Sort file:- Gravesend, April, 2023.

Page Updated:- Wednesday, 19 April, 2023.


Earliest 1817

Canal Tavern

Open 2023+

Canal Road



01474 326931

Canal Tavern

Above photo, date unknown. Kindly supplied by John Hopperton.

Canal Tavern 2002

Above photo 2002.

Canal Tavern 2008

Above photo 2008 by David Anstiss Creative Commons Licence.

Canal Tavern 2010

Above photo 2010 by Creative Commons Licence.

Canal Tavern sign 2010

Above sign, 2010, kindly sent by Roger Pester.


The pub was closed for a short period in the 1850s when it lay empty for some reason.

In 1845 Thomas Barker dies of consumption but in the same year they also lose 2 of their children. This is then followed in 1848 by another daughter but its noted that the "Canal Tavern" is recorded as the place of death so the family are still living there.

Mary marries James Leeds in 1846 and their daughter dies there in 1849 (3 months old) but James is now noted as Victualler on her death certificate.

It is suggested that the close proximity to the canal, river and railway along with poor sanitation at the time that there was a lot of disease which may have contributed to the poor health of the family and why they closed for a while.


Burials St Peter & St Paul, Milton next Gravesend. 1846-1864.

22 Oct 1846 Edward Barker, Canal Tavern aged 5.

25 Apr 1848 Ellen Barker, Canal Tavern aged 13.

16 Aug 1849 Annie Leeds, Canal Tavern aged 3 months.

7 Sep 1849 William Pepper aged 45. Found drowned and brought to Canal.

17 May 1850 Henry Stanton, Canal Tavern aged 31.

31 Jul 1851 William Basden, Canal Tavern aged 32.

20 Aug 1851 Robert Caggett, Canal Tavern aged 42.


Gravesend Reporter, North Kent and South Essex Advertiser 18 January 1862.


The town for some time past has been free from any of those large fires for which in former years it was rather notorious, but on Friday night last one took place, which was of considerable magnitude, and might, but for a providential set of the wind have vied with any previous disaster of this nature. On the north quay of the canal basin has stood for many years a very large shed built of brick most substantially, with a massive roof of timber slates, and with three pairs of lofty lattice gates, both in the north and south fronts. There was also capacious stabling for a number of horses. These premises were formerly, it is well known, in the occupation of the firm of Nettleingham, Son. & Hills, large coal merchants. For some years past it has been a portion of the property of the South Eastern Railway Company in that part of the town, and has been rented of them by Mr. William Lake, of Chalk, as a depositors for straw, of which very generally there was a large quantity. On Friday last there were from 300 to 500 loads in these stores. The adjacent buildings on the south side and eastward are the soap works of Messrs. Huggens and one or two cottages, one the residence of Mr. Buckland, foreman of Messrs. Huggins' works. On the north side and to the east are two houses and separated from them only by a narrow entry, the "North Star" beerhouse, in the occupation of Mr. Goodwin, all these premises forming a block and all connected. Eastward of this block, only a short distance off, are some cottages, the property of Mr. Willis. Still further some cottages, the property of Mr. Willis. Still further to the eastward are Mr. Todd's steam flour mills and Mr. Broadbridge's establishment, the Albion Baths. All these buildings are situated between the canal and the river, and all sufficiently close to have come more or less within the influence of the flames, but for the providential set of the wind alluded to.

On Friday night the sheds had been locked up as usual by Mr. Lake’s manager, Mr. Sneezum, and all was perfectly safe. About twenty minutes to eleven, however, Mr. Stoddart, the dock master of the canal basin and general custodian of the railway company’s property there, who resides in a cottage to the west of the shed, separated from them by a narrow lane and his garden, was roused from his slumbers by Lee, captain of one of Mr. Lake's barges, which had been loading straw alongside the quay during the day, who had been roused himself in his barge by a man named Staggs, who first discovered the fire. Lee told Stoddart a fire had broken out in the shed and was already making rapid progress. Stoddart turned out immediately, naturally in great anxiety, and rushed out in his night dress to the spot, when he found the building was all in flames. He very humanely recollected that a horse belonging to the inspector of the company, Mr. Liptrol, was in the stable and locked up, the key being in the carter's possession. He directly gave crowbars to Charles Hoggood, a bargeman, and another man, and bade them break open the stabledoor and liberate the unfortunate horse, who was now screaming with terror at the smoke and heat. The men speedily resend the horse, after using great exertions to break in, and it was taking over to Mr. Bigmore's "Canal Tavern," who put it up in his skittle ground. Mr. Stoddart, who energetically exerted himself, even forgetting to return and clothe himself in a garb more suited to the weather, had a barge which was partly laden with straw and close alongside the burning building, removed out from the vicinity of the flumes. He had also sent to the town for the police and the engines. Necessarily, however, a space of time must elapse before they could arrive, and the fire now raged furiously, presenting a mass of flame 80ft. square. The greatest consternation prevailed among the occupants of the buildings above described, who were men, women and children, running about in their night dresses in the greatest alarm and confusion. The adjoining soap works were considered to be in immanent peril, and Mr. Buckland's first act was to secure the books and documents in the counting house of his employers, which was in the front part of the works, but the door was locked. He, however, smashed in the door with his foot and succeeded in removing all the books, papers, &c.

At the first sign of the fire the sentry on the batteries at "New Tavern Fort" reported the fact to Lieutenant Ryerolt, who lost no time in sending out the fort engine, together with a guard, who were of great service in discharging water on the imperilled soap factory. They had been proceeded, however, by Mr. White, the Superintendent of the police and the fire brigade, who with that promptitude for which he is eminent, had on hearing of the fire, mustered his brigade of firemen, and proceeded to the fire with the engines at the utmost speed, but the inflammable nature of the contents of the shed was such and of so large a quantity that by the time he arrived the roof was falling in, and all that could be done was to keep the fire from extending to the soap works, which was done by throwing large quantities of water on that building. The fire continued all day on Saturday and was hardly extinguished on Sunday. Mr. Luke's loss is estimated at over 500. The building as before stated, was the property of the South Eastern Railway Company.

At the time the fire was discovered then was almost a calm, but very shortly after the wind rose, lightly blowing from the S.S.W., therefore carrying away the flame from the soap works in a N.E. direction. This providential course of the wind saved the entire block. Had the wind set in strong from the N.W. as it did on the following evening (Saturday) the destruction of property would have been most considerable. In the meanwhile strenuous exertions were made to keep the buildings of the soap works cool with a plentiful supply of water. Mr. Buckland, jun. had his valuable collection of designs removed to Mr. Bigmore's, "Canal Tavern," who kindly took charge of them.

Mr. Goodwin, of the "North Star," and the numerous occupants of that and the adjoining houses on the north east portion of the block were in the constant dread of seeing their homes burnt at any instant, and Mr. Goodwin filled his house with coalies who had come ashore from the coal hulks to remove his furniture, and though the occasion was itself serious, the scene of confusion was so ludicrous as to excite merriment. Stationing himself at his beer engine he declared emphatically that the beer "shouldn't be burnt," and bade his dusky attendant drink it out, giving it away to all hands in the most lavish manner. The consequences may be easily imagined; the Coaleys and their loads of effects tumbled up and down, and such a degree of damage was done that fire itself could hardly have surpassed.

Of course by about eleven o'clock a large concourse of spectators had arrived on the spot, for the sky was lighted up for miles round, and both sides of the basin we crowded, and while the fire engines of the borough and the fort were throwing water on the threatened buildings, Mr. Bigmore’s beer engine and other taps were as busily plied in supplying the needs of the labourers at the pump. The fire formed a grand spectacle from Milton-place and Park-place and the higher parts of the town overlooking the river, which was quite illumined, displaying the shipping and the opposite country. There was only one casualty and that fortunately was not attended with serious results; one of the firemen, named Corby, fell into the basin whilst at work, but was almost immediately rescued. It is a lamentable thing to reflect that this fire, which might have been so much worse, was the work of an incendiary, according to the evidence in Monday's police.


Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser, Monday 19 September 1864.

Coroner's Inquest.

An inquest was held on Wednesday last, at the "Canal Tavern," by E. A. Hilder Esq., on the body of James Heath, a child about 7 years of age. Deceased was the son of Richard Heath, residing at the "Canal," and the mother stated that on Monday she, with deceased and her other children, had been to Shorne, hopping, and, on returning, left deceased near Mr. Todd's mill with other children. From the evidence of the sister, who is 9 years old, it appeared that the others went home, while deceased stayed behind to look at a dog in the water and would not come when called by this witness. The boy not coming home, search was made for him, but he could not be found, until Edward Cackett, a labourer, also reside at the "Canal," seeing the sister crying, assisted in the search, and found deceased in the Canal, and got him out at once, but he was quite dead.

A verdict of "Found Drowned" was returned by the jury.


From the Gravesend reporter, North Kent and South Essex Advertiser, Saturday 15 May 1880.

Gravesend police Court.

Richard Payne was charged, as a rogue and a vagabond, with gambling in a field near the "Canal Tavern," on the previous Saturday night.

Mr. Superintendent Berry said that between 8 and 9 o'clock on the night in question he went to the field, where a kind of fair was being held. He saw defendant in charge of a table, on which there were a number of divisions, with a spindle in the centre. Around these were a number of coconuts. The table was surrounded by boys, who put penny pieces on the divisions, defendant reserving to himself the vacant spaces. Whilst witness looked on, there were 12 or 14 pennies put down, and defendant always won.

Defendant said he had not been at work many minutes when the superintendent saw him. There were six squares on the board, and the winner could either have a coconut or 5d, whichever he liked, so that he (defendant) only stood to win a penny if all the squares were full.

Mr. Barry said defendant had been previously convicted at Chatham of a similar offence.

Defendant said he had a wife and 8 children, so he hoped the magistrates would deal leniently with him, and impose a fine if they could.

The Bench did deal leniently with him, for they only imposed a fine of 3s., with alternative of 7 days.


From The Era (London, England), January 28, 1882; Issue 2262.

To Circus, Menagerie, and Wax-Work Proprietors.

To Be Let, the Best Position in the Town.

Apply to R. T. Chapman, "Canal Tavern," Gravesend, Kent.


From The Era (London, England), Saturday, August 17, 1889; Issue 2656.

To Circus Agents, Showmen, etc., Travelling in Kent.

A Large Meadow To Let on Hire, Terms, Proprietor, "Canal Tavern," Gravesend.



SMITH Alexander 1824-28+ Pigot's Directory 1828-29

GARDNER Benjamin 1832-40+ Pigot's Directory 1832-34

ROBERTS Henry 1841+ (age 45 in 1841Census)

BARKER Thomas 1844-45 dec'd

LEEDS James (married Barker's widow) 1846-52+ (age 51 in 1851Census)

BIGMORE James Chew 1861-65+ (age 50 in 1861Census)

SIMMONS Thomas 1870-71+ (age 54 in 1871Census)

LUNGFORD John 1874-78+

WILLIAMS Richard 1881+ (age 42 in 1881Census)

CHAPMAN Richard 1882+

CHART Robert 1891

RAINE Henry 1891-1903+ (age 57 in 1901Census) Kelly's 1903

RAINE Emma Mrs 1911-22+ (age 57 in 1911Census)

WOODMAN Horatio Edmund 1930+

RAMSEY Mr & Mrs M 1988-90+


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 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:-