41 Townwall Street
Above photo shows Townwall Street, with the Britannia pub on the right,
before the road was turned into a dual carriageway.
The "Britannia" was built on the site of the "Wine
Lodge," and the licensee of that continued to run this establishment
when it opened.
From the East Kent Mercury 23 March 1962.
The 'Britannia' Opens Next Monday
"Britannia-Triumphant! The most decisive and glorious naval victory
that ever was obtained since the creation of the world!" This 'headline
from a broadsheet, published in 1805, announced Nelson's victory at
Trafalgar. After 250 years the headline is still catching the eye, for
the original broadsheet is now part of the decor at The Britannia, the
new public house which Messrs. Mackeson and Co. Ltd., of Hythe, will
open in Townwall Street, Dover, on Monday, March 26th.
Interesting Historical Exhibits
The broadsheet is one or many items of interest to be found in the
new house. Its walls are lined with old maritime prints - many of ancient
Dover - and there is a unique collection of vessels named Britannia
through the ages. Ships of both the Royal Navy and the Merchant Marine
are included. Although the exhibits are steeped in antiquity there is an
acknowledgment to modern travel with a beautiful scale model of a B.O.A.C.
Highlight of the decor of The Britannia is the scale model of H.M.S.
Britannia, which was launched in October, 1820. This first rate ship of
120 guns. 2,616 tons. saw service in the Crimea. She was the flagship of
Vice-Admiral J. W. D. Dundas at the bombardment of Sebastopol.
In the restaurant is an outstanding print of Dover Harbour as it was in
1739. Eight feet
long and three feet wide. This magnificent mural shows the harbour of
two centuries ago. The spire of St. Mary's Church
is clearly visible.
Mr. Edwin Perry, licensee, and his son, Mr. Edwin Perry, jnr., who
will be catering manager. Behind them is the magnificent mural depicting
Dover Harbour in 1739.
Original Pub at Brussers Fair.
The Britannia takes it's inspiration
from the famous pub of the same name which was specially constructed at
the World Fair in Brussels four years ago. All the exhibits used in
that reconstruction of a typical British hostelry have been
included in Dover's Britannia. Patrons will be able to wander through
the bars and dining room in much the same way as they would in an art
gallery. And the brewers are encouraging this by issuing catalogues - but
none of the exhibits will be for sale.
The Britannia has two bars.
The spacious Britannia bar - incorporating all the best from the Bar at
Brussels - and the more intimate Trident Bar.
The Britannia Bar, panelled
in Australian Walnut, is one of the largest bars in town. In adjacent
Trident Bar - from where, at the moment, there is an unrivalled view of
Dover Castle - there is a cold buffet bar.
A Special Beer
Britannia Bitter is a special beer brewed by Whitbreads
and created for the World Fair at Brussels.
Since the closing of the
British tavern at the World Fair the bitter has been obtainable only at
the Sir Samuel Whitbread, Leicester Square. From Monday Britannia
Bitter will also be on tap at The Britannia, Dover.
Continental catering will be the speciality of the
Britannia; which will have a Spanish chef and head waiter. The
air-conditioned restaurant will have seating for 50 people.
The restaurant will be open for breakfasts at 7.30 o'clock for
cross-Channel travellers - morning coffee, lunches and dinners. Morning
coffee will also be served in both bars. The wine cellar is reputed to
be one of the most extensively stocked in
History and Contemporary Look Combined
Although the exhibits are steeped
in history. The Britannia carries a contemporary look. This is well
illustrated by lots by its bars, where beer comes from the most modern
machines operated by the flick of a finger. Gone are the traditional
pump handles. In their place a tiny lever that measures the exact amount
of liquid at a touch.
And there is likely to be little beer spilled at The Britannia, as a
new design beer mug is being used. Slightly larger than those in general
use it will carry the Imperial Measure without the liquid coming right to
The Britannia promises to be more than just another public house. Its
rich nautical atmosphere becomes apparent when one notices its
traditional inn sign - Britannia against the famous White Cliffs of Dover and
it will add prestige to Dover, the busiest passenger port In
Model of H.M.S. Britannia, of 1820, This fine scale model is the
highlight of the unique maritime collection at the Britannia. This model
took three years to make, specially for this new Dover public house.
From the East Kent Messenger 30 March 1962.
VICE-ADMIRAL SIR CONOLLY ABEL-SMITH opens the Britannia at Dover on
A BOTTLE of sparkling champagne "launched'" The Britannia - Kent's
newest public house - at Dover on Monday. The ceremony was carried out
by Vice Admiral Sir Conelly Abel Smith, one-time Flag Officer, Royal
Yachts, who commanded the Royal Yacht Britannia from 1953 to 1958. Sir
Conelly broke the champagne bottle against an outside wall.
The Britannia is unique among public houses in Kent. It houses a
notable collection of maritime exhibits, prints and pictures of famous ships.
Among them are many of local interest. Most of
famous Britannias which have formed part of the Royal Navy through
the centuries are on show, including a fine model of the 1820
The exhibition includes pictures of various merchantmen
which have borne the famous name, including the Britannia which carried
the very first Royal Mails across the Atlantic to the New World.
A catalogue of the exhibits is given to every customer.
This is a work of art in itself, it carries a foreword by
Vice-Admiral Sir Conelly Abel Smith and an essay "Dover and
Britannia", by Thomas
Armstrong, famous novelist, who wrote "Dover Harbour".
Licensee of The
Britannia is Mr, Edwin Perry, who has transferred his licence from The
Wine Lodge upon the site of which the new public house has been built.
His father had The Wine Lodge before and his son has returned from
Canada to help
The Britannia has a fine restaurant and will be a boon to cross Channel
travellers, especially with its early breakfast service.
distinguished guests were at the opening among them Mrs. John Arbuthnot,
wife of Dover's M.P., whose forebear commanded a warship at the Battle
of Trafalgal, and who is commemorated in The Britannia collection.
Click here for Catalogue.
From The Brewing Trade Review, May 1962.
The Britannia, Dover.
Vice-Admiral Sir Conolly Abel Smith, C.G.V.O., C.B., a past Admiral
Royal Yachts, officially opened The Britannia on 26th March in a
traditional "Ship-launching" ceremony, breaking a bottle of champagne
against the wall of the new house. It was in 1958 that Whitbread & Co.
Ltd. built a British inn bearing the same name for the Brussels
International Exhibition, which became a popular meeting place for many
thousands of visitors to the exhibition. A valuable collection of
pictures and models were available when the exhibition closed and some
of these have been incorporated in the decor of the new house. A
catalogue of this collection has been prepared with a foreword by
Vice-Admiral Sir Conolly Abel Smith with an introduction by Thomas
Armstrong, the author of Dover Harbour.
The accommodation consists of cellars, ground and first floor, The
ground floor contains two bars, off-sales shop, store and toilets with
rear tradesmen's entrance to the
kitchen sited on the first floor. The first floor contains the
restaurant, kitchen, staff toilets, tenant's flat of three bedrooms,
lounge, bathroom and separate toilet. The new house occupies the site of
a previous building which consisted of a small single-storey building
dating back some 200 years and at various times appearing as a
carpenter's shop, bake-house with ovens, and a coach house. The earliest
record of it being a public house was in 1903. A portion of the site had
cellars which frequently flooded owing to the nature of the ground and to
the presence of the River Dour only 20 feet away. The new cellars have
been constructed in reinforced concrete with internal waterproofing.
The house has two bars: The Britannia in which the walls are panelled in
Australian walnut and the seat recess lined with decorative laminate
plastic. The bar fittings are formed out of English oak left natural
with six panels with a design of the Whitbread
House mark worked on a melamine plastic. The Trident bar walls are
partly clad in white boards on a dark grey background and partly with a
buff wall fabric. Sandblasted glass windows depict Britannia's trident
with the present Royal Yacht Britannia to one side and an earlier
Britannia on the other. The buffet counter in this bar, with bag shelf,
has been formed with a laminate plastic finish with oak trims and
fittings formed out of English oak.
The restaurant has walls partially panelled in American black cherry and
partially covered in an oatmeal-patterned wall fabric. The centre
portion of the carpet can be lifted to reveal a maple dance floor to
cater for dinner-dances. A fine photographic mural of an old print of
Dover dated 1739 dominates the room and food will be a speciality, with
the menus specially prepared so that all the finest foods in Britain and many Continental dishes will be
available. Travellers to and from the Continent will be able to enjoy
breakfast in the restaurant from 7.30 a.m. until 10 a.m. or, if they
arrive midmorning, coffee will be served in the bars.
There is a cold buffet available in the Trident bar and both here and the
Britannia bar, Britannia Bitter will be available dispensed from the "Metron"
strong draught beer was first brewed for the Brussels Exhibition and has
hitherto only been available in this country in the Samuel Whitbread in
Leicester Square, London.
The staircase in the entrance hall is formed out of teak treads with
light steel framing, the walls being partially covered in white boards
and Australian walnut panelling.
The kitchen has gas-operated appliances grouped in a central position
with natural overhead lighting and ventilation, and all materials for
floor, wall, ceiling and working surfaces have been selected to
facilitate easy cleaning. A fully automatic oil-fired heating system has
been included to provide all the domestic hot water as well as central
heating through the building; it is thermostatically controlled with the
assistance of electric fans. Air conditioning plant and the background
music system have also been installed, with a public telephone kiosk
acoustically treated in the main hall.
The landlord of the new Britannia is Mr.
Edwin Perry, who has been tenant of the Wine Lodge since 1946, the house
which formerly stood on this site. Builders of the house were R. J. Barwick & Son Ltd., the architect was Mr. H. J. Alger, staff architect
to Mackeson & Co., Hythe.
From the Kent Mercury 13 January 1967
ITS NAUTICAL PRINTS AND MODELS ATTRACT THE OVERSEAS
MR. EDWIN PERRY, senior (right) with his son Edwin beside one of the
nautical prints in the Britannia.
THE Britannia, Dover is one of the most famous public houses in
the world. Every year thousands of overseas visitors visit the
Britannia to see the unique collection of nautical prints and models.
The Britannia takes its name from the famous pub constructed for the
World Fair in Brussels in 1958. And the collection - at least much
or it - was originally on display at that famous Whitbread hostelry.
Focal point of the Britannia decor is the scale model of the H.M.S.
Britannia, launched in 1820, a 120-gun ship which took part in the
bombardment of Sevastapol.
In the spacious restaurant above the two large bars is
an eye-catching print of Dover Harbour as it was in 1739. Eight feet
long and three feet wide, this mural evokes admiration from the
travellers of the world.
So proud are the brewers of the collection that they have issued a
profusely illustrated, which carries a forward by novelist Thomas
Armstrong, famous author of "Dover Harbour."
Licensee of the Britannia. Mr. Edwin Perry was born into the
trade. His father took over the licence of the Wine Lodge, upon the site of which The Britannia is built, in 1926. Mr. Perry spent many
years working at the famous London Palladium. His son, also Edwin, is manager of the spacious
restaurant at the
Britannia, which specialises in both Spanish and English
From the Dover Express, 23 October,1970
New licensee of the "Britannia" in Townwall Street is Mr. Edward
Perry, who takes over from his father. Mr. Edward Ernest Perry, licensee
from 1946. He in turn took over from his father, landlord from 1926.
Born in West Kennington, Edward came to Dover in 1946 and began to help
his father after seven years in the Canadian Army.
It was nine years
ago that the "Britannia" took the place of the demolished "Wine Lodge."
The Britannia circa 1980, photograph by Barry Smith.
Formerly the "Wine Lodge" which was taken down in March
1961. The larger premises were then erected and opened to the public on 26
March 1962. In charge of rum issues at the opening was Edwin Perry, who had
kept the previous house for sixteen years and served for another eight here
before handing over to his son in 1970. He in turn, handing over to his son
With a Whitbread bar it occupies a corner with Mill Lane.
Following redevelopment of the area post war, the new Townwall Street, with
its dual carriageway is six times wider than its predecessor. Unfortunately,
coupled with its residential accompaniment its effect is to separate the
town from its seafront.
From the Dover Express, 28 August 2003. By NADINE MILLER.
FUTURE PLANS: Sarah Webb outside the Britannia
Britannia hopes to rule the pub scene.
THE Britannia in Dover is under new management, and the owners have big
plans for the future.
Sarah Webb has teamed up with Ian Ransley to
transform the Townwall Street pub - and plans include a restaurant and a
Both areas are undergoing a major refurbishment and the
first part of the transformation will be unveiled at a launch party on
Friday October 3.
Sarah said: "We will open the new restaurant first and
the downstairs area will be finished in February.
''All the meals will
be homemade, nothing brought in, and the child-friendly fast food area
will be downstairs.
"There are so many pubs which do not welcome them,
but I think it adds to the overall atmosphere and there's usually less
"Very few restaurants ask how
people like their vegetables but it's very important because everyone is
different. I also want to use the cold stores in the basement properly
so we'll order in half a cow or pig and prepare it on site to our
The name of pub comes from HMS Britannia, one of the
major battleships at the battle of Trafalgar with a crew of 800 men.
The restaurant will reopened in October with a new fully functioning bar,
totally refurbished kitchen and smartly dressed staff.
bar is still open for business, and Sarah has found a house DJ to take
care of the music at the weekends.
For more information about the new
restaurant and events planned for the Britannia, call 01304 203248.
Found on the premises just before demolition.
From the Dover Mercury, 18 August 2005.
Pubs bid to open round the clock.
TWO of Dover's pubs and a 'supermarket' have asked for the right to serve alcohol 24 hours a day.
Under the Government's new licensing regime, all pubs, clubs and businesses serving alcohol and hot food after
and offering public entertainment, can ask for variations in the times they serve alcohol.
The Britannia pub in Townwall Street, and the Railway Bell in London
Road, Kearsney, have applied for licences that would allow them to
serve alcohol at all times of the day and night.
And Tesco in Whitfield wants to offer its shoppers the choice of buying
alcohol whenever they visit the store.
Both licenses cite very different reasons for their applications,
dismissing any thoughts of round-the-clock binge drinking.
Sarah Webb, licensee of the Britannia near the harbour, said: "We are looking to cater for people who work
shifts and do not want to go to a nightclub. We know from our
customers that many would like a quiet drink, outside
Francis Gorham, licensee of the Railway Bell, said his application was
not about keeping the pub open 24 hours a day, seven days a week."
He added: "This is about being able to decide, as responsible
licensees, a suitable time to close the pub. One night that could be
3am, another 11pm."
Following the August 6 deadline for licence applications,
the district council has received 480 applications out of an expected
650 for the Dover district.
Many pubs have applied for longer hours, especially at weekends. The Flotilla and Firkin, in Bench Street, wants to close at 3am on
Fridays and Saturdays, while the Old Endeavour, in London Road, has
applied to stay open until at 2.30am on Fridays and
From the Dover Express, 17 November 2005.
Topless dancing on way in Z4-hour drink plans.
TOPLESS dancers could be coming to a Dover pub when 24-hour drinking
laws come into affect.
Landlady of the Britannia, in Townwall Street, Sarah Webb, 34, is
planning to introduce regular pole-dancing nights in the new year.
The laws, which are due to come into effect on Thursday, November 24,
mean the pub will be able to have live entertainment until 2am.
Webb, who will be dancing herself, insisted the nights would not be
sleazy, and offered to "invite the prudes down here".
She said: "We are the gateway to Europe - I think people who would
object to exotic dancing in Dover need to wake up.
"It exists all over Europe, and in a
lot of places around the UK.
"Very few of the clubs and venues have any problems, and there are a lot
of girls that want to be dancers.
"It is also not sexist, as we will be
having nights with female dancers and nights with male dancers.
worse on the BBC and Channel 4. It will be topless, but not fully nude."
The Express asked a number of Dover residents how they felt about the
plans, and found the majority had no objections.
Cherry Behan, 40, from
Buckland, called people who opposed pole dancing "prudish and
Marian Howard, 56; from Brunswick Gardens, said: "I would
be more worried about the binge drinking and anti-social behaviour that
will come with 24 hour drinking."
Folkestone Road resident Margaret Bowles, 53, objected, arguing it was a
sign of Dover "going downhill". She said: "Where do they think we are,
Thailand? This was a decent town once."
From the Dover Express, 1 December 2006. By Phil Reilly.
ROUND THE CLOCK DRINKING: SPECIAL REPORT.
Punters raise a glass to Britannia's longer hours.
DRINKERS toasted the start of a new era at The Britannia pub in Townwall
Street on Thursday night, as 24-hour drinking laws came into force.
one other pub, The "Railway Bell" in River, will be able to serve round
the clock, although the landlord has said it will open only on special
Other licenses have been granted for the Tesco store in Whitfield, as
well as two petrol stations - the BP filling station in Townwall
Street, and the Esso garage at Buckland Mill.
Britannia landlady Sarah
Webb, 34, said the new laws have been a long time coming.
She said: "I'm
surprised more pubs haven't gone 24 hour, just for commercial reasons.
It gives landlords the right to choose how late to open."
concerns about increases in binge drinking and antisocial behaviour as
"making a mountain out of a molehill".
She said: "It is still illegal to
serve drunk people, so it's not like people will be able to drink more
than they do
now. They may pace themselves better though."
Among revellers enjoying
the first night party at The Britannia was Castle Ward councillor Nigel Collor who had overseen the introduction of the new system across Dover.
He said: "Having done shift work for over 20 years at the port, I can
understand how some working there would like to have a drink on their
way home, even if it's just to help them sleep."
As expected, drinkers
in the pub on Thursday night were overwhelmingly in favour of the new
MacDougal, 19, from South Road, said: "For me, because I work shifts, I
haven't been able to have a drink after work unless it's Friday or
Saturday. Even then it's only nightclubs so it will be nice to be able
to come out."
Chef Colin Delamere, 19, from Tower Hill, added: "I'm
definitely in favour of 24-hour drinking - I think only old people are
"Things like binge drinking will carry on, but I don't think
it'll be any worse."
Photos above and below by Paul Skelton 31 December 2007.
The pub sign shown has been taken from a set of Whitbread Inn Sign
cards released 1958. The card was used to advertise the pub in
The Universal and International Exhibition Brussels 1958. It is printed
on the front and back, size 75mm x 50mm.
If you have a similar card it was catalogued in Murray's at being
worth £45 in 2009.
Britannia sign April 1986.
Above with thanks from Brian Curtis
From an email sent by Chris Murray, 25 February, 2009.
of Britannia Whitbread plate that the dinners used to be served on - has "Copeland Spode England" on reverse. I have a
small book regarding the Britannia in Brussels with same image. Have
been to the site of the 1958 expo in Brussels where the Atomium still
From an email sent by Roger Hurst, 13 August, 2009.
I have just read
the entry about 'The Britannia' in Dover. As someone who grew up in
Dover, Iím sure Iím not alone when I say how sad the building has become
I'm particularly interested to see the photo of the plate sent in
from Chris Murray.
I have two Spode dishes which were part of the original collection
made especially for the opening. On the reverse they both have "Created
by Spode of England in bone china for Whitbread Britannia Inn Brussels
The dishes are both in their original boxes which have "Whitbread The
Britannia" and the Whitbread insignia of the time.
Fred Perry gave them to a close friend as a present at the time of
the pub's opening.
As unusual pieces which may be of interest to readers of this site, I
thought that you may like to know that if anyone is interested in
purchasing them, I would be happy to consider any reasonable offers.
Anyone interested, let me know and I'll pass on email addresses.
(Apologies, I have lost your email. If you read this
please contact me again.)
From an email received, 10 February, 2013.
Not pictures of the
Britannia pub, but of a Copeland Spode tankard, if you are interested
you are welcome to add any of them to your site.
Best wishes, Ann Everitt
Above photo by Paul Skelton, 13 August 2009.
The CAMRA branch meeting of August 2008 reported that the premises had
been purchased by the Council.
From an email received 5 October 2010.
found your email address in the Dover Kent Archives website,
having discovered the site when searching for information on Whitbread's
'The Britannia' inn which was built at the EXPO58, Brussels.
I thought you might be interested to know that I have the actual inn
sign which stood atop a post outside that exhibition inn. It is made of
metal, enamel-painted on both sides, and I am pretty sure that it was
made at Whitbread's signs shop at their London brewery; I know that
Whitbread's sign shop at their Wateringbury brewery ceased production of
their signs shortly before 1958. I acquired the sign just a few years
ago from someone in Belgium living about 20 miles from Brussels. How he
came to possess it I do not know, but it is safe in my hands!
I also have some plates and tankards from The Britannia.
Robert Greenham (Maidstone)
Did ask if you would be willing to send me some
pictures, but unfortunately I haven't received anything yet. Paul
Above and below showing inside of the Britannia just before
demolition. Photo kindly taken by Paul Isles.
Above showing one of the windows. Photo kindly taken by Paul Isles.
Kindly supplied by Terry Sutton. (Not the newspaper one.)
Site May 2011.
PERRY Edwin Ernest senior 1962-70 end
PERRY Edwin John senior 1970-75 end
PERRY Edwin John junior 1975-78 end
RUDD Alan F 1978
BLACK D 1979
LARGE David 1979
WARNER J F or A J 1979
DIXON Paul 1983-7
LEVINSON R A 1987
BUTTS Tony 1990
BUTTLE Colin 1992
COLLINS Jeff 1993
WEBB Sarah 2003-2005+
Library archives 1974
"Britannia." The next stage:- (Click