Sort file:- Tonbridge, January, 2023.

Page Updated:- Sunday, 22 January, 2023.


Earliest ????

(Name from)

Punch and Judy

Open 2020+

11 St Stephen's Street


01732 352368

Punch and Judy 2014

Above photo 2014.

Punch and Judy sign 1996

Above sign, May 1996.

With thanks from Brian Curtis


From the 30 September 2008

Pub landlord facing eviction in coffin protest.

Pubch and Judy licensee 2008

Landlord Colm Powell, in his coffin, with pub regulars Jon Everest, Graeme Pine and Cliff Rees. Picture by Matthew Walker.

A landlord facing eviction has started a hunger strike and 'wake' in protest at rent and beer prices at his three pubs.

Lying in an open coffin in the bar, Colm Powell, 44, the tenant at the "Punch and Judy" pub in Tonbridge, began fasting on Monday.

His protest is expected to last until next Wednesday when he is due to be served with an eviction notice by the owners, Enterprise Inns.

Mr Powell, who is also tenant at the "Ivy House" and "Station House," both also in Tonbridge, blamed Enterprise Inns for squeezing his profit margin by increasing rents and beer prices since it bought the pubs five years ago from Whitbread.

He added: "I am due to be served an eviction notice on October 8 because I have broken the conditions of my lease on the pubs. I have stopped buying beer from them because they are quite expensive."

In an open letter to the company's chief executive, Ted Tuppen, Mr Powell claimed exorbitant rent and a steep mark up on tied beers was taking 55 per cent of his potential profit.

Mr Powell, whose "Punch and Judy" pub won the Kent Pub of the Year in 1996, also blamed rising duty on alcohol and the smoking ban for hitting the pub trade.


From the October 01, 2008

Tonbridge landlord in coffin hunger strike

The inside of a used coffin will soon be home to a Tonbridge publican who has decided to go on hunger strike in support of a "dying pub trade".

Colm Powell, landlord of the "Punch and Judy" pub, said he would be starting the protest on Monday during a black tie funeral-style event at the St Stephen's Street premises.

"It's the beginning of the end," said the 44-year-old yesterday. "Greedy fat cats are taking over an industry they don't know anything about."

The Dublin-born landlord will be lying day and night in a coffin that he says once carried the body of a diplomat from Romania.

He said his strike would go on "as long as it has to" following a dispute with the pub's owner Enterprise Inns.

Mr Powell, also landlord of the "Ivy House" and the "Station House" in Tonbridge, said the coffin symbolised the "death of an industry".

He said: "Over the past few months, Enterprise Inns have also stopped giving me credit – which is traditional in the pub trade. When I give them money – they first deduct their rent, then property insurance and then use whatever is left to sell me their beer. In addition, my beer deliveries are now completely haphazard – which means I am often short of stocks."

Mr Powell said Enterprise Inns also set up a new pub in direct competition to his and at a much lower rent.

In a survey published this week by the Federation of Small Businesses 94 per cent of pub trade members said that exclusive purchasing obligations between pub chains and landlords should be scrapped, while 99 per cent said little has improved since the situation was last reviewed in 2004.

Pubs are facing many challenges at the moment – including the smoking ban, the rising cost of raw materials and the fact that difficult economic times mean that fewer people are going out. The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) says that pubcos and the licensee should work closer together during these difficult times. Mike Benner, chief executive of CAMRA said: "Running a good pub relies on a sound partnership between the pubco and the licensee. CAMRA would like to see a legally-enforced code of practice to ensure this. With five pubs closing every day, pubcos must support licensees in every way possible."

In a statement Enterprise Inns said: "Enterprise Inns has sought and obtained judgment for possession of the three pubs that Mr Powell leased from the company.

"Mr Powell has been unable to meet the obligations contained in the lease agreements.

"We have sought to help Mr Powell with deferred payment terms, special discounts, a late licence application and a permanent rent reduction. Despite this help Mr Powell continued to breach the terms of his agreements, eventually leaving us with no alternative but to seek possession of the pubs involved.

"We continue to offer assistance to retailers who are experiencing difficulties in challenging trading conditions. However, we have a reasonable expectation that our retailers will make every effort to comply with their agreements and must act when they do not."


From the October 24, 2008

Protest landlord will be evicted

A CAMPAIGNING Tonbridge landlord who lasted 10 days without food in protest at the "death" of the pub trade will lose both his home and his job on Remembrance Day.

Colm Powell, who runs the town's "Punch and Judy" and "Ivy House" pubs, has been served an eviction notice for the two premises and will resume his hunger strike from the start of next month.

The 44-year-old, who has found himself in the national spotlight for his bizarre protest against the pubs' owner Enterprise Inns, plans to take his campaign around the country once he has been thrown out.

"I don't know whether someone thought it would be an apt day," he said of the 11am eviction from the St Stephen's Street pub, "but I thought it was quite a good day."

Once he has been evicted from there, Mr Powell will be taken in his coffin, by horse drawn hearse, to the "Ivy House," in High Street, where he is due to be removed at 11.30am.

His campaign has garnered support from other landlords and customers around the country, and Mr Powell said his website has received almost 10,000 hits and hundreds of signatures in the condolence book.

From November 1, he will again embark on 10 days without food, having found it "quite enlightening" the first time around.

"The first couple of days were the hardest," he said of the first time he refused food last month, "but as soon as you get into it, it gets easier.

"The hardest bit was sleeping in the coffin."

The campaign first started when Mr Powell became involved in a dispute with the company over beer sales at one of his pubs.

A spokesman for the company said it had tried to help Mr Powell with various forms of assistance - something he denies - and that it was left with "no alternative" but to seek his eviction. "We continue to offer assistance to retailers who are experiencing difficulties in challenging trading conditions," the spokesman said.

"However, we have a reasonable expectation that our retailers will make every effort to comply with their agreements and must act when they do not."

Once the evictions are done with, Mr Powell intends to travel around the country in a Winnebago, complete with his coffin strapped to the top, raising awareness of other landlords struggling in the current climate.

But despite facing the loss of his home and his job, the Dublin-born landlord said he had no plans beyond carrying on with the campaign.

"I haven't really thought that far ahead," he said, "because you don't know how long this is going to take."


From the March 19, 2009

Pub landlord drove car into car park wall

A FORMER pub landlord from Tonbridge has avoided jail after failing to provide a breath sample after he was caught drink-driving.

Colm Powell, 45, of Avebury Avenue, was arrested after driving his car in the car park outside the "Primrose" pub, on Pembury Road, just after midnight on January 30.

Prosecuting, James Nichols said the landlord had restrained Powell until the police arrived because he was extremely intoxicated and had driven into a wall.

When Powell was taken to Tonbridge police station, he was given four or five failed attempts at providing a sample of breath.

Defending, Brian Ferris said Powell was drowning his sorrows after losing his pub business. He said: "He was waiting to be made bankrupt.

"He doesn't recall a great deal about it, except that there was no question of him driving on the road."

Mr Ferris said Powell had recently lost his pub business, which he had built up over the past 20 years, running the "Punch and Judy" pub in Tonbridge, as well as the "Ivy House" and the town's Station House.

Powell had tried to keep the business going as long as he could, running up personal debts of nearly 30,000 and re-mortgaging his home for 280,000.

Powell pleaded guilty at Sevenoaks Magistrates Court to failing to provide a sample.

Magistrates decided against sending him to jail and he was given a 12-month community order to carry out 260 hours of unpaid work and attend 10 education, training and employment sessions.

He was also disqualified from driving for 28 months and ordered to pay 60 costs.

Powell hit the headlines last year with a bizarre series of protests against the "death" of the pub trade. He twice launched 10-day hunger strikes during which he lay in a coffin in one of his bars to highlight his struggle to afford the beer.

Following his eviction from the "Punch and Judy" and the "Ivy House" pubs by owner Enterprise Inns on November 11 last year, he was carried out in a coffin and driven away in a hearse.

The Dublin-born landlord had then been planning a nationwide tour to raise the profile of struggling tenants around the country.


The pub closed for a short time circa 2010, but reopened again in 2012.




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