Earliest 1769-

Bull Inn

Latest 1901+

(Name to)

16 High Street


Bull Hotel

Above postcard, date unknown.

Bull Inn staircase

Above postcard, date unknown, kindly sent by Mark Jennings. Postcard titled "In Dicken's Room, Staircase"

Tupman's Room at the Bull

Above postcard, date unknown, showing the inside of the Tupman's Room. Kindly sent by Mark Jennings.

Rochester map 1866

Identified on the 1866 map above as the dark green building, bottom.

Bull Hotel 1906

Above postcard, date 1906, kindly sent by Mark Jennings.

Bull Inn

Above photo, date unknown.


Above postcard, date unknown.

Bull Inn

Above postcard showing the courtyard of the "Bull Inn" date unknown.

Bull Hotel

Above postcard, date unknown, kindly sent by Mark Jennings. Also showing the "White Hart" on the left.

Bull Inn Wills cigarette cardBull Inn Wills cigarette card

Above image showing the back and front of the Will cigarette cards, Old Inns series.


The "Bull Hotel," became the "Bull and Royal Victoria Hotel" after the death of Queen Victoria, she had stayed there twice in 1836 and 1855.

Charles Dickens also stayed there and mentions it in two of his novels, “Great Expectations” as the "Blue Boar" and by its own name in “Pickwick Papers”.


From the Kentish Gazette or Canterbury Chronicle, Wednesday 31 May to Saturday 3 June, 1769. Price 2˝d.


The Commissioners for Paving Rochester and Strood, and making a new Road from the “Star” in Eastgate to Chatham Hill, are earnestly requested to observe that Thursday the 8th of June is the Day appointed for them to meet at the “Bull Inn” in Rochester, to receive Proposals, and to contract for carrying the desired Plan into immediate Execution.

George Taylor, Clerk.


From the Kentish Gazette or Canterbury Chronicle, Wednesday 31 May to Saturday 3 June, 1769. Price 2˝d.


Notice is hereby given, that a meeting of the Commissioners, for paving the High Street and Lanes of the City of Rochester and Parish of Strood, in the County of Kent; and for making a Road through Star Lane across certain Fields adjoining thereto, to Chatham Hill, in the said County; is appointed to be held at the “Bull Inn” in Rochester, on Thursday the eighth Day of June next, at ten o'clock in the Forenoon; when they will receive Proposals from any Persons, who shall be desirous to contract with them for making a new Road from the “Star” in Eastgate across certain Fields adjoining thereto, to Chatham Hill aforesaid.

And also for paving the Carriageway of a High Street of the City of Rochester, from a Lane called Bridge Lane, to the School-house in Eastgate, with Scots, North Ferry, Wynn, Quarry Stone, Nine Inches deep, from Five to Three Inches at Top, and the Bottom Five-sevenths of its Thickness, and Nine inches in Length.

Also for paving the Carriage way from the Pump in Strood to the Foot of Rochester Bridge, with Scots, North-Ferry, Wynn, Quarry Stone, Nine Inches deep, from Five to Three inches at Top, and the Bottom Five-sevenths of its Thickness, and Nine inches in length.

And also for paving the Carriage-way from the School-house aforesaid to the “Star” in Eastgate, with Kentish Blue Stone, scabbed and squared, Nine Inches deep, from Five to Three Inches at Top, and the Bottom Five-seventh of its Thickest, and Nine Inches in Length.

And also for paving a new-making a Foot-way from Bridge Lane aforesaid to the “Star” in Eastgate, with Moor Stone Kirb, Seven Inches thick by Twelve Inches in Width, the same to be completed and finished with Yorkshire Ealing Hedge, of Two Inches and a half thick.

And also for paving and making a Foot-way, from the Pump in Strood to the Foot of Rochester Bridge aforesaid, with moor Stone Kirb, Seven Inches thick by Twelve Inches in Width, the same to be finished and completed with Yorkshire Ealing Hedge of Two Inches and a half thick.

The Contractor or Contractors to be at all Charges in pulling up and carrying away the old Materials to such places as the Commissioners or their Surveyor shall direct or appoint; and to raise the Ground to such a Level as shall be directed and formed; and to be at all other incidental Charges whatsoever; and each Contractor is to produce a Sample of Stone at the said meeting.

Any Persons, willing to contract as above, are desired to deliver their proposals for that Purpose, to Mr. George Taylor, Attorney, at Chatham, in Writing, sealed up, at any Time on or before the said Eighth of June.

By Order of the Commissioners.

George Taylor, Clerk.


From Kentish Gazette 15 June 1771.


Whereas a Report has been industriously propagated, that Hester Heath, of the "Bull Inn" in the city of Rochester, has made a Charge of One Shilling per Mile, for her Post chaises; which Report she has been credibly inform'd, has already tended to her Prejudice. She therefore begs Leave to assure the Public, that she never has charged as reported, but that her Chaises do and will continue Running at the usual Price of Nine Pence per Mile, at which Price, those of the Nobility and Gentry, who shall please to honour her with their Company, will have easy Carriages, with able Horses and careful Drivers, and the best Accommodations of every Kind, will be supply'd on the lowest Terms,

By their most obedient humble Servant,



Kentish Gazette 04 August 1786.


Notice is hereby Given, That the Commissioners for executing an Act of Parliament, passed in the Ninth Year of his present Majesty's Reign for paving, etc. the High Streets and Lanes in the Parish of Saint Nicholas, within the City of Rochester and Parish of Strood in the County of Kent, and other Purposes, will be ready at their next Meeting, to be held at the "Bull Inn," in the City of Rochester, on Tuesday the 22d Day of August instant, at Eleven o'Clock in the Forenoon, to receive Proposals for contracting with any Person or Persons for the providing Oil, Cotton, and all Materials necessary, and for the cleansing and lighting the lamps. Repairs, etc.


From Newcastle Courant 18 October 1800.

On Sunday afternoon a post-chaise and four drove into the "Bull Inn" at Rochester, which was immediately followed by a custom-house officer. Upon searching, contraband lace a goods were found concealed in the lining of the chaise, to the amount of Ł4000 which were seized. The chaise and horses are of course forfeited.


From the Kentish Gazette, 3 January 1804. Price 6d.


TO be Sold by Auction, by Mr. BATTEN, on Friday the 13th day of January, 1804, at twelve o'clock at noon, at the “BULL INN,” Rochester, All those two substantial Brick Dwelling-houses, adjoining together, situate in the High Street of Rochester, with the appurtenances; one late in the occupation of Mr. William Francis, at the yearly rent of Ł42, but now of Mr. Edward Manclark, and the owner of Mr. William Phillips, at the yearly rent of Ł42.

These houses are freehold, but the back parts of the premises are held, as Castle Ditch, at Ł3, per annual rent.

To he viewed by applying to the tenants.

Further particulars may be known of Messrs. TWOPENNY, Rochester.


From the Maidstone Gazette and West Kent Courier, 5 June, 1827.

Mr. Green the aeronaut has announced his intention of ascending from the "Bull Inn" yard, Rochester, in his balloon on Wednesday next.


From The Essex Standard, and Colchester, Chelmsford, Maldon, Harwich, and General County Advertiser (Colchester, England ), Friday, March 20, 1835.


11 inst. after a short illness, aged 74, Mr. John Witham, of the "Lion Inn," Rayleigh, deeply lamented by his large family and numerous circle of friends, as a tender and affectionate father and husband, and as a sincerely esteemed neighbour for his ready generous acts of liberality and kindness, his loss will be sincerely regretted by many persons who knew him. Forty Years Since he was the highly respectable Landlord of the "Bull Inn," Rochester, Kent.


From the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald. 9 March 1901. Price 1d.


On Saturday morning shortly before two o'clock, the police discovered to be on fire the famous hostelry, the “Bull and Royal Victoria Hotel,” at which the late Queen Victoria stayed on more then one occasion daring the time of the Crimean War when visiting the sick and wounded soldiers invalided to this military station. The house has also been immortalised by Dickens in “Pickwick Papers.” At 1.55 River-Police-Sergeant Hill, when crossing the bridge, noticed smoke issuing from the cellar and the commercial room and gave the alarm at the Guildhall fire station opposite, and very quickly there was a strong muster of the Fire Brigade, under Captain C. D. Levy and Lieutenants E. Dobson and E. Lynch, and also of police, under Inspector Brooks. The inmates of the large establishment had been aroused at the earliest moment after the discovery, and were assisted to a place of safety by the police and others. In the meantime the Fire Brigade had succeeded in staying the progress of the outbreak and confining it to the commercial rooms, lavatories, and basement, and the old room known as the “Owl” parlour, the headquarters of a celebrated club, which at one time included among its members many distinguished Americans who had visited the historic city. The damage was considerable, notwithstanding the extraordinary success of the firemen in extinguishing the conflagration as they did. Smoke and water spoilt much valuable property where the fire had not reached; but fortunately the old staircase and chief apartments of the hotel are uninjured. The building and furniture are insured by the proprietor (Mr. Briggs) in the Royal Exchange office. The cause of the outbreak is unknown. Fortunately, there were very few visitors staying at the hotel at the time, and most of the commercial travellers had gone back to London for the week-end.


I will be adding the historical information when I find or are sent it, but this project is a very big one, and I do not know when or where the information will come from.

All emails are answered.



HEATH Hester 1771+

KING John Next pub licensee had to Aug/1786

WITHAM John to 1795

PATERNOSTER Mr 1815+ Kentish Chronicle

BALLARD Mary 1828-32+ Pigot's Directory 1828-29Pigot's Directory 1832-34

BIRCH Henry 1847+

FRY Sarah Jane Miss 1858+

TAYLOR Godfrey 1862+

SPONG Henry Summerfield 1870-74+

LAWRENCE Joseph 1891+

SNELL John Thomas 1911+

BURROWS Bernard B 1913+

OLIVER W H 1918-30+

Exors of OLIVER W H 1938+


Kentish ChronicleKentish Chronicle

Pigot's Directory 1828-29From the Pigot's Directory 1828-29

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


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