub called "Hickorys", reckon early 1980s, then it became "De Ja Vue" nightclub, same building.

Then they knocked it down and built the "Premier Inn" which takes up the area occupied by both the "Old Bull" and the "New Bull", one of attached shows the position of the "Old Bull" and the New 1939 "Bull."

The "Bull Inn" is in main road/junction of Sandy Lane which is on some old cards I have marked as St Paul's Cray, I am not certain if that area once was classed as Foot's Cray but I don’t think it was, some people say its St Mary Cray as literally the other side of the road is where St Mary Cray starts, but I have never heard of a pub in Foot's Cray or Sidcup called the "Bull Inn."


Bull demolition

Above photo, date unknown showing the demolition in progress.

Bull demolition

Above photo, date unknown showing the demolition in progress. Kindly sent by Matt Minch.


From the By Abigail Foulkes, 1st September 2010.

SWANLEY: Demolition of 'iconic landmark' leaves residents distraught.

Bull demolition 2010

The Bull pub in London Road, Swanley, has been demolished after Sevenoaks District Council granted planning permission to Whitbread PLC on July 30 to build a Premier Inn hotel and Beefeater restaurant on the derelict site.

The building, which was most recently "Deja Vu" nightclub, had become dogged with controversy after a series of crime-related incidents including arson and assault.

David Harrison, 70, of Park Way, Wilmington, told News Shopper he remembers The Bull from when he was a child.

The grandfather-of-two said: “I can remember passing The Bull on my way to Ramsgate for my annual summer holidays 60 years ago.

“I’m so disappointed that an iconic landmark has been wiped away.

“A bit of our heritage has gone.”

Bus driver Jim Halford, of London Road, Swanley, says he is worried the demolition will be detrimental to Swanley’s history.

The 61-year-old said: “We’re losing our heritage.

“I am deeply concerned for our history being demolished bit by bit in the name of progress.

“We have to keep our history for the future generation so they know where they come from.”

Councillor Robert Woodbridge of Swanley Town Council was consulted on the development but says he is sad it has been scrapped.

He said: “It’s a shame to see it go but hopefully the hotel will bring some employment into the community.”

The development is set to be finished early next year.


We are now into the third incarnation of this pub, now addressed as London Road.



JEWELL Charles 1832+ Pigot's Directory 1832-34

JEWELL Isabella 1858+

DREW J C 1862-70

SANSOME Mr to Oct/1890+ Next pub licensee had

SLAWSON William 1896+

SLAWSON Charles Godfrey 1903+ Kelly's 1903

McWHIRTER Robert 1911-13+ (age 50 in 1911Census)

MACE John 1918-22+

KENDRICK Henry Charles 1930-38+


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

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:-