Sort file:- Dover, March, 2021.

Page Updated:- Wednesday, 31 March, 2021.


Earliest 1867

(Name from)

Imperial Hotel

Latest 1871

(Name to)

Commercial House Street

39 Council House Street


Imperial Hotel 1893

Above photo taken 1893 showing what is described as Woolcomber Street improvements. At the time the Imperial Hotel would have been closed or undertaking renovations to become the "Burlington Hotel" in 1897.


Originally, this building was on the site of "Clarence House." After reopening in 1852 it was named the "Clarence Hotel" but changed name to the "Imperial Hotel" on 6 April 1867 with a 61 year lease. Again the hotel was closed from 1871 to 1897, when it was restored and reopened as the "Burlington Hotel" by the Frederick Hotel Company. Barry Smith has found a licensee call "Licence" in 1881 although I haven't yet traced this source. I assume the gentleman held the license but never served from the premises.


From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 12 April, 1867.


Wednesday: (Before the Mayor, Sir Luke Smithern, Captain Crookes, and J. G. Churchward, R. Dickeson, J. C. Ottaway, S. Finnis, T. E. Back, W. R. Mowll, and S. M. Latham, Esqs.)

A temporary license was granted to Charles Tomkins, for the "Imperial Hotel."

The Court was cleared to admit the Bench considering what course should be adopted in reference to temporary licenses for the Easter Review, and after some consultation it was decided that such licenses should be granted, to extend from the Thursday before Good Friday to the following Tuesday, the houses to be opened till eleven each night, with the exception of Good Friday and Sunday, when the usual hours would be observed, and Easter Monday, when publicans would be permitted to keep open till two o'clock the following morning.

After this, the Mayor Messrs. Latham, Dickeson, and Mowll, and Captain Crookes were the only magistrates remaining on the Bench.


From the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, 13 April, 1867. Price 1d.


The works at this hotel are being pushed forward with a view to its opening for the reception of volunteers, at Easter, some idea of its capacity may be judged front the fact that arrangements are in progress for 1,000 beds being brought into use there on the forthcoming occasion.

From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 20 September, 1867.


The opening of a new hotel at such a cosmopolitan place as Dover is an event that may be said in some degree to possess an interest to every section of that large portion of the British public, who once a year betake themselves and their families either to the seaside or to the Continent. Dover is certainly not deficient in good hotels where passengers en route may obtain excellent accommodation while waiting for the packet boat or the mail train, but it is believed that there is room in the town for a first-class family hotel, intended for the use, principally of persons proposing to spend their holidays at Dover. It is with this idea that the "Imperial Hotel" has been erected. The building was commenced about three years ago by a company called the "Clarence Hotel Company," but the necessary funds not being forthcoming for the completion, it was leased to a new proprietor in the beginning of the present year. The undertaking is now known as the "Imperial Hotel Company," and under its superintendence the erection has been completed, and the necessary furniture provided. This hotel promises to add considerably to the popularity of Dover as a watering-place, for it combines every requisite for a convenient family residence. It is situated at the east end of the town, under the Castle-hill, away from all the bustle of the harbour, and its numerous rooms are arranged in suites to give every convenience for visitors. Although standing a little back from the promenade, the front windows have and extensive sea-view over the site of the square known as the Clarence-lawn. The grounds are of about an acre in extent, and contain a number of fine trees, which have been carefully preserved, so that the enclosure when laid out as an ornamental ground will have the additional charm of being well wooded. The building has been erected at a cost of about 70,000. It is in the Italian style, from the designs of Mr. Whichcord. The ground-floor, approached from a portico projecting from the tower, has a suite of three large coffee-rooms facing the sea.  The principle one of these is a fine room 45 feet by 30 feet; another, 45 feet by 22 feet, is to be devoted to the use of ladies; and it is contemplated to ass a conservatory to this in the rear to lead into the gardens. branching away to the right from the vestibule is a long corridor, from which various private saloons open, and at the end of which is situated a large billiard-room, 42 feet by 25 feet. A stone staircase leads to the upper part of the house, where there are some rooms well adapted for receptions, meetings, balls, and other public purposes. The building altogether is five storeys in height, and contains 240 rooms; at present 200 of these are open, of which 75 are bed and dressing-rooms. The basement floor contains every requisite for the carrying on of a very extensive business. The kitchens are fitted up with all the improvements which are in use in similar buildings, most of the cooking being done by steam, supplied by large boilers inside the structure, and lifts have been provided for lessening the work connected with the establishment.

The inauguration dinner of this Hotel took place last Saturday. The repast was a most excellent one. Upwards of one hundred sat down, including Alfred Smee, Esq., F.R.S. (Chairman), Chairman of the "Imperial Hotel Company"; the Mayor of Dover, Sir Luke Smithett, S. Finnis Esq., Mr. W. Hawes, Chairman of the Society of Arts, W. C, Fooks, Esq., Mr. and Mrs. Thornthwaite, E. W. Knocker, Esq., J. Stilwell, Esq., Mr. Ottaway, Dr. Drake, Dr. Parsons, Dr. Marshall, Mr. Walter, Joel Ellis, Esq., Henry Graves, Esq., Mrs. Smee, Mr. and Mrs. G. F. Anderson, F. J. Law, Esq., Mr. and Mrs. Bowley, of the "Crystal Palace" F. Robinson, Esq., J. Whitecord, Esq., (the architect), Idehand Long, Esq., Mr. H. and the Misses Finch, Copeman, Esq., E. Cottam, Esq., Percy Court, Esq., T. H. Devonshire, Esq., Dr. Astley, H. A. Linford, Esq., (Secretary).

Music was provided, the arrangements in this department being  under the direction of Mr. Fielding. With him were Miss Blanche Elliston and Mr. Farquharson, and the glees and songs were very excellently given.

Grace having been sung, and the toasts of the "Queen" and the "Royal Family" having been drunk, the Chairman gave the Army, Navy, and Volunteers, which were responded to by Sir Luke Smithert on behalf of the Navy, and Captain Finch, of the London Royal Brigade, on behalf of the Volunteers.

The Chairman, in proposing the principle toast of the evening, which came next, "Success to the "Imperial Hotel Company," took occasion to observe that it was one of the results of the Limited Liability Act, by which a number of individuals, contributed small sums of money, were able to bring about very considerable results. Notwithstanding that in some instances the act had been taken advantage of for very improper purposes he was convinced that it was one of the most valuable instances of modern legislation. The present company had been formed to lease the hotel from the "Clarence Hotel Company," who erected the building. It was raised from freehold ground, and consisted of about 234 rooms, of which 150 were destined to be bedrooms. It was estimated that the hotel was capable of accommodating 200 visitors, and arrangements had been made by providing handsome rooms for the accommodation of the distinguished visitors who were frequently staying at Dover. The company intended no opposition to the hotels already in Dover. The building has been erected in what he might call the residential part of the town, in order that it might suit the convenience of persons intending to reside in the place for two or three weeks .It was a fact that there was no sea-side place less known in London than Dover. but he believed that the natural advantages of the town were so many and so great, and the sources of interest and attractions so various, that proper accommodation was the only thing wanted to make Dover one of the most fashionable and frequented watering-places on the coast. 100,000 had been spent on the hotel - 75,000 in the building, and 25,000 in furnishing it. In respects of the profits on the undertaking; the estimate was that if the hotel was always full all the year round the receipts would be about 60,000 per annum, of which about 30,000 would be profit, and after deducting 4,500 for rent and about 15,000 for interest in capital, they would see that the most exorbitant interest could be payable to the shareholders. Of course, there would be slack times, when the hotel would not be full, but he believed that, after making every reasonable deduction, the undertaking would assuredly prove very remunerative. The toast was drunk with rounds of applause.

A number of other toasts followed, including "the Mayor and  Corporation of Dover," responded to by the Mayor (W. R. Mummery, Esq.), "The Prosperity of Dover," responded to by Mr. S. Finnis, and "The Ladies," responded to by Sir Luke Smithett - and everything passed off in a satisfactory manner.


From the Dover Express. June 1868.


Yesterday morning a fire took place at the Imperial Hotel through the overheating of the flues. The circumstances were discovered about 2 o'clock and on the alarm having been raised the fire brigade under the direction of Superintendent Coram was soon on the spot. An abundant supply of water was quickly obtained from the public mains and the progress of the fire was arrested. Although the flames had then been extended but a small distance the damage done was considerable and we understand the claim upon the company in which the hotel is insured is a heavy one. The mischief caused by the fire was so exaggerated by rumour that the manager of the hotel thought it necessary to issue bills in the course of yesterday informing the public that the business of the hotel was being conducted as usual.


Information kindly supplied by Joyce Banks.


Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, Saturday 16 January 1869.

The Imperial Hotel.

We are given to understand that the freehold of the "Imperial Hotel" in Dover, which was put up by auction on Friday week, and was stated by a contemporary as being still for sale for 45,000 (half its cost,) was subsequently sold by private contract and will be carried on.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 26 March, 1869.


There was a claim for flowers and grapes, supplied at a banquet given to the Duke of Cambridge at the "Imperial Hotel." The amount of the claim was 2 6s. 5d. The defendant, for whom  Mr. Lewis appeared, is the manager of the Hotel, and the proprietor is well-known florist of the Wellington Nursery, Dover. There was no question about the goods having been supplied, but the defence of the "Imperial Hotel Company, Limited" and not the defendant, was liable. The plaintiff was non suited.


From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 10 June, 1870. Price 1d.


The license of the "Imperial Hotel" was transferred to Mr. J. C. O'Reilly, the Secretary to the "New Imperial Hotel Company."


Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser, Monday 8 January 1872.

Grand Ball at the Imperial.

On Wednesday evening, a grand ball was given by Mrs. E. W. Barnett, at the "Imperial Hotel." There were 140 guests, including the elite of the town and neighbourhood, and the ball was pronounced be the most successful ever held in Dover. The large coffee room had been prepared for dancing, and was beautifully decorated, whilst the hall had been tastefully arranged, and presented a charming appearance. Supper, provided by Mr. Abbott, was laid in the ladies' drawing-room, and the musical arrangements were under the control of Mr. Jarrett.


From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 2 February, 1872. Price 1d.


Mr. Abbott, the manager of the "Imperial Hotel," was summonsed for 60, rates due to the Local Board; and an order was made for payment, the Town Clerk promising to withhold the execution of a warrant till he had satisfied himself whether the winding-up of the company, which was now in process, was voluntarily, by order of the Court of Chancery. In the latter case the Board would not be able to recover by distress, though in the former they might.

The Bench said a warrant would be issued only upon the Local Board giving the Bench an indemnity.


From the Deal, Walmer, and Sandwich Mercury, 3 May, 1873.

The "Imperial Hotel" is to again be offered for sale. This time the upset price is to be 26,000. It cost nearly 90,000.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 9 May, 1884. 1d.

Another idea is afloat of making some practical use of the “Imperial Hotel,” the obstacle at present being a disagreement as to the price of it.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 22 February, 1889. Price 1d.


The work of repairs to the “Imperial Hotel,” Liverpool Street, for which Mr. W. T. Dowel's tender has been accepted are as follows: For works in division 1, 246; division 2, 503.


From the Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser, Tuesday 14 October 1890.

Dover Propose New Headquarters.

It is stated that the war department are considering the advisability of either taking the "Imperial Hotel" or Westmount, Folkestone Road, Dover, for a brigade office, officers' quarters, and also offices for the general staff. The "Imperial" has been favourably reported upon by the surveyor to the department, and it is probable that upon giving up the Guildford Battery the military headquarters will be at the "Imperial Hotel."



TOMKINS Charles Apr/1867+ Dover Express

BAILEY C A 1870 Next pub licensee had

O'REILLY Mr J C June/1870 Dover Express

ABBOTT Joseph Feb/1871-July/72 Dover Express

FREEBARN John July/1872 (the liquidators agent.) Dover Express




Dover ExpressFrom the Dover Express


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