Sort file:- Chatham, May, 2022.

Page Updated:- Wednesday, 04 May, 2022.


Earliest 1754-

Old Barn

Latest 1976+

(Name to)

331a High Street (and Brook)


Old Barn 1965

Above photo circa 1965. Kindly sent by Jennifer Bilcher.


Up to and including 1874 the premises was listed as being at 189 High Street.

Changed name to the "Chequered Flag" some time in the late 1990s.

The Licensing Records of 1872 stated the premises held a Full License and was owned by Edward Winch of Chatham.


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.



From the Derby Mercury 2 Jan 1756.

Chatham Dec 31st Entrenchments are going to be made round the dockyard for which purpose several officers and engineers are arrived and this morning all inhabitants from the end of Smithfield Bank beginning at the sign of the "Old Barn" and so on to Hill House are ordered to quit their houses in 30 days which are at the expiration of that time to be pulled down. The men belonging to the two regiments quartered here and at Maidstone are to work on these intended fortifications and are to be allowed 6d per diem over and above their proper allowance and tomorrow they will begin all the utensils etc being ready.


Sometime in the late 20th century (anyone have a date?) the "Old Barn" changed its name to the "Chequered Flag" and "Shades Bar," then in 2001 its name was changed again, becoming "Bar 21." In 2006 it finally closed down and became a Chinese Restaurant.


From the Kentish Gazette, Tuesday, 6 November, 1798.


To be sold by auction, by Green and Son, on Thursday, No. 8, 1798, between the hours of 12 and 2 in the afternoon, at Mr. Kitualer's, the sign of the "Old Barn," Chatham, the following piece or parcels of underwood, subject to such conditions of sale, as shall be then and there are produced.

Lot 1. Two and a half acres of underwood, more or less, growing in the woods called Luton Woods, in the parish of Chatham, being of 18 years growth.

Lot 2. Five acres of underwood, more or less growing in the woods called Luton Wood, in the parish of Chatham, being 15 years growth.

Particulars may be known by applying to Mr. Hayes, the wood reeve, near the sign of the "Hen and Chickens," at Luton, who will show the aforesaid underwoods.


Dover Express, Friday 09 February 1906.


Objections have been lodged against no fewer than 45 licensed houses in the Rochester Division, on the ground that they are in excess of requirements. Last year 23 were objected to, and the Quarter Sessions approved the action of the Magistrates of the Division in nearly every case. Objection has also been served in the case of the "Old Barn Inn," Chatham, on the ground that it has a double entrance (High Street and the Brook.)


Above information from Ben Levick

The mention of the "Old Barn" in the above article suggest that this pub was originally in Smithfield Bank/the Brook. In looking into local pub licences I noticed that in 1754-5 William Bowls was listed as licensee of the "Old Barn" located in Chatham North Borough (this area covered the Brook north from King Street and the associated streets behind it, 'old Chatham' around the church and SW Brompton - Lower Wood Street, Middle Street, Westcourt Street and River Row). From 1756-61 he is still listed as landlord of the "Old Barn," but now in Middle Borough (approx the High Street and streets between there and the Brook from Globe Lane to the junction of the Brook and High Street, and the Brook and associated back streets from King Street to the High Street junction) although in 1756 the licence was issued as a new licence. This makes sense as the "Old Barn" remained in the High Street, at the eastern end (approximately opposite the end of Church St.), until the late 20th century. This suggests that when his property in the Brook was demolished, Mr. Bowls moved to new premises in the high street to continue his business. Presumably he was not the only resident of 'old Chatham' to do this.

This information may also help solve another Brook/Smithfield Bank mystery and in the process give an exact location for the original Old Barn. I noticed in mid 19th century records that the old "Army and Navy" pub in the Brook (later "Churchills," now just called The Brook) was always listed as no.7 the Brook (even before Chatham's renumbering c.1879/80), but I found no maps showing lower numbered buildings on the site later occupied by the Town Hall. This might suggest that the "Old Barn" was situated on the corner of Whiffens Avenue and the Brook where the town hall now stands, and would have been No.5 The Brook.


From an email received 21 February 2015.

My parents were tenants of this public house (Mr & Mrs Clifford, Albert Jones and Lydia, Sarah Jones) just before it became known as the "Chequered Flag."

It was a courage house at the time. My father was quite active in the early days representing the local publicans interest at courage brewery meetings.

We lived there from 1966 until 1976 and it was called the "Old Barn".

The smaller bar to the rear of the property was not used by my father at the time. I often used to play there. It looked like time had stood still back there, lots of old wood, original beer pumps etc.

I do have at least one photo of the pub while we lived there. I will find it and scan it to send to you for your research.

I think my father also spoke of another name used for this pub was the "Coach & horses" in the past.

I know another "Coach & Horses" also existed they were further along from us towards Luton arches. Where Tescos now stands.

I would also be interested in finding out whether our pub was actually standing when Charles Dickens lived in the Brook after leaving 2 Ordnance Terrace. Sometime between 1812 and 1817. I know he often returned to Chatham, it brought back fond memories to him, as it does to me. The dockyard was still thriving in the late 60's early 70's and we were a naval pub. My father collected ship plaques (many hung behind the bar) and had a good relationship with the Navy customers.

Our home, the living area beyond the bar and upstairs had a special atmosphere for me. We had open fireplaces on every floor and sash windows. We would sit looking down on the highstreet from our bedroom windows on summer evenings enjoying watching the people passing by. Some of course commenting to us. We also watched Easter parades from the same windows. My bedroom, shared with my younger sister was the one on the right in the picture on the second floor. We used the first floor on this side of house as one big "Playing room" we had 2 pianos in it and some odd bits and pieces. The loft was quite spooky and I didn't much like going up the last flight of stairs. We even dared to sit on the roof sometimes again in summer with our cousin. Not that our parents knew of course. We climbed out a side window in the attic room to the left of picture and sat behind some concrete balcony posts. Extremely dangerous I'm sure. The cellar was absolutely spooky. My mother refused to go down into it on her own late at night. You could people pass by over the wooden delivery doors outside on the pavement.

Jennifer Bilcher.



BOWLES William 1754-61

DAVIS Gideon 1762-63+

MORYLS Benjamin 1793+ Trade Directory 1793


STREETER E R 1828+ Pigot's Directory 1828-29

ESSINHIGH Rowland S 1832+ Pigot's Directory 1832-34 (180 High Street)

PAYNE George 1840+

BLACKMAN Richard John 1858-79+ (age 47 in 1871Census) Licensing Records 1872

HODSELL James G 1881-82+ (age 36 in 1881Census)

BRUNT William 1891+

HOBART Harry 1901-03+ (age 36 in 1901Census) Kelly's 1903

HUDSON Alfred Ernest 1911-13+ (age 33 in 1911Census)

DENTON Alfred 1922+

McBRIDE John 1930+

PUGH John 1938+

JONES Clifford Albert 1966-76


Trade Directory 1793Universal British Directory of Trade 1793

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


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:-