Page Updated:- Friday, 02 April, 2021.


Earliest 1829

Kindsford Windmill Brewery

Latest 1890s+

Union Road.

Kingsford Windmill Brewery by James H Tucker 1847

Site of the Windmill Brewery

From an article in the Dover Mercury 3 October 2002 by Joe Harman.


THIS picture by James Tucker is dated 1847, when James would have been one year old. So I assume it would have been a copy of another artist's work.

It shows Kingsford's Windmill Brewery and the name is still remembered in Kingsford Court flats, which now stand on the site, at the bottom of Coombe Valley Road.

This picture looks very much how I remembered it before the last war, with Palmer's coachworks in operation instead of the brewing of beer.

The windmill had gone, but the base was still there.

This windmill was built in 1798 and, after 1829, the machinery was converted to pump water or liquor for the brewery.

The well on the site was rediscovered when the flats were built there. The house to the right is still there, with a small addition.

I remember the thatched barn on the left which was destroyed by fire in 1935. There was a small garden plot with railings which gradually disappeared as they improved the access to Union Road, as it then was.

This was at the premises at the corner of Union Road, later renamed Coombe Valley Road, the premises was later Palmer's and then, until 1978, Jenkins and Pain's coachworks. Now the site of Kingsford Court Flats.

Alfred Kingsford was mentioned in Pigot's Directory 1832.

Palmer Coach Builders

Above:- A RED letter day for G. S. Palmer and Son, later the Connaught Coach Works and Palmers Limited, with premises in Coombe Valley Road and Cherry Tree Avenue. The occasion was the securing of a big order to build car bodies. The date 1908. Mr W. J. PaImer, son of the founder, obtained an order to build 50 cars based on Peugeot chassis. These were grouped in the yard and out in the road to be photographed. Other mementoes of the firm include the first edition (1923) of a staff magazine, a picture of the coachworks cricket team of 1911 and a photograph of 122 employees of the motor body works staff in 1909.

Kingsford Brewery 1863

"Ale is stout and good.

Whether in bottle it be or wood;

'Tis good at morning. 'Tis good at night;

Ye should drink while the liquor is bubbling bright;

'Tis good for man, for woman, and child;

Being neither too strong, not yet too mild"


Thus began an appreciation of Mr Alfred Kingsford's Buckland Brewery in the official South Eastern Railway Guide of 1863 from which the engraving above is taken. The brewery was renowned for its light pale bitter ales which doubtless owed a great deal to the Quality of locally-grown hops, although a great deal was imported, the malt produced on site and the purity of the water raised by the windmill- operated pumps from a deep well.

The guide's author wrote in glowing terms of the Buckland Brewery, its quality light pale bitter ales, which earned accolades from medical men of high standing and spoke of the magnificent views of the surrounding countryside from the windmill.

Not much is known about the windmill, which was also used in the processing of the malt used in making a variety of beers at the brewery, but there is a reference in an old newspaper to a new mill being built near the bottom of St Radigund's Road, in April. 1798. The mill was reputedly demolished in 1863, but a local newspaper records that the Buckland Cornmill - which need not necessarily have been the same mill - was offered for sale for 2,200 in 1865 but failed to reach the reserve. The photograph below, believed to date from the 1890s before Magdala Road was built on land adjoining, proves that the mill survived until much later. So far no evidence has been found as to when it was demolished.

Relics which survive include part of one of the short sweeps and the stage from which the miller adjusted the shutters on the sweeps. They were preserved in the remains of the brewery buildings used until recently as a car body repair works. Beyond the mill in the engraving a train heads along an embankment towards the town centre.

Information taken from John Bavington-Jones' book "A Perambulation of the Town, Port and Fortress of Dover", 1906. (Reprint in The Dover Express, Friday 20th March, 1981.)

Alfred Kingsford Windmill Brewery

THIS photograph above is of the old Alfred Kingsford Windmill Brewery at the foot of Coombe Valley Road at the junction with London Road. The site is now occupied by Kingsford Court flats. Close by is the St Radigunds Road house in which former ambulance officer Joe Harman has lived for 86 years. The photograph taken from across the old brickfield at Magdala Road. by G. T. Amos, is one of the illustrations in Joe's book. "My Dover." just published. The Express has the original glass plate negative taken about 1865. The full photo is shown down the page.


Kingsford Brewery Advert

A Kingsford Brewery advertisement of the 1890's.

Kingsford Brewery Advert


By J.G. Harman

Published in Bygone Kent

The Old Brewery site has now been cleared, and many must have passed it by, without realising its interesting history. It stood at the corner of London Road and Coombe Valley Road at the turning to Buckland Hospital.

The Kingsford family have been associated with this area for nearly two hundred years. William Kingsford the elder bought the St Bartholomew lands about 1810. These lands belonged to the leper hospital which used to stand on the hill behind the old Wesleyan Chapel (now a Bingo Hall). William built the flour mill which still stands, and is now being repaired. The original mill was on the other side of the river Dour and had been making paper since 1795 and later became "Hardings Brewery." On that site we now have some offices used by Townsend Thoresen. To reach these you cross over the bridge built by William in 1815 as a stone in the arch signifies.

At the moment we are concerned with the Brewery on the other side of the road. According to Bavington Jones in his book on Dover written in 1907 it was Flavius Ignatious (should read Josephus) who built it in 1829. We know it was associated with Alfred Kingsford for many years. Pigots directory of 1826 lists Alfred at Archcliffe Fort Brewery and in 1832 he is shown as being at Buckland Brewery. He had two sons, one Flavius and the other Cottenham, who ran the business in later years. They were both town councillors in 1879. William Kingsford built ‘Lundy House' in 1820 and lived there for some time, probably leaving when he disposed of the flour mill in 1836. The 1861 Census shows Alfred living in that house, and earlier we find him in Ivy House which backs on to the Windmill Brewery. The house still stands although bereft of its ivy. I have not been too sure about the relationships between the Kingsfords, but I am inclined to think that they came to Dover in the early 1800s possibly from Canterbury. The first mention I can find of a Kingsford in the freeman's Rolls is Edward, who purchased his freedom for 20 in 1802. This buying of a freedom usually indicates someone coming into the town to set up in business. Pigot of 1823 lists Edward Kingsford at Archcliffe Brewery. My great grandfather was a miller following in his father's footsteps, and they both lived in a cottage belonging to William Kingsford near the Flour Mill. My grandfather had a brother, Kingsford Harman and this may show a link.

The windmill incorporated in the brewery could have been one built at Buckland in 1798, and was used for pumping water and not for grinding. This could have been a factor in siting the brewery on this spot, and from reports, the well water in this area had a peculiar iron or chalybeate quality. During the recent demolition, part of the catwalk appeared attached to the square wooden base. Two of the sails had been cut down and used as tiebeams when the buildings were modified. Two portions of cast iron drive shafts have come to light, and they could have been part of the transmission of power to the water pump. One wonders why a windmill had been placed there, but we do know that Sir Thomas Hyde Page lived in the house opposite which has survived amongst the offices of the DHSS. He owned the St Bartholomew lands, and sold them to William Kingsford after he left Dover in 1801. Perhaps he might have built the windmill to improve the view up the Coombe Valley, and being a military engineer he may have conceived the idea of pumping water from a well. At that time there was no road loading up through Buckland Bottom. It was not until the Union was built that Union Road, now Coombe Valley, came into being.

During demolition a brick was found in a flint wall with the initials of T.H.P. carved in it, and as this was in a boundary wall it could have connections with Sir Thomas before the brewery was built.

Alfred Kingsford Windmill Brewery

The photograph of the brewery from the North West (above) shows a brickfield in the foreground and could have been taken about 1865 as Magdala Road was laid out in 1868 on the site of the brickfield. It is difficult to be sure when the windmill was taken down but in 1866 we find that Kingsfords Windmill Brewery opened the "Raglan" in Folkestone. The boundary wall showing at the back of the brickfield is still in position. With the assistance of neighbours in Magdala Road I have found a stone in one of the buttresses with the name of A. KINGSFORD inscribed but the date below has become eroded.

While talking to the demolition team they told me that a bottle had been found. On investigation it turned out to be a Codds bottle complete with marble. This had the name Forsters Chemists Dover, and they had a ginger beer factory, and were listed in Castle Street from the 1880s. I began to despair of finding evidence of bottling, but one of the workmen said they had noted two labels when floor timbers were raised. They apparently were the type put over the stoppers and had the name of Kingsford printed on them.

The brewery seems to have been still operating in 1881 but by 1889 it appears to have stopped production. One of the photographs taken by W. H. Boyer of Sandwich 1868-1897 shows the "New Inn" at Sandwich with a board advertising Kingsfords Dover Fine Ales.

About 1890 G. S. Palmer Coachbuilder had taken over the buildings. According to old directories G. S. Palmer was a wheelwright in Priory Place. The firm went over to making car bodies and were renowned for their work, but this is another story. Perhaps someone might be able to supply the family history of the Kingsfords, and there may be a collector who has one of their bottles. I know that this is not a complete story but I felt it was right to record what I have discovered.



At the beginning of 1834, the estate of the then deceased Mr William Kingsford, the elder, was being disposed of, as a bankrupt, (see Bell Family and Commercial Hotel, Sandwich) and his property on the west side of the London Road is particularly described as extending from Bartholomew Terrace up to a 40ft. wide plot adjoining Buckland Brewery, which was "intended to form an opening into Buckland Bottom." That definitely fixes the date of the origin of Union Road. The whole of the roadside land, from the brewery wall down to below where the old Wesleyan chapel was subsequently built, was put on the market as building land by Mr Charles Lamb, auctioneer, in February, 1834. He, however, failed to dispose of it, and a month later there was a much fuller announcement of the intended sale of Mr William Kingsford's land on the south side of Buckland Bottom, comprising over 130 acres, in 31 lots.


From the Dover Telegraph and Cinque Ports General Advertiser, Saturday 4 January 1834. Price 7d.

WHEREAS a Fiat in Bankruptcy is awarded and issued against WILLIAM KINGSFORD of Buckland, near Dover, in the County of Kent, paper manufacturer, miller, dealer and chapman, and being declared a Bankrupt is hereby required to surrender himself to the commissioners in the said Fait named or the major part of them, on the sixth day of January next, at one o'clock in the afternoon precisely, and on the Fourteenth day of February next, at Twelve o'clock at noon precisely, of the same days, at the "BELL INN", SANDWICH, in the County of Kent; and make full discovery and disclosure of his Estate and Effects; when and where the creditors are to come prepared to prove their debts, at at their first sitting to choose Assigners; and at the last sitting, the said Bankrupt is required to finish his examination; and the Creditors are to assent to, or dissent from, the allowance of his certificate. All persons indebted to the said Bankrupt, or that have any of his Effects, are not to pay or deliver the same but to whom the Commissioner shall appoint, but give notice to Mr SURRAGE, Solicitor, Sandwich; or Messrs. W and E DYNE, Solicitor, 61, Lincoln's Inn Fields, London.


From the Dover Telegraph and Cinque Ports' General Advertiser, Friday 18 January, 1834. Price 7d.



By order of the Assignees of William Kingsford, a Bankrupt, on the Premises, on Saturday the 25th January 1834, at Ten o Clock in the Forenoon.

THREE CART HORSES; ONE CHAISE HORSE; Three Cows; One Stack of Clover; One Stack of Hay; about 2 tons; Fourteen Acres of White and Swedish Turnips; which will be lotted in half Acres, and may be carted off the land. Also a large quantity of Building Stones.

Catalogues to be had at the place of Sale, and of the Auctioneer, Buckland.


From the Dover Telegraph, Saturday February 1st 1834.




At the Antwerp Inn, in Dover, on Tuesday, the 25th day of February, 1834, at Three o'clock in the Afternoon precisely, by order of the Commissioners, under a Fiat of Bankruptcy against Mr William Kingsford.

ALL THAT VALUABLE PLOT of LAND particularly adapted for the purposes of Buildings, situate in the parish of Buckland, on the left-hand side of the Turnpike Road from Dovor to Canterbury, and extending from the present Houses in Bartholomew Close, to the Farm Buildings of the said William Kingsford.

The Land will be sold in convenient Lots, as will be expressed in future advertisements.

Particulars may be had of Mr. Surrage, Solicitor, Sandwich Messrs. Shipden and Ledger, and Mr. Edward Elwin, Solicitors, Dovor; and of the Auctioneer, Snargate Street, Dovor.

Dovor, January 30th, 1834.


From the Dover Telegraph, Saturday February 8th 1834.

Valuable Freehold Mills, Capital, Messuage and Garden, Farm and Lands, at Buckland, near Dovor.



At the Royal Oak Inn, Dovor, on Saturday, the 5th March, 1834, between the hours of One and Three in the afternoon., (by order of the Commissioners under a Fiat of Bankruptcy against Mr. William Kingsford.)

ALL THOSE FREEHOLD CORN AND PAPER MILLS, Capital Messuage, Garden, Farm and Lands, situated in the Parish of Buckland, in the County of Kent, and late in the occupation of the said Bankrupt.

Particulars will be given in future Adverticements, an information may be obtained of Mr. Surrage, Solicitor, Sandwich; Messrs. Shipdem and Ledger, Mr. Kennett, and Mr. E. Elwin, Solicitors, Dovor; and of the Auctioneer, Barton Farm, near Dovor.

Dovor, February 6th, 1834.


Kentish Gazette, 3 February 1852.

A serious accident, resulting it appears from inexperience, occurred to a person named Escot, of Lady Well Place, in the employ of Mr. Kingsford, brewer, of Buckland, on Saturday last. It seems that on that day Escot was sent to Barham with a small cart laden with beer, which cart was drawn by a spirited and somewhat naturally restive horse; that after having delivered the beer and when about to return home, he and another man who wished to be driven to Dover, got into the cart; at this time a person crossed the road near to the horse's head, at which the animal startled and began to plunge and rear up. Escot having the reins in his hands, and not knowing, it is said the proper management of a horse under such circumstances, was pulled suddenly forward and pitched out, falling sideways upon his shoulder. The horse still continued restive and dragged the cart to the opposite side of the road, when the other man who was at the back part was also thrown out and fell upon his head. He was of course much hurt, but it is hoped not seriously. Escot, on the contrary, is so much injured that his ultimate recovery is at present despaired of, there being three of his ribs with his collar bone broken, a piece of the splintered bone has also been separated and driven into the liver, from which cause the man, as may be expected, is a dreadful sufferer.


Kingsford Brewery Map

An interesting century-old map from the abstract of title of the trustees of the will of Dover brewer and miller Mr Alfred Kingsford, who died on 11th December, 1878, to some of his property between Barton Road and London Road. Buckland Brewery is shown at the foot of Coombe Valley Road while the mill is on the opposite side of London Road. The document was sent to the Dover Express, by Mrs Dorothy Dale, of Lorne Road.

Information taken from John Bavington-Jones' book "A Perambulation of the Town, Port and Fortress of Dover", 1906. (Reprint in The South Kent Gazette, April 8th 1981.)


From the description it appeared that from the brewery wall down to Erith Place was a farmhouse and farmyard, which was then very ancient. The farmhouse, occupied by Mr Finn, the steward, stood just where the Fountain Inn (Sportsman) now is, and on a part of the site of Swiss Cottages there was a farm labourer's cottage, and close to it, fronting the main road, was a large barn, which was at that time demolished. There were other farm buildings in the rear, surviving well into the 20th century, having their approach from Union Road. The 130 acres of land then sold comprised the part known as Chapel Mount, so named after the old lepers' chapel. The other land was that later occupied by George Street, Erith Street and Victoria Street, and also extending up the south side of the valley as far as the boundary of Poulton. At the back of the farm there was a brickfield, then carried on by Mr John Finnis, some remains of which used to be seen in front of Edgar Road, but it has mostly been covered by the railway. A large part of the land in Buckland Bottom, including the farmyard, was purchased by Mr George Hatton Loud. The farmyard subsequently became an attractive garden owned by a Miss Loud.

Information taken from John Bavington-Jones' book "A Perambulation of the Town, Port and Fortress of Dover", 1906. (Reprint in The Dover Express, Friday 20th March, 1981.)

The Buckland Windmill Brewery was finally demolished in 1983 and the following photographs were taken by Barry Smith shortly before the demolition.

Kingsford Brewery pre demolition
Kingsford Brewery demolition 1983
Kingsford Brewery demolition 1983
Kingsford Brewery demolition 1983
Kingsford Brewery demolition 1983
Kingsford Brewery demolition 1983
Kingsford Brewery demolition 1983
Kingsford Brewery demolition 1983
Kingsford Brewery demolition 1983
Kingsford Brewery demolition 1983
Kingsford Brewery demolition 1983
Kingsford Brewery demolition 1983
Kingsford Brewery demolition 1983
Kingsford Brewery demolition 1983
Kingsford Brewery demolition 1983
Kingsford Brewery demolition 1983
Kingsford Brewery demolition 1983
Kingsford Brewery demolition 1983
Kingsford Brewery demolition 1983
Kingsford Brewery demolition 1983
Kingsford Brewery demolition 1983

Further photos have been kindly supplied by Jan Pedersen

Kingsford Brewery demolition 1983 Kingsford Brewery demolition 1983 Kingsford Brewery demolition 1983 Kingsford Brewery demolition 1983 Kingsford Brewery demolition 1983 Kingsford Brewery demolition 1983 Kingsford Brewery demolition 1983 Kingsford Brewery demolition 1983 Kingsford Brewery demolition 1983 Kingsford Brewery demolition 1983

The area is now occupied by Kingsford Court Flats and below is a transcript of Lt-Colonel J Kingsford-Carson (Ret'd) speech for the opening day of the flats. (1989).


Your Worship, Lady Mayoress, Mr McCarthy, Ladies & Gentlemen.

May I thank first the HYDE HOUSING ASSOCIATION for giving me the privilege of contributing in a small way towards this happy occasion.

We accepted this kind invitation with some trepidation - it was largely through the efforts of Mrs MARY RILEY and Mrs JANICE WAIN that my wife & I are here and delighted to be with you today.

Secondly, congratulations to those residents who must have spent considerable time & effort researching this site at BUCKLAND ably assisted by Bob Hollingsbee & Mr Harman I understand. For those not involved in this exercise, please bear with me.

For several generations my family ran what was locally known as the WINDMILL BREWERY founded precisely 160 years ago in 1829 by the first FLAVIUS KINGSFORD. He occupied the site which included the windmill built about 1798.

When my ancestor started up the BUCKLAND BREWERY in 1829 I can find no reference to his sources of malting barley or hops. One would have expected them to have come from local farms in Kent. He had a relative, a MALTSTER in Canterbury who may have helped initially.

My Great-Great-Grandfather was born at ASH in Oct. 1761. His Father owned the windmill there & for a time FLAVIUS had been a farmer & miller at BULWARK HILL, so he was fully aware of 'wind-power' -- perhaps in this age of pollution we might make more use of it & I was delighted to see in yesterday's TELEGRAPH that the wind-power revolution was growing & the CENTRE FOR ALTERNATIVE ENERGY was seeking 100 Welsh hill farmers in order to construct wind driven generators - incidentally, the Danish firm who is advising them is one I worked for over 17 yrs before finally retiring!

Recently I read in an old Railway Guidebook, that by 1862 my Great-Grandfather ALFRED who had by then taken over, imported through the port... 2,302,169 quarters of foreign barley and no less than 8,442 tons of hops!

Since there were other breweries in Dover at the time, I can only conclude that the good people of this Town must have had an almighty thirst! (My Mother, born down the road at Charlton Place, once told me that she was given small beer for breakfast as a child!)

In those days the windmill was used for pumping water & I understand that one of the wells was discovered when this site was cleared in order to build these flats. And in view of the quantities of barley & hops, persistently its winch gear was used to haul stores to the upper level of the building. (You may like to see an early watercolour picture I have brought down today).

Regrettably, many years before arrived on the scene, my Grandfather had sold this establishment and I have been unable to sample the product!

Some of the older members of my audience may recall "KENTS BEST" the brews produced by Geo. Beer & Rigden at Faversham. My Grandfather, the 2nd FLAVIUS, used to say that old George Beer drove up in his pony & trap one day to negotiate the sale of the pubs - the sale went through & Grandfather went off to his other brewery at LAYCOCK in Wiltshire before finally retiring to Hill Crest, Evesham, where I spent some very happy years of my childhood with him.

Undoubtedly my ancestors would highly approve of the purpose to which this old site has been devoted today.

I think particularly of ALFRED KINGSFORD for not only did he build "Woodside" at the bottom of Whitfield Hill, but as a fine Christian man, greatly assisted during 1840 with the erection of the old SALEM BAPTIST CHAPEL here in Dover. I notice that this fact was recorded as recently as February, 1983 in your local press. (Incidentally, the Victorian brewing families seem to have been extremely generous when it came to the building of many places of worship; on occasions my wife & I attend EMMANUAL in South Croydon, built as a result of the generosity of Miss WATNEY no less, of Watney Coombe & Reid). You may draw whatever inferences you like!

Enough of family history.

In this country today, many enjoy a high material standard of living yet others, including many pensioners, are far less fortunate.

I know from personal experience how difficult life can be after retirement with the problems of adjustment to changed circumstances, both mental as well as material.

During my lifetime the whole pattern of society has changed; no longer have we the ability - nor in many cases the desire - to accommodate the older members of our family within the close & intimate circle of our own home, where in the past, the grandchildren grew up to respect old age, to benefit from the experience & wisdom which the older folk could contribute to their lives, and to learn consideration for those far less active than themselves. (One has only to look at the horrific figures today of crimes committed against the elderly, to appreciate what has happened in our society.)

Fortunately on the other side of the coin, an Association such as HYDE exists to meet the economic challenge faced by elderly people, home-owners who having retired wish to retain their independence & pride in a place of their own albeit within a secure & friendly environment - I find this a tremendous achievement!

One sad reflection upon the times we live in. Only last week the National press reported that no less than 4,000 'secure' homes for elderly people remain unoccupied. There are folk who desperately wish to move but cannot because of the state of the housing market; they are unable to dispose of their present homes many of which could be occupied by those just starting out in life.

This state of affairs calls into question the ability of the so-called 'market forces' to meet the needs of the old and the young within our society.

May I conclude by wishing everyone who resides here, much happiness & contentment.

In the future, may they recall today with satisfaction and I hope, with gratitude to those who had the foresight to build KINGSFORD COURT.

Thank you once again for inviting us here today.

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