Sort file:- Chatham, December, 2018.

Page Updated:- Friday, 21 December, 2018.


Earliest 1806-

Chest Arms

Latest ????

55 (57) High Street



The "Crest Arms" had the "Crest Arms Tap" situated at the back. This was listed under Inns and Hotels in Pigot's Directory of 1828.

The 1858 directory called it the "Chest Hotel and Commercial Inn."

The 1871 census listed a John Hanninger, Plasterer, age 43, as being the head of the "Crest Arms Tap."

In 1872 the premises was owned by James Hulkes of Frindsbury.


Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal 03 June 1806.


On Saturday morning, aged 15, Mr. S. Chaney son of Mr. Chaney, of the "Chest Arms Tavern," Chatham; he was lately a midshipman on board the Agincourt.


Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal 22 January 1808.

CHATHAM, Jan. 19.

Yesterday the New Rooms at the "Chest Arms Tavern," which have been finished and fitted in a style of considerable elegance and convenience, were fitted for the reception of the Pokerian Society, for whose use it is principally intended. About 130 of the principal Members of that extensive and respectable Club sat down to an elegant dinner, provided by Brother Chany. After dinner the glass circulated freely with "Friendship, Love, and Harmony" till a late hour.


Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal, Friday 06 March 1818.

On Sunday night or Monday morning, a room being part of the premises of the "Chest Arms Tavern," in this town, in which Mr. Chany keeps a deposit of beer, spirits, tobacco, &c., for the accommodation of his customers on the wharf at the back of the house, was broke open, and robbed of all the spirits and tobacco it contained, a quantity of beer, which was pumped up by the machine, and twenty-two large flint glass rummers. The thieves got off with their booty undiscovered.


From Liverpool Mercury, Friday, June 19, 1829.


Copied from the London Gazette, June 12,1829.

Alexander Bernard, "Chest Arms Inn", Chatham, Kent.


Kentish Gazette 14 January 1834.


Jan. 4. at Chatham, aged 70, Mr. Thomas Chanay, formerly of the "Chest Arms."


From the South Eastern Gazette, 6 December 1853.


On Friday night last, at about half-past nine o'clock, a violent explosion took place at the Gillingham gas works near St. Mary's barracks, Brompton, by which the lives of two men, named John Rensby Culyer and William Hall, have been sacrificed.

It appears that the Messrs. Rickon have been engaged for several months past in erecting extensive gas works near the river Medway, at Gillingham. The works had been proceeded with all possible despatch, and at the time of the explosion were in so forward a state that a supply of gas would have been ready by the next night. During the whole of Friday evening the workmen were engaged, under the immediate superintendence of Mr. Rickon, in charging the gasometer, a large quantity of gas having been admitted. A loud noise attracting the attention of the men, it was at once suspected that there was something wrong, and Culyer, the engineer, accompanied by Hall, ascended to the top of the gasometer to discover what was amiss, foolishly taking a light with them. Mr. Rickson advised Culyer not to go that evening, but he appeared not to have attended to the directions given. On the two men reaching the top the escape of gas must have come in contact with the flame, for immediately after a loud explosion took place, bursting the top of the gasometer, which was lifted some height, and tearing of three of the new pillars or “guide lines."

The body of Culyer was found in the tank of the gasometer, frightfully disfigured, and quite dead. The body of Hall had not been discovered on Sunday evening, but it was supposed to be lying beneath the gasometer. At the time of the explosion there were several persons in and about the premises, none of whom were hurt. It is a rather singular circumstance that one of the persons who has met with his death was the individual who got Mrs. Henniker out of the ruins at the recent fatal explosion of fireworks, at Chatham, and carried her across the street to the "Chest Arms."

Owing to this untoward accident it will be some time before the works are in a fit state to supply the parish of Gillingham with gas.


The inquest was held yesterday (Monday) morning, at the "Green Dragon" on the bodies of the unfortunate men. John Ormsby Culyer and John Richard Hall, who were killed by the explosion.

Mr. Shindler, solicitor, attended to watch the proceedings for the Messrs. Rickon.

The Coroner and jury having viewed the bodies which lay at the the gas-house, the following evidence was taken.

Mr. Weeks, surgeon, at Brompton, deposed that he was called on Friday night to the gas-works. The body of Culver was then lying near the retort-house and quite dead. The body had been taken out of the gasometer tank, having been thrown in by the force of the explosion Witness made an external examination, and discovered a severe bruise on the right side of the head. The cause of death was from drowning, the blow on the head having no doubt stunned him.

John James Rickson, the manager at the works, deposed that they had been forcing gas into the holder all day on Friday, having commenced at 4 o’clock. About 9 o’clock in the evening, witness was sitting in the retort-house, telling a workman what to do, when the deceased (Culyer) came in; witness had not seen him since Monday afternoon. The deceased was in very high spirits. Witness at this time was congratulating the workman that the third charge just driven in would forca the crown of the holder out. Two charges, each of 49lbs. of coal, had been driven in, the mixture causing what was known as "choke damp." Deceased called for a candle, went out with Hall, and ascending to the top of the holder, on his return said that everything was going on right. As far as witness could judge Culyer was perfectly sober. When deceased arrived at the top of the holder, Hall turned the tap of the standpipe, to which he applied a light, when there appeared a beautiful blue flame about the size of a pea. When Colyer went to the top witness felt a peculiar sense of dread come over him. Deceased put out the flame and returned to the retort-house. On finding that the burner in the retort-house would not burn, they proceeded to the top of the holder a second, and subsequently a third time, on each occasion taking the lighted candle with them, trying the same experiment. On the third occasion witness saw Culver apply the light as before, and for a few seconds no flame appeared from the pipe, but witness saw the light of the candle as if drawn into the pipe. The gas holder then rose bodily, and when it was not able to resist the force, the explosion took place. The holder was rent asunder, and the men went down into it. Culyer’s body was taken out, quite dead, a few minutes afterwards, but Hall's was not discovered till Sunday night.

Henry Beaumont, one of the workmen in the retort-house, hearing the explosion, ran out. Heard Culyer struggle in the water and groan two or three times, when taken out he was quite dead.

Mr. Pope was also examined, who proved assisting to get Culyer’s body out of the water.

The jury, after a few remarks from the coroner, returned a verdict, “That the deceased John Ormsby Culyer was killed by an explosion at the gas works, but whether drowned or suffocated by gas there was not sufficient evidence to show.


Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser 02 January 1865.


William Wilson and Jane Wilson, man and wife, the latter remanded from Wednesday, charged with stealing a flannel petticoat, stockings and other articles, the property of Mr. Wilson landlord of the "Chest Arms," Chatham, were again placed at the bar. Several witnesses were examined, amongst them being the prosecutor, prosecutor's wife, Sarah Lorden (female searcher at the county magistrates), and Police-constable Kilby, from whose evidence there appeared little doubt that the male prisoner, with the assistance of his wife, stole the articles. Both were fully committed for trial.


Maidstone Telegraph. 5 June 1869.

Chatham local board of health rights.

Mr. T. Hills, Clerk to the local board of health, appeared to support two applications to recover payment of arrears of rates. The summonses were adjourned from last week to enable the defendant's to have professional assistance.

On the cases being called the defendant answered but no solicitor appeared for them.

The first case was against James Wilson late landlord of the "Chester Arms Tap," who disputed payment on the grounds that he had left the house before the rates became payable, but after a brief investigation it was clearly established that the defendant was legally liable to pay the rates and the magistrates made the usual order for payment.

The defendant said he would not pay unless a distress warrant was issued. He did not mean to pay for other people.



CHANEY Mr 1806+

MATHER Thomas 1808+

CHANY Mr 1818+

WARMAN Thomas 1828+ Pigot's Directory 1828-29

BERNARD Alexander to June/1828

CHAMPION Benjamin 1832+ Pigot's Directory 1832-34

CHANEY Thomas to Jan/1834 dec'd

FRANCIS William 1858-62+

WILSON James 1865+

HARCUS Selina Mrs1871-74+ Licensing Records 1872 (age 47 in 1871Census)

CHARD Henry 1881+ (age 55 in 1881Census)


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

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

Licensing Records 1872Licensing Records 1872



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