Sort file:- Gravesend, March, 2021.

Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.


Earliest 1802-

Parr's Head

Latest 1869+

High Street



I have found reference to this pub the once so far, and that was in Pigot's Directory of 1828.

This page will be updated as soon as further information is found.


From the Illustrated London News, 17 August, 1850.


1850 fire looking west

Above engraving showing the fire looking West.

A most extensive and destructive fire occurred in Gravesend on Sunday morning last, at about two o’clock. The fire was first observed in the house of Mr. J. Adlington, a grocer and tea-dealer, No. 65, in the High-street, nearly-facing the Town Hall, and it was at that time very inconsiderable; but in the absence of a supply of water it made rapid progress, and before the residents became aware of its existence the back of their dwellings in Church-alley, High-street, and Princes-street were cracking with the intense heat.

1850 fire looking north

Above engraving showing the High Street fire looking north.

The High-street is, considering it is the principal place of business in the town, an exceedingly narrow thoroughfare, not sufficiently wide in any part for two vehicles to pass without inconvenience. At the back of this street was Princes-street, whilst West-street bounded the northern end, and Church-alley ran at the southern extremity of the "White Hart Inn." The whole clump of buildings standing within these boundaries was about 50 or 60, and covered probably a couple of acres of ground. Many of these, notwithstanding that they were three or four stories high, and contained goods of some thousand pounds value, were constructed principally of timber, so that the officers of police became aware that, unless strenuous exertions were made, some of the inhabitants must lose their lives. They therefore aroused the whole of the occupants of those premises. In a very short space of time the town engines, together with those of the Custom House, and of Mr. Plane’s (the Mayor) brewery, were on the spot; and a supply of water from the mains of the water-works having been promptly got, every effort was made to subdue the fire, which by this time had extended itself to the house adjoining Mr. Adlinton’s. The wind blew rather fresh from the south-west, sweeping the flames over the houses down the High-street towards the Town-pier. The engines, though well worked and abundantly supplied with water, gained no influence over the fire, which had at about three o’clock extended to seven houses on that (the western) side of the street. The engine from Tilbury Fort, accompanied by a body of troops, having now arrived, more vigorous, but equally unavailing efforts were made to stay the further progress of the fire, which had, at soon after three o’clock, crossed the street, seizing first upon the extensive premises of Mr. Young, butcher. From there the flames spread to the houses all down the eastern side of the street, including the County Bank, the Savings-Bank, the "Kent Tavern," Brinchley’s Distillery, &c. The High-street, on both sides from the Town-hall downwards, to within a short distance of the Town Pier, was at four o’clock completely enveloped in flames, which, when they involved the premises of Mr. Troughton, tallow-chandler, and an oil-shop and chemist’s shop contiguous to it, formed an awful conflagration. At this time, all hope of preserving a single house between the Town-hall and the pier was abandoned by all parties, notwithstanding that the Dartford and Rochester engines had arrived, and a prodigious volume of water was discharged on the whole line of burning houses on both sides of the street. There was, fortunately, sufficient time to save the cash-boxes and the securities and other documents of the County and Savings Banks, which were taken to the Customhouse, all the officers of which were actively engaged, with the military police, and townspeople, in working the engines. Comparatively little property was saved from the fire, which, between five and six o’clock, had completely destroyed twenty-four houses (as the annexed list will show) on both sides of High-street, independently of several houses in Princes-street and the courts leading out of High-street, between the Town-hall and the Pier. A telegraphic communication from the railway station, at the instance of the Mayor (Mr. Plane), having been made to the London-bridge station, a body of the Fire Brigade and two engines were as soon as possible despatched from London, and arrived in Gravesend at about twenty minutes to seven o'clock. The work of destruction was then done, the fire having been providentially stayed in its progress down the High-street, and extending backwards to Princes-street, by a change of wind to the north and westward at six o’clock. The assistance of the Brigade, with their powerful engines and practised skill, was, however, effectual in suppressing the fire still bursting forth from the mighty mass of ruins—all that remained of the property destroyed.

There is much suspicion entertained respecting the origin of the fire, which, it is thought, began not in the house of Adlington, but in a cigar shop, next door, kept by a man named Reed.

The general body of trades-people and inhabitants of the town are loud in their complaints against the corporation in not having an efficient corps of firemen and engines established, after the warning they received by the two previous fires, which it will be recollected consumed the greater part of the lower portion of Gravesend.

The largest building among the premises burnt down was used as the London and County Bank. It occupied much ground on the east side of High-street, close to the Town-hall, and with its contents was insured for 10,000. The clerks succeeded in saving the whole of the books, cash, and pipers belonging to the bank.

It was supposed that a man named Vallance had lost his life during the raging of the fire by the floors of one of the houses in High-street falling on him. We are happy to say it is not so; the police have ascertained that he escaped.

It is the general opinion of the inhabitants in the town, that had the corporation telegraphed for the London engines when the fire was crossing high-street, instead of waiting three hours, a very large portion of the property would have been preserved.

The loss, as estimated by the surveyors of the various London insurance companies. is 80,000. The offices that will principally suffer are the following, and the amounts are reported thus:—Kent Fire-office, 10,000; Globe, 8000, Royal Exchange, 8000, Alliance, 4000; Norwich Union, 7000; Phoenix, 7000; Mutual, 2000; West of England, 5000; Star, 3000; Commercial, 2000. Total, 65,000.

Subjoined is a copy of Mr. Braidwood’s official report of the damage done:—

Sunday, August 11, 1850.— Called by an electric telegraph message to a fire in High-street, Gravesend, which did the following damage:— No. 65, High-street, J. Adlington, grocer, burned down. No.66, M. Reed, tobacconist, burned down. No. 67, T. C. Barber, currier, totally destroyed. No. 68, burned down. No. 69, E. and M. Gregory, drapers, totally consumed. No. 70, unoccupied, burned down. Nos. 71 and 72, J. T. Fenwick, clothier, burned down. No. 73, Mr. C. Day, surgeon, premises partially destroyed. No. 74, W. Saunders, surgeon, seriously damaged. No. 64, Messrs. Troughton and Co., tallow-chandlers, premises destroyed. No. 63, Mr. Henry Creed, victualler ("Parr's Head"), burned down. No. 62, J. H. Hatton, draper, &c., totally consumed. No. 61, W. Newman, stationer, burned down. No. 60, R. Jerrey, eating-house keeper, seriously damaged. No. 22, R. Culley, refreshment rooms, damaged. No. 21, C. Spenser, chemist, burned down. No. 20, J. Temple, tavern keeper, ("Kent Tavern") totally destroyed. No. 19, C. Lipscombe, perfumer, burned down. No. 18, L. Young, butcher, burned down. No. 17, the London and County Bank, totally consumed. High-street Distillery, J. Benchley, dwelling-house, burned down, roof of distillery broken, and considerable damage by water and removal. No. 16, J. R. May, boot-maker, burned down. No. 15, Thomas Butcher, confectioner, burned down. No. 14, Mr. H. Newman, stationer, burned down. No. 13, unoccupied, destroyed. No. 12, W. Croft, grocer, seriously damaged. No. 1, Church-alley, let out in tenements, burned down. Nos. 2, 3, 4, and 5, similar damage. No. 1, Prince’s-street, C. Yomvin, pipe-maker, great damage by removal, &C. No. 2, ditto, H. Stocks, bricklayer, similar damage. Nos. 4 and 4 1/2, ditto, Mr. Bell, roof destroyed; rest of building and contents damaged. No. 5, J. Perry, poulterer, burned down. No. 29, Messrs. Peters, smith, front severely scorched. Swan-yard, let out in tenements, buildings burned down. H. Eleing, stable-keeper, great damage to premises by fire and water.

On Wednesday, an inquiry of some hours' duration was held at the Town Hall, for the purpose of ascertaining how the fire originated. The following magistrates conducted the investigation; namely, Mr. Plane (the mayor), and Messrs. Oakes, Spencer, Ridge, Tickner, Troughton, and Ditchburn. After hearing a good deal of evidence as to the origin of the fire, the Bench decided that the present inquiry would prevent the expense of a coroner’s inquest, and the proceedings terminated, no conclusion being formed as to the origin of the fire.


South Eastern Gazette, Tuesday 29 April 1851.

The landlord, who succeeds of Mr. H, Creed, at the "Parr's Head," was complained against for keeping his house open during design service on Good Friday and on Sunday; they said also that he was in the habit of allowing his servants to tout and give bills away in the street. Defendant said they were friends only who were admitted, and he was not aware of any touting going on, as he was not desirous of doing anything wrong.

The Bench having cautioned him, and explained the nature of the local act against touting, dismissed the case.


Gravesend Reporter, North Kent and South Essex Advertiser 02 January 1869.


Begs respectfully to inform his Friends and the Public that he has Opened the above Establishment (which has undergone extensive alterations), and hopes to receive their kind patronage and support.

Wines and Spirits of the first quality.


Gravesend Reporter, North Kent and South Essex Advertiser, Saturday 11 September 1869.

John Pearson and Thomas Pearson, brothers, were brought up in custody - the former for having assaulted David Whiffen, jun., keeper of "Parrs Head" public house, High Street; and both for violently assaulting and resisting the police in the execution of their duty.

Mr. Whiffen said that between 9 and 10 o'clock on the previous night he attempted to prevent fighting among drunken men, when defendant struck him on the face, making it bleed. Witness sent for the police.

P.C. Fitch said he went to the "Parr's Head," on the previous evening, and Mr. Whiffen gave John Pearson into custody for assault. Prisoners both struck witness several times about the head and face; John Pearson kicked him. A great mob was looking on all the time.

Prisoner John Pearson said, in reply to the bench, he remembered nothing at all about it.

P.C. Flynn said he went to the assistance of Fitch. He saw the prisoner John Pearson strike Fitch several times in the mouth. Thomas Pearson had Fitch's truncheon, and witness took it away from him. P.C. Richards then came to the assistance. Several of the mob called out not to allow the prisoner John to be taken into custody. Two men from the Town-pier then came up, and John Pearson was taken to the lock-up. His brother got away, and was apprehended this morning.

William Barfield and John Treadgold, the men from the Town-pier who assisted the police, having been examined, the Mayor said that the prisoners had rendered themselves liable to a fine of 20, or 6 months' imprisonment, with or without hard labour, at the discretion of the magistrates; but Thomas Pearson was not considered so bad as the others. For the assault upon Mr. Whiffen, John Pearson was fined 10s., and for assaulting the police 40s., and costs, or 7 days' and 28 days' imprisonment. Thomas Pearson was fined 20s. and costs, or 14 days' imprisonment.

Thomas Smith was brought up in custody for inciting the mob to obstruct the police in the execution of their duty.

P.C. Richards said that was the police were engaged with the last two prisoners, Smith shouted, and hooted the police. Witnessed caution the prisoner. He shouted out "Hoy! you cowards, let him go."
Superintendent White said it took 25 minutes to get prisoner to the police station.

Richards: He resisted violently at first.

Fined 10s. and cost, or 14 days' imprisonment.



???? 1802 Kentish Gazette

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

CREED Henry 1850+

WHIFFEN David 1869+


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

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

Kentish GazetteKentish Gazette


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