Sort file:- Margate, June, 2021.

Page Updated:- Sunday, 20 June, 2021.


Earliest 1878 (Name from) (Name from)

Grand Hotel

Destroyed 1890




Identified in Barry J White's list of Thanet's public houses and hotels 19th and early 20th century and listed as a Private Hotel.

He says that both the "Duke's Head" and "Pier Hotel" were combined to become the "Grand Hotel" in 1878.

Further research shows that the building was destroyed by fire in 1890.

It is also suggested that the hotel closed due to the proprietor George Hayward Perman getting into debt.


Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald 27 December 1890.

Terrible fire in Margate.

The "Grand Hotel" totally destroyed.

One of the largest fires known in Margate for several years occurred on Thursday morning when the "Grand Hotel" was entirely destroyed; very little of the contents being saved. It appears the police tried the doors at 12:30, and then everything appeared to be in order; but at 1:15, Miss Akhurst (of the "Ship Hotel," which is separated from the "Grand" by only a narrow passage) and Miss Padgham, who were sleeping in an upper back room at the "Ship," where aroused by a crackling noise, and, after listening a moment or two they jumped out of bed, and found that there was a fire in the "Grand." They hastened to Mr. Akhurst's room, and aroused him. He at once saw the frames, which spread very rapidly over the entire building period. Shortly afterwards, the maroon was fired. All valuables were removed from the "Ship," and not without cause, for the side bedrooms were greatly damaged by fire, smoke and water. In Mr. Akhurst's opinion, the fire originated in the Paradise Street side of the hotel. This opinion is also entertained by Inspector Barnett, who thinks it must have had its seat in the grill or billiard rooms; and that it was probably caused by a defective flue in the former. Both rooms are in flames when the Brigade arrived. The wind was from south east; otherwise, the adjacent property would not have escaped. Mr. Goldsworthy, the owner, was at Brighton at the time; he was insured in the Sun Fire Office of which Mr. W. Lane Sear is the local agent. Mr. Johnson, the manager and 7 others, viz., Alexander Twigg, (barman), Charles Finch (porter), George Sinclair, (page-boy), Misses Cooper and Adams (barmaids), Ellen Desborough (housemaid), and Mary Eaton (cook), were sleeping in the hotel, at the time of the outbreak. All, fortunately, escaped, but, with two or three exceptions, merely in their night dresses, having lost watches, jewellery, trinkets, money, &c. Miss Cooper, the head bar maid, in jumping from a window on the Paradise Street side, injured her head and feet, and was promptly attended to by Dr. White. Mr. Kennett (of the Ambulance Corps), rendering assistance, and Miss Adams sprained her ankle. They were first removed to Mr. Campany's House opposite; and were then provided by Mr. Shepherd with blankets and taken to his "Fort Road Hotel." The damage is estimated that between 10,000 and 12,000.

The report of the place is as follows:- P.C. Minter reports that, at 1:22 a.m., while in Duke Street, he heard some shouting in the direction of the Parade; and with P.C. Penfold, proceeded there and found that the "Grand Hotel" was on fire. Minter at once gave the alarm at the fire station, and the maroon was fired. The brigade were quickly on the spot and at work. P.S. Penfold, on arriving at the hotel, saw the barman and pageboy on the roof of Mr. Lashmar's house, in Paradise Street, adjoining the rear of the hotel. The barman crawled down the water pipe, and fell into the sergeant's arms; and Mr. Lashmar assisted the boy through his back bedroom window, and let him out of his door. There were four females at a bedroom window, crying for assistance. Penfold and others asked them to remain where they were until a ladder could be obtained, and assured them they would be saved. A ladder was placed against the window, and, with the aid of P.C. Lemar, Edward Jones and William T. Vinson, (coastguards) and Henry Towne, George Sandwell, and Alfred Gifford, three of them were able to get out of the window and walk down the ladder; but Miss Cooper, the head-barmaid, jumped from the window to the ground, and injured her head and feet. She was taken, in the first place, to No. 13, Paradise Street, and attended to by Dr. White, who stated that her injuries were not of a serious nature. She and the others were subsequently removed to the "Fort Road Hotel." Sergeant Penfold, P.C. Minter, and George Sandwell entered the hotel through a window, and went in search of the porter, who, it was stated, was sleeping at the top of the house, but failed to reach him, the smoke and heat being so great; but he, having been around, afterwards came out of the front door uninjured. Mr. Johnson, the manager, escaped from a front window by the fire escape, assisted by the coastguards. All were then out of the building. The Birchington brigade attended at 2:30 and the Broadstairs Brigade at 3:50. A small portion of the furniture was saved; and the rest of and whole of the building and stock were destroyed. The cause of the fire is unknown.

Mr Kenneth, who was present directly after the outbreak, states that the fire apparently broke out on the side of the ground floor near the "Ship Hotel," and spread with amazing rapidity towards the roof. It ran along the top rooms of what was formerly known as the "Duke's Head," and was carried by the east wind to what was once the "Pier Hotel" which "Grand" recently consisted. The fire brigade arrived promptly, and was quickly at work, there being, in his opinion, a good supply of water from hydrants near Mr. Dunn's, on the Parade, the foot of Paradise Street, and Neptune Square, while one of the engines threw large quantities of sea water onto the burning mass. The fire rapidly carried away the dome, and then work downwards, the excitement among the workers and spectators at this time being very great. After the rescue of the inmates, he saw the manager near the jetty, and informed him that the barmaids and other females had been taken to Mr. Campany's , whose house, owing to its close proximity to the fire, might, in his opinion, be in danger, and recommended that they should be removed. Mr. Shephard, of the "Fort Road Hotel," kindly offered to take them to his hotel, and, at Mr. Johnson's request, the ambulance corps (Superintendent Troughton, himself, and others being present) removed them thence. The other females, who had escaped with nothing but they night dresses, were also provided by Mr. Shepherd with blankets, in which they walked to his hotel. The neighbours were very kind to others. The page boy was taken in by Mr. Hughes; Mr. Akhurst sent brandy for the barmaids and others; Mrs. Stephens prepared and abundant supply of coffee for the brigades, police, coastguards, and others; and clothing was supplied for the girls from the "York Hotel" and by Mr. and Mrs. Shepherd. In Conclusion, he adds that the barmaids and servants lost all they possessed with the exception of their night dresses; and that the ambulance corps had a litter ready for any emergency.

Mr. W. D. Lashmar, of Paradise Street, whose premises adjoin the Paradise Street front of the hotel, says he and his wife and child were awoke at about 1:10 by the cry of fire, often loudly repeated. He at once opened his parlour window and saw the hotel barman hanging on to his water pipe, down which he slid into Sergeant Penfold's arms, and the page boy hanging over the parapet of his house, both having taken refuge on his roof. He caught the boy, first having urged him to not to jump to the ground, and dragged him into his room, the boy at the time wearing only his shirt and trousers. He then took his wife and child to Mr. Henry Wootton's, where they were treated with great kindness. Next, he and a constable aroused the next door neighbour (Mr. Lander). He adds that his premises were in so much danger, but fortunately the wind veered from N. E. to S. E., that he removed his clothes and books. The front corner of his house was burnt through, the back bedroom windows were smashed; and the upper part of the house was thoroughly drenched with water and greatly damaged by smoke and heat.

A parrot and a cat were in the hotel and were killed. The fire was still smouldering on Friday night; and it was very necessary on Thursday afternoon, in the interest of public safety, to pull down the front walls, which were in a dangerous state. The police it should be added, rendered very valuable services under the direction of Inspector Barnett, and a word of praise is also due to the coastguards, and the chief officer Fox, of the Margate station, for the assistance they rendered the police and in other ways. It is rumoured that there had been a fire during Wednesday in the tap (otherwise the grill) room, and that a gas stove had been alight in the billiard room. There is little doubt that the rapid spread of the flames may be attributed to the number of staircases there were in the building. Captain Redman, we hear experienced some difficulty in securing a sufficient number of pumpers, and Inspector Barnett at once told off a number of the constables to assist, and to their credit be it said they worked in the most praiseworthy manner.

Praises is due to the brigade for the measures they successfully adopted to preserve the adjacent properties, especially as they had many apparent difficulties to contend with.



PERMAN George Hayward 1883-86 dec'd (age 43 in 1886)

GIFFORD Alfred 1891 (caretaker in office, age 38 in 1891Census)




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