DOVER KENT ARCHIVES

Sort file:- Gillingham, September, 2021.

Page Updated:- Tuesday, 07 September, 2021.

PUB LIST PUBLIC HOUSES Paul Skelton

Earliest 1860s

Isle of Beauty

Latest 1888

Bishop's Marsh

Gillingham

Medway map 1951

Above map 1951.

Medway map Gillingham 2021

Above map 2021.

Fort Darner 2021

Fort Darnet 2021.

 

I believe that Bishop's Marsh is the name for the group of islands that sit in the middle of the River Medway that include the two islands that contain the forts Hoo and Darnet.

In the 'Gillingham Chronicles' Baldwin says this about it:- "Name comes from a well known late-18th century poem, 'The Isle of Beauty'. Built in the 1860s to serve defence works in the river, it was apparently a shanty construction patronised by bargees and watermen, and visited by Dutch fishermen trafficking in gin. The house was well-known for its smuggling connections. Its first licensee was a member of the Woodham family; a later licensee was drowned on the marshes. The licence was withdrawn 1888, probably because there was little or no business and was transferred to the "Westcourt Arms," Canterbury Street in 1888. The foundations could still be seen at the end of the century. When the licensee ran short of beer, he had to row over to Gillingham Pier for fresh supplies.

The premises starting out as a beer-house and reference can be found on a mid 1860s map, the next reference to the "Isle of Beauty" is in an 1871 census and says the building was next to next to Fort Darnet on Bishops Marsh.

The 1872 Licence allows it to sell excisable liquors, the owner being Edward Winch, the licence holder George Norris who was a coachman living next door to Charles Winch (son of Edward) in New Road, Chatham.

In 1886 the ownership had changed to Solomon Brice, a clay merchant. George Norris was still the licence holder. In the 1881 census he was 66 years old, a gardener, still living in New Road now next door to Thomas Winch. George Norris died in 1890 age 75.

The pub closed after 1871 when Fort Darnet was finished (there was only a watchman and his wife there in the 1871 census).

The 1872 and 1880 Licensing records both show it owned by Edward Winch, Chatham, Licensee was George Ezekiel Norris and it was licensed "To sell by retail Excisable liquors to be consumed on the premises" (i.e. a full licence, not a beer house).

I have recently seen reference to a pub on the Darnet Island called the "Flagstaff" and are beginning to think that it is one and the same. Surely a remote and isolated island wouldn't have contained two public houses. Less, of course they were on different islands.

 

Darnet Fort plans 1877

Above photo showing Darnet Fort plans 1877, kindly sent by Adam Taylor.

Darnet Fort

Above photo showing Darnet Fort.

Darnet Fort

Above photo showing Darnet Fort, kindly sent by Adam Taylor.

Darnet Fort entrance

Above photo showing Darnet Fort entrance, kindly sent by Adam Taylor.

Darnet Fort

Above photo showing Darnet Fort bridge, kindly sent by Adam Taylor.

Darnet Island cement works

Above photo showing Darnet Island cement works, kindly sent by Adam Taylor.

Hoo Fort plane 1877

Above photo showing plans of Hoo Fort, kindly sent by Adam Taylor.

Hoo Fort

Above photo showing Hoo Fort, kindly sent by Adam Taylor.

Hoo Fort inside

Above photo showing inside Hoo Fort, kindly sent by Adam Taylor.

Hoo Fort

Above photo showing inside Hoo Fort, kindly sent by Adam Taylor.

 

LICENSEE LIST

WOOHHAM ???? 1860+

NORRIS Ezekiel George 1872-86

BRICE Solomon 1886-88

 

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

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