Sort file:- Rochester, October, 2021.

Page Updated:- Friday, 15 October, 2021.


Earliest 1863-

City Arms

Latest 1976+

High Street/West Gate


City Arms 1863

Above photo taken in 1863.


The "City Arms" in High Street was on the corner of West Gate, now called the Esplanade can be seen in 1863 from the above photograph. However, further research shows that alterations were made in 1861 which suggested its part demolition


From the Maidstone Telegraph, Rochester and Chatham Gazette, 23 November 1861.

Rochester and Chatham.

The wardens have decided on completing the approaches to Rochester Bridge on the city side, which will necessitate the demolition of a portion of the ancient "Crown Hotel," together with the "City Arms Tavern," and the adjoining buildings. A large hotel is to be erected on the present "Crown Inn."


Peter Greening tells me that this is now the site of the "Royal Crown."

Ind Coope & Co Ltd purchased the pub which at the time was more a restaurant from Budden & Biggs Brewery Ltd by conveyance and assignment dated 23 March 1931. The premises only held a beer license.


From the Chatham News, Friday, 7 July, 1939.

City Arms dats trophy 1939

Mr. A. Hopper, presenting the Ind Coope Darts Cup to Mr. M. Bates, captain of the "City Arms" team, which won the trophy, at the "City Arms," Rochester, on Tuesday. Also in the picture are Mr. Harry Jones, the licensee, and Mrs. and Miss Jones.


The Stage, Thursday 11 November 1976.

Kentish is where the hops really come from. That fact alone makes the County pubs Country! And pubs are big business on the showbiz front today. You can forget the idea that down here that all the pubs are oak-beamed and full of yokels moving at a snail's pace.

Entertainment is IN at the INNS take my word. No, don't take my word just listen to the people I've been talking to in an in-depth round up.


Over to Rochester's "City Arms," go-go dancers, strippers and drag are regular attractions.

Landlord Vic Gillham-Hill said. "I realised the fair time ago that these days you have got to have something other than drinking. You must have entertainment. I think people here are all for it because before quite a few used to go to London for their evening's out.

Roy Burgess, chairman of Medway Licensed Victuallers Association, representing scores of pubs said he felt more and more pubs were now putting on entertainment and added, "I know there has been a growth towards more old fashioned entertainment such as Saturday night sing-alongs with a pianist organist."


Chatham's "Elephant and Castle" was packed last week when for the first time ever a stripper (Jill St. Jannes) was presented in the saloon bar. The place was packed. But it is only a prelude to what mine host Terry Lomond has planned for the pub in the future.

The "Old Ash Tree." Bang on the A2 (the old Roman Road) is enjoying tremendous success most nights and can offer patrons a varied programme including country and western artists, full-scale banjos, groups and the like.

Last week it was the centre for Truman's search for a band talent show, with successful entrants going on to the Lyceum.

One of the winning outfits was a Johnny Carroll Showband which has played the "Old Ash Tree" often and with great success.

Johnny told me. "Pubs are full of atmosphere, - the sort of atmosphere you once got in the theatre. We're back where it all began, let's face it."

Roger Dunne recently took over the "Marlborough" on the Strood outskirts and the first thing he decided to install were entertainers.

He said:- "At the moment my licence only covers a maximum of two performers which restricts me to basics like a pianist and drummer, or organist and singer. For the moment it is sufficient to attract. You have to remember, too, that most pubs in Kent were never constructed or designed for entertainment on a big scale. It would be silly to try and cram in big outfits, if props and band gear left no room for customers! The move back into pubs, however, is growing and fast.

Guitarist singer Ted Connolly was struggling for spots in club cabaret nights a couple of years back.

Now listen to him. "I'm constantly turning down work; there isn't a day passes when at least two licensees ring me. At the present rate I could work pubs for the next three years."

Ted's attraction to a licensee is that he is truly portable and takes so little room in the bar - and has a big repertoire of songs that go across the board. He is also an excellent guitarists.

The "Malta Inn," beautifully set on the banks of the river Medway, near Maidstone, is a hot spot for music. The electric organ is a big attraction and draws people like bees to a honey pot - which is more than a jukebox ever did in a pub.

It would be foolish to pretend that all pubs are going into show business. Many tiny village pubs resist change mainly because their patrons regard the premises as a haven from the hurly-burly. But some rural pubs, nestling on spots wear inns have been for hundreds of years are changing.

Like the "Falstaff," at Higham, bang opposite the house in which Charles Dickens lived and died. The old reformist would, I suspect, approve of the changes in his "local," although he might have found it difficult to concentrate on writing on Sunday lunch times when a regular jazz band goes into action.

But then, shouldn't we all put our pens down on a Sunday?

I think I will - and pop out for a ginger ale.

Jimmy Hodge Jnr.



LOFT John 1824+

MOORE William 1828-32+ Pigot's Directory 1828-29Pigot's Directory 1832-34

PEARSON Mary Ann 1847-58+ (widow age 45 in 1851Census)

LUCKFORD/LUCHFORD James 1861-62+ (age 61 in 1861Census)

ADAMS Thomas 1874+

GREENSLADE Thomas 1881-91+ (age 50 in 1881Census)

STEWART Frederick 1903+

HARROW Frances Ida Miss 1911-13+

MOSS Percy S 1918-22+

JONES Henry 1930-50+ (age 52 in 1939)



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:-