Sort file:- Gravesend, December, 2023.

Page Updated:- Monday, 04 December, 2023.


Earliest 1829

(Name from)


Latest 1985+

(Name to)

1 Town Pier



The "Pier" is shown on the right and the "Three Daws" on the left and the "Castle" the building with the firemen entering.

Pier Hotel 1985

Above photo, 1985.

Pier Pier

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

Pier sign 1974

Above sign, August 1974.

With thanks from Brian Curtis


From the Maidstone Gazette and Kentish Courier, 5 April, 1842.



The Town Council of Gravesend are ready to receive Tenders for Letting, for a term not exceeding 30 years, those eligible Premises, known as the "Pier Hotel," adjoining the Town Pier, Gravesend; and commanding the unrivalled view of the river Thames, and the county of Essex. Immediate possession can be given, on or before the 15th instant, where scaled tenders will be received up to Six o'clock in the evening of that day. The premises may be viewed by application to the Treasurer, at the Town-hall, at any time between the hours of Nine and Six o'clock each day.

 W. A. Coombe, Town Clerk. Gravesend, April, 1842.


Built on the site of the "Christopher" which is mentioned in a will of 1476. That pub was demolished in 1828 when the Town Pier square was laid out. The "Pier Hotel" dates from 1829. but the original building was totally destroyed in the great fire of November 1846.


From the South Eastern Gazette, Tuesday 24 November 1846.

Gravesend. Destructive fire. 46 houses burnt.

On Thursday night, about 12, a fire broke out in the house of Mr. Garratt, grocer, West Street, close to the "Pier Hotel." An alarm having been given, the Gravesend engines were, after some delay, by no means creditable to the superintendent of them, brought to the spot. In the meantime, the house, and that next to it (a cookshop, kept by a Mrs. Petitt, were enveloped in flames. The wind, blowing strong from the south, soon brought the flames to the adjoining houses, and the opposite side of the street, and, in less than an hour, eight houses were completely on fire. When the Gravesend engines were prepared to be worked there was no water plug to be found. After a search of some duration, one was discovered; but from some cause no water issued therefrom. The fire raged resistless. The Gravesend Bank and the houses adjoining it on the south side of West Street was soon within it's vortex, the consternation spread throughout the town. An engine arrived about a quarter to 1 o'clock from Mr. Pitcher's dockyard, Northfleet, and a supply of water for it was had from Mr. Beckett's Brewery, close by. The "Pier Hotel" and the "Pope's Head Tavern" where now involved in the configuration, and the efforts of the engines to check it were powerless, notwithstanding that the supply of water from the waterworks was sufficiently copious. A large body of military, under the command of Major Kelly, from Tilbury Fort, arrived at the scene, as did also a detachment from the Gravesend Garrison. For some time the Tilbury military were of considerable use in preserving some order amid the indescribable confusion. West Street and the lower part of High Street were nearly choked up with furniture from every house at either side out of which there was time to cast it. Of this vast quantity was borne to the parish church. At 2 o'clock not less than 20 houses were consuming without a possibility of the inmates saving anything but they lives; and here it may be remarked, that in so wide-spread and rapid a conflagration, it was singularly providential that there was no loss of human life.

At about half-past two the Dartford engine arrived, and was immediately and skillfully applied to check the spread of flames to the "Talbot Hotel;" soon after, the Chatham engines were on the spot, and all the engines played upon the different extremities of the fire, but without affecting an object desired by the director's and the fireman - namely, to prevent the further extension of the conflagration, which had by this time embraced within its destroying influence 40 houses in West Street and the adjoining courts. At this time the scene was awfully grand, from the splendour of the blaze, and it's reflections upon the water - the river and his bank, four miles above and below the town, being illuminated by a body of flames happily seldom or ever witnessed in this country. At 4 o'clock the configuration was at its height, and then but little hopes were entertained of preserving any part of the town between the Town pier and the "Clifton Hotel," along the river side, and at either side of West Street, running parallel with the river. The wind blowing from the south fortunately checked the spread of the fire up the High Street beyond Mr. Troughton's house, at the corner of West Street, where the latter opens into Hight Street, but the whole of the houses in the new court close by that house, and leading from West Street towards the church, were on fire. The whole efforts of the firemen were now directed to check the fire at the "Talbot Hotel," which being recently rebuilt, presented an obstruction to its progress in the shape of a brick party-wall, that eventually, in combination with the powerful and effective working of the engines, stopped the further advance of the fire on that side (the lower) of West Street. At 6 o'clock the further progress of the configuration on the other side of the street was effectually stopped by the occurrence of a lane and the shifting of the wind which blew a storm throughout the night to the north-west. The same shift of wind, however, flung back the flames upon the "Pier Hotel," and thence they extended to the houses between it and the Town pier in High Street. These houses, it was previously presumed, have been fortunately preserved by the partial cessation of the fire at the "Pier Hotel," but as it extended down to the river-side, and seized on the warehouses and wharfs, all of which, between the Town-pier and the "Talbot Hotel," it consumed, the wind wafted the flames from them back towards the pier, which being of timber, was itself in danger of destruction.

The Rev. Mr. Joynes, rector of Gravesend, had the church and churchyard thrown open for reception of the goods of those persons whose property was placed in jeopardy, and ordered the church to be lighted up.

It is said that there were on the premises of Mr. Troughton, ironmonger, no less than 2cwt of gunpowder, which was fortunately removed before the flames extended to the premises.

Lieutenant-Colonel Kelly, (who, commanded the detachment of troops from Tilbury Fort,) the Mayor, Mr. Oakes, Mr. North, the superintendent of police, and many of the respectable inhabitants of the town, exerted themselves in the most indefatigable manner in directing the efforts of the fireman, the military, and the police.

The banks of Messrs. Hills, M'Rae, and Co., in West Street, was burnt down, but the deeds and other important papers in the hands of the concerned, as well as their books, &c., were fortunately saved.

In addition to the town engines, the officers in charge of the Ordnance department at East Gravesend sent two engines, with a strong detachment of Rifles and of the 38th Regiment, the latter under the, command of Major Kelly, the Governor of Tilbury Fort. These engines, with those from Chatham, Northfleet, and Dartford, were kept playing the entire morning; and it was not until 12 o'clock that the flames were effectively mastered. It was the opinion of several competent engineers who inspected the ruins during the day, that had the wind blown in any other direction than it did, the greater part of the town would have been destroyed, owing to the great number of the wooden erections here.


Some idea may be formed of the magnitude of the fire by the subjoined report of the engineers of the brigade force; but it is expected that there are many other losses that have escaped their notice, in consequence of the great excitement that prevailed.

West Street (water-side) Number 74. Mr. Garrett, grocer and tea dealer; dwelling house and shop destroyed, warehouse and stores at the back front in the river also consumed. Mr. Garrett is insured in the Sun Fire-office for 700, which will not cover his loss by nearly 2,000. Buildings insured in the Kent office.

Number 75. Jointly occupied by Mrs. Cross, greengrocer, and Mr. Hoff, draper; double house. Burnt down.

Number 74. Mr. Patties eating housekeeper; dwelling house, shop, and waterside premises destroyed. Supposed to be only partly insured.

Number 72. The "Pope's Head Tavern," occupied by Mr. Gould; front and back premises, with a spacious dining room facing the Thames, consumed. Building and contents partly insured in the Kent Fire-office.

Number 71. Mr. Dixon, beer-shop keeper; front and waterside premises totally destroyed; supposed not to be insured.

Number 70. Mr. Eversfield, sail-maker; warehouse and stores consume; not insured.

Number 69. Mr. Carlin, hatter and cap-maker; shop, dwelling house, and back premises burnt down.

Number 68. Cooperage, and provisions warehouse and stores, belonging to Mr. Valance and others, destroyed; partially insured in the County-office. The loss here estimated at 2,500.

Number 67. "Beehive" public house, Mr. Pettit; burnt down.

Number 64. A fishmongers burnt down.

Number 65. "Talbot Tavern," slightly injured; all the waterside premises (capable dining 800 persons) destroyed.

Opposite side of the street. - The banking house of Messrs. Hills, M'kae, and others, totally destroyed; books, papers, and cash were saved. Insured in the Kent Fire-office.

Dwelling house and shop occupied by Mr. Taylor, baker and ship biscuit maker, burnt down. Not insured.

Mr. Goodsall, hairdresser, house and shop destroyed. Partly insured.

Shop and dwelling house of Mr. Owen, chemist, totally consumed.

Mrs. Petitt, eating house, keeper, the entire premises destroyed.

Mr. Beard, ships butcher, shop and dwelling house burnt down.

Shop and dwelling of Mr. Edwards, grocer, burnt down.

The premises of Mr. Skillen, greengrocer, consumed.

Mr George Backstraw, baker, house, and shop destroyed.

Shop and premises of Mr. Roxbury, fishmonger, consumed.

Mr. Hoton, fishmonger, the entire building burnt down.

Suter;s Alley on the south side of West Street - The dwelling Numbers, 1, 2, 3, and 4, partyly gutted. The inmates, poor labouring families, not insured.

New Court, on the same side as West Street - The houses Numbers, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8, the property of Mr. C. Johnson, auctioneer, Gravesend, burnt down. Occupied by the poorer class, none of whom are insured.

High Street, "Pier Hotel," at the north-east corner of West Street, occupied by Mr. Lovel, destroyed. Insured in the Phoenix office.

Number 6. Mr. Roe, hatter and general outfitter, burnt down.

Number 5. Dwelling and shop destroyed.

Number 4. Mr. Tufnell, fishmonger, premises consumed.

Mr. Troughton, ironmonger and agent for the alliance Fire-office (the south-east corner of West Street,) partly destroyed.

There are a great many other damages occasioned by hasty removal of goods, furniture &c,; they, however, are not as much amount. The total loss is roughly estimated at between 30,000 and 40,000; the chief bulk of which will fall on the Kent, County, Phoenix, Sun, Alliance, Licensed Victualler's, and Royal Exchange insurance offices.

During Saturday the principal insurance officers were engaged in ascertaining the sums in which the officers were interested. The total amount of insurance at present known will be only 27,000.

On Friday night owing to a great body of heat in the place, a fresh outbreak occurred in the "Pier Hotel," and it was owing only to the extraordinary exertions of the police and firemen that the work of destruction was not again proved most disastrous. To add to the misfortune, whilst the engines were working on Friday night, the main water pipe in the district burst, so that for the last 3 hours no water could be obtained from that source. A number of men have been set to work in laying down fresh pipes.

From the report of the surveyors, it appears that the actual damage is dwelling houses totally destroyed, 30; warehouses and sheds burnt down, 4; houses pulled down, 2; considerable damage, 5; slightly damaged, &c, 5; total 46.

It is calculated that the three fires that have occurred in the town during the last 3 years, upwards of 100 houses and other premises have been destroyed, while the loss of property will be little short of 100,000.

A diligent enquiry has been made to endeavour to ascertain how the fire originated, but as yet without success.

A requisition has been presented to the Mayor to convene a public meeting to take into consideration the best means of giving effect to the powers of the Act for the Prevention of Suppression of Fires; the Mayor has in consequence convened a meeting for next Wednesday next.

Another fire.

On Saturday evening, about 7, a fire broke out upon the premises in the occupation of Mr. Baker, greengrocer, at the corner of Bentley Street, Gravesend. Information was it once furnished to Loder, the engineer of a Brigade, who was attending the ruins in West Street at the time, and then a few minutes he dispatched Perry and Carter to the spot. The fire had by this time obtained considerable hold of the bed, bedding, furniture, and skirting boards of the room, and was rapidly extending upwards, when the firemen rushed in and tore out the bed furniture and well saturated the floors with water, which happily had the effect of staying the progress of the fire. Considerable injury, however, is done to the contents and building.

The occupier is insured.


(Read more of the account here.) It changed name to the "Middle 8" for a time but is now (2017) a coffee bar/cafe called the "Mug & Meeple."



MOORE Charles 1832-34+ Pigot's Directory 1832-34

COLNETT John 1840-41+ (also Dealer & Chapman)

LOVEL Mr 1846

Last pub licensee had LIGHTFOOT Richard 1851+ (age 54 in 1851Census)

LANE Joshua 1855-58+

BETTS E 1862+

BEARD Edward Froud 1865-82+ (widower age 47 in 1881Census)

BEARD Margaret Mrs 1891+

HOMEWOOD James L 1901+ (age 39 in 1901Census)

HOMEWOOD Frederick 1903+ Kelly's 1903

HOMEWOOD James Thomas 1913+

AYRES Thomas 1922+

COX 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:-