Sort file:- Tunbridge Wells, March, 2021.

Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.


Earliest 1871-

Wiltshire Arms

Latest 1918

82 Victoria Road

Royal Tunbridge Wells

Wiltshire Arms

Above photo showing the "Wiltshire Arms" owned by the Edwards brewery, circa 1900. Kindly sent by Edward Gilbert.

Wiltshire Arms 2016

Above Google image, July 2016.


Written By: Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. 19 June, 2017.



The "Wiltshire Arms" public house operated from premises at 82 Victoria Road on the north east corner of Victoria Road and Goods Station Road in a 2 storey red brick building. Located in a rather rough working class part of town it served as a local watering hole since 1871 at the latest and was still in operation until about 1917. When the building was constructed and first used as a pub is not known but it was not found in the 1867 directory suggesting that it began sometime between 1868 and before 1871.

In the period of 1871 to 1874 James Young (1821-1908) was the beer house keeper. He was followed by 1881 up to about 1900 by William Young (1845-1917) who’s son William Young (1878-1914) emigrated to Canada and was killed in France while serving with the Canadian Expeditionary Force, and who is among the 25 men remembered on the St Augustine Church war memorial in Tunbridge Wells.

From 1901 at the latest until about 1906 George Albert Saunders was the beer house keeper. During his tenure The Teasdale Mercury of March 16, 1904 reported on the stabbing of a young woman at the "Wiltshire Arms." She was badly injured but survived, thanks to the protection provided by her corset, and the perpetrator Richard Johnson was apprehended; found guilty and sentenced.

When Saunders left the pub was taken over by William Atherall who was still there at the time of the 1911 census. His wife died in Tunbridge Wells in 1914 and it is believed that he soon after left Tunbridge Wells. William had married his wife Eva Florence Terrill in 1908 Tunbridge Wells. The 1911 census recorded that 82 Victoria Road was a building consisting of 5 rooms.

By 1922 the former pub became the premises of Thomas Stickland who operated a hosier & glovers shop there and up to 1971 the building was occupied by various shops with a flat above.

In 1971 the building was divided up into shops and since that time part of the premises has been occupied by The Dancing Boutique with another part of the building serving as the premises of the Kitsu Sushi Bar. The second floor of the building serves as a flat(s).

Shown at the top of the page is a postcard view of the "Wiltshire Arms" taken in the early 1900’s. The pub was reportedly, at least for part of its history, owned by the William & Thomas Edwards of the Grosvenor Brewery on Tunnell Road, which operated from about 1870 to 1900.


The "Wiltshire Arms" pub was a 2 storey red brick building located on the north east corner of Victoria Road and Goods Station Road, with an address of 82 Victoria Road. The building still exists but when the pub closed circa 1917 the main floor of the building was converted into shops with the upper floor being at least one flat. During the time the pub was in operation the second floor of the pub served as the residence of the beer house keeper and his family.

The pub was not a large one described in the 1911 census as a building with five rooms. The area around the pub was a working class district and by no stretch of the imagination was the "Wiltshire Arms" a high class establishment, but rather one that catered to the local trade of workmen, many of whom were employed by the Baltic Sawmills business on Goods Station Road and other similar businesses associated with the Goods Station.

A review of Planning Authority records was made but the earliest one available for viewing was for 1984 regarding a new shop front at 82A Victoria Road, in which it was noted that the applicant was a Mr Pang.

The website of The Dancing Boutique states that they moved into 82 Victoria Road in 1971 and that the building was the former "Wiltshire Arms" which had been divided up into shops when it closed. In fact the "Wiltshire Arms" became a hosier and glovers shop as early as 1922 and was occupied by various other shops after that. The building may well have been divided up into more than one shop in 1971 as The Dancing Boutique suggests. The Dancing Boutique is still there and during the time of their occupancy part of 82 Victoria Road was the Kitsue Sushi Bar. Both of these businesses can be seen in the Google photographs of 82 Victoria Road shown at the top.


Given below is a list of known occupants of 82 Victoria Road covering the period of 1871 to 1922. This list is based on a review of local directories, census records and other documents during the study period and since annual records were not available to the researcher this list may not be complete. This building was last used as a pub circa 1918 and then became the hosier and glovers shop of Thomas Strickland by 1922. Who occupied the building after 1922 was not investigated since it was no longer a pub.

[1] JAMES YOUNG (1821-1908)

James was born 1821 at Tudley, Kent, one of several children born to William Young. On April 23, 1843 in Frant, he married Caroline Elizabeth Crundwell, the daughter of John Crundwell. Caroline had been born 1821 in Frant.

James and Caroline had five children between 1844 and 1854 before Caroline died soon after the birth of her daughter.

The 1851 census, taken in Frant gave James Young as an agricultural labourer. With him was his wife Caroline and their children William, born 1844 Frant, Matilda, Esther and George. William is of some significance as he took over the running of the "Wiltshire Arms" from his father.

The 1861 census, taken in Frant, gave James Young as a wood sawyer and a widow. With him was his children Esther, George and Fanny (age 7).

The 1871 census taken at the "Wiltshire Arms," 82 Victoria Road gave James young as an “ale house keeper”. With him was his second wife Anne, who had been born 1828 in Speldhurst. When his marriage to Ann took place was not established. Also there was his son in law John C. Faircloth, born 1856 in Tunbridge Wells who was an “apprentice”. Also there were two nieces Eliza May, age 15 and Ellen Mary age 12 both born in Tunbridge Wells. The 1874 Kelly directory recorded James Young at the "Wiltshire Arms."

The 1881 census, taken at 57 Camden Road gave James Young as a sawyer and beer house keeper. With him was his wife Ann; his son George (a plasterer); his widowed daughter Esther Long and his grandson Arthur Long, born 1871 in London.

The 1891 census, taken at 119 St James Road, Tunbridge Wells, gave James Young was a widower living on own means. With him was his widowed daughter Esther his grandson Arthur (a labourer) and George Faircloth, age 35, a visitor and whitesmith. A granddaughter Minnie Long born 1889 was also there.

At the time of the 1901 census James Long was still living at 119 St James Road and probate records show him there when he died November 2,1908. The executor of his 1,633 estate was his daughter Esther Long, widow and Thomas Buss, solicitor.


William Long was born in Frant in 1844 and was the son of James Young reported on above. William was living with his parents up to the time of the 1851 census.

The 1861 census gave William Young at Pit House in Wadhurst, Sussex working as a brickmakers labourer and living as a lodger with the Joiner family.

The 1871 census, taken at 42 North Street, Tunbridge Wells gave William Young as a sawyer. With him was his wife Hannah, born 1849 at Black Rock, Ireland and his two sons Thomas, born 1868 and James, born 1870. Both children were born in Tunbridge Wells.

The 1881 census, taken at the "Wiltshire Arms," 82 Victoria Road gave William Young as a beer house keeper. With him was his wife Hannah and their children Thomas, age 13; James, age 11; Julia, age 6 and William age 3 who had been born in Tunbridge Wells on March 4, 1878. The 1882 Kelly directory listed William Young at the "Wiltshire Arms."

The 1891 census, taken at the "Wiltshire Arms" gave William Young as the beer house keeper. With him was his wife (given as Ann) born 1849 Cork, Ireland. Also there were his children James, age 21; Julia Ann, age 15; William, age 13; Caroline Mary, age 8 and Charles, age 34. His son James was working as a plumber and his daughter Julia Ann as a dressmaker.

The 1901 census, taken at the "Bull Inn" on Frant Road gave William Young as a publican on own account. With him was his wife Ann N Young, born 1850 Cork, Ireland and his son James, a plumber and his daughter Julia. William Young died in Tunbridge Wells in 1917.

William Young’s son William, born 4 March, 1878 emigrated to Canada before WW1. He had served for four years with the 21st Lancers before the war and while in Canada enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) at Winnipeg on December 29,1914. He no doubt went to Canada to work on a farm but gave his occupation as blacksmith. He died on 22 May, 1915 while serving as a private (#81989) with the 50th Btn Canadian Infantry. His death was announced at St Augustines Church in Tunbridge Wells on 30 July,1915. His name is inscribed, as one of 25 men, on the St Augustine Church war memorial which was unveiled on 11 December, 1918. His name is also inscribed on the Vimy Memorial along with 11,000 other Canadian servicemen who died in France and have no known grave.


George was born in the 4th qtr of 1865 at Mayfield, Sussex, one of seven children born to William and Mary Saunders He was baptised 7 January, 1866 at Mayfield.

The 1881 census, taken at Clayton Farm Cottage in Mayfield gave William Saunders as an agricultural labourer born 1833 in Mayfield. With him was his wife Mary, born 1840 in Mayfield and seven of their children who were all born in Mayfield between 1862 and 1882. Among the children was a son, George Alfred Saunders of no occupation.

George Aflred Saunders went on to marry Kate Fenner (1866-1943) who was born in the 2nd qtr of 1866 in Rotherfield, Sussex, one of nine children born to Reuben Fenner (1830-1890) and Naomi Fenner, born 1835. George and his wife had just one known child namely Olive Saunders (1895-1965) who had been born in Hawkhurst, Kent.

The 1901 census, taken at the "Wiltshire Arms," 82 Victoria Road gave George Alfred Saunders as the beer house keeper. With him was his wife Kate; his daughter Olive; one boarder and one visitor. The 1903 Kelly directory listed George at the "Wiltshire Arms" but had left the pub by 1911.


William had been born 1884 in Wighyam, Sussex. In the 1st qtr of 1908 he married Eva Florence Terrill in Tunbridge Wells. Eva had been born 3 January, 1886 at Cranbrook, Kent and one was one of several children born to John and Ann Terrill.

The 1911 census, taken at the "Wiltshire Arms" gave William as the “manager for brewer”. With him was his wife Eva who was given as “manageress”. Also there was his daughter Mabel Violet, born 1909 in Tunbridge Wells, and his daughter Kate, born 1910 in Tunbridge Wells. One lodger was also there. The census recorded that the building had five rooms; that the couple had been married four years and that they had just the two children.

Eva died in Tunbridge Wells in the 4th qtr of 1914 and not long afterwards William left the pub and the town and by 1922 82 Victoria Road was the hosiers and glovers shop of Thomas Strickland.



YOUNG James 1871-74+

YOUNG William (son) 1881-91+ (age 46 in 1891Census)

SAUNDERS George Alfred 1901-03+

ATHERALL William 1911-18+

STRICKLAND Thomas 1922+ (hosier not a pub)




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