Sort file:- Canterbury, January, 2022.

Page Updated:- Saturday, 08 January, 2022.


Earliest 1858-

(Name from)

Nag's Head

Latest July 1983

(Name to)

11 Dover Street


Nags Head 1930

Above picture showing the original "Nag's Head" pre 1930.

Nag's Head 1935

Above photo, circa 1930, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Nag's Head

Above photo date circa 1931 kindly sent by Doug Pratt.

Nag's Head 1958

Above photo, 1958, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Nag's Head 1959

Above picture showing the "Nag's Head" as built and opened on 31st march 1959.

Nag's Head 1974

Above photo circa 1974, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe. Also showing the "Beehive" left.


The original "Nag's Head" was an 18th century public house that started life as the "Lilypot" and can be traced back to 1626. By 1858 the premises had changed name to the "Nag's Head" and was extended to become an inn and hotel which stood on the pavement of Dover Street. This building was demolished in 1930 and rebuilt slightly back from the original premises. This building was destroyed on 31st may 1942 following a bombing raid, but the pub continued to serve, now as probably one of the smallest inns in Kent, no larger than 18' by 14' and operating from a pre-fabricated bungalow.

In 1917 their stabling was being used by C W Hogben, Commercial Motor Users' Association depot; garage and stabling.

After the war ended the "Nag's head" was again rebuilt as part of a 11 million development plan in Canterbury lasting 20 years. The new building being opened on 31st March 1959.

The name changed to "Gators" in July 1983.


Further information that has been given me says that the original building was bombed and flattened during the WW2, and in order that the licence didn't expire, a temporary prefabracated  building was constructed and used as the "Nag's Head" till at least the early 1950s. When eventually the building we see was erected on the same site, albeit containing some superficial additions and external modifications.

The pub was very popular in the 1950s and 60s as it contained a children's room and catered for families, especially on weekends.

According to Edward Wilmot's book "Inns of Canterbury" published 1988, he says that the original "Nag's Head" was damaged during WW2 and rebuilt, and in 1988 was titled "Gators." Shortly after 1945 the "Nag's head" was described as being:- "Now in temporary one roomed building."


Latest information says that the premises is currently closed and boarded up. (October 2012).


Kentish Gazette, Tuesday 29 December 1857.

Mr Edward Aylett, of the "Nag's Head Inn," Dover Lane, beggs respectfully to inform his friends and the public generally, that he has taken the "Eagle Tavern," Ivy Lane, Canterbury, to which house he is now removing, and where he hopes to be favoured with a continuance of public patronage.


From the Kentish Chronicle, 7 March, 1863.


On Monday, T. Barton, landlord of the “Brewer’s Delight” was fined 1s. and expenses for having company drinking in his house at a quarter before 12 o'clock a.m. on Sunday. There were five persons in the house, three of whom were from Faversham, and the other two belonging to the city.

Mr. Hogwood, landlord of the “Old City of Canterbury” public house was also fined 1s. and costs for having two people drinking in his house at five minutes before 12 o'clock on Sunday morning. Both offences were proved by Superintendent Davies; who also reported that, during his tour of inspection, on Sunday morning, he found people drinking in three other houses—the “Bridge Inn”, the “Beehive” and the “Nag's Head,” but as the landlords of those houses were not present the cases were not gone into.

The Mayor remarked that if the Superintendent had warned some of the offending landlords to attend, he ought to have warned all, as those who had not been warned would be put to the expense of summonses.


Kentish Gazette, 18 July 1854.

MARKET PUBLIC HOUSE. TO LET, with immediate possession.

The "Nag's Head," Dover Lane, close to the Cattle Market, CANTERBURY. Coming in about 135. Declining business is the reason far the present party leaving.

Apply to Messrs. Baggs and Dray, Longport, or at the "Nag's Head."


Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, 31 January 1914.



At the Canterbury Police Court on Friday, Richard Monk, the licensee of the "Nag's Head," Dover Street, was summoned for allowing a waggon to stand in that thoroughfare on January 19th thereby causing an obstruction.

Defendant, for whom Mr. A. K. Mowll appeared, pleaded not guilty.

P.S. Parker stated that at about 10.45 a.m. on the 19th he was on duty at the Cattle Market, when he saw a number of vehicles standing outside the “Nag's Head," in Dover Street, on both sides of the road. He went and shifted some of the waggons that had got horses in them and he called the landlord’s attention to the fact that he was causing an obstruction by having so many outside, and to one waggon in particular which the defendant stored for another man. It was placed out in the street and witness said to defendant: "No one has got a horse with this and you are responsible for this four-wheeled heavy waggon." He replied "Yes, I know that. I have stood it out here because I have not room in my yard. I usually stand it in the market.” 'Witness asked him to put it back in his yard and he said he could not as his yard was full, and he asked witness to come into the yard and see. Witness went into the yard and saw that defendant had a number of waggons and carts in the yard, but it was not packed up, and he thought he had room to put a few more. He had a horse tied up in the yard as well as some in the stable and in the cart lodge. Witness again asked him to put the waggon into the yard and defendant replied: "You go and shift those motors round by the Butter Market, and then I will have these shifted." Witness told defendant the cars in the Butter Market had nothing to do with him, and that he must bring the waggon inside. At 11.55 he again went to defendant and told him to put the waggon inside and he said: "All right." Witness told him it had been standing outside for an hour and ten minutes and that he should have to report him for causing an obstruction. He replied "Oh, you can do what you like." Witness added that prior to going to the defendant a motor car turning round from Bridge Street had had to stop until witness had shifted one of the waggons outside defendants place.

In reply to the Chief Constable witness said that he had been to other places in the immediate neighbourhood of the defendant’s house and asked them to remove vehicles, and they had complied with his request. He had previously cautioned the defendant.

In reply to Mr. Mowll witness said this previous caution was given on December 8th. He then complained to defendant about his having so many of his vehicles outside. He agreed that there were always vehicles outside the "Nag's Head" on market days. His complaint was about the four-wheeled waggon which the defendant was storing.

Witness admitted that defendant told him he had stood this particular waggon out in the street to make room for others in the yard. He should have complained of the obstruction if this waggon had been inside and others in its place had been outside. It was his duty to complain as there was an obstruction.

Mr. Mowll:- You have been a constable for ten years and you know that there are waggons outside a good many places causing what you call an obstruction?

Yes, sir.

Have you complained about them?

I have had complaints about them, and have been instructed by the Chief Constable to caution them.

Witness agreed that on Saturday there were carriers' vans outside both the "Queen's Head" and the "Saracen's Head." The "Seven Stars" was another place, and the "Star" stables another. It was correct that the defendant said he could not possibly get anything else into the yard.

Addressing the Bench Mr. Mowll pointed out that this was not an ordinary case of obstruction such as they got sometimes, and the facts in that case were practically not deputed at all. The Police Sergeant had given his evidence very fairly and well and he had no fault to find with the way in which he had given his evidence. The position really was this: "Is what this man (defendant) is doing, and what other licensed victuallers in the city of Canterbury do on market days, and have done for a very large number of years, probably from time immemorial, is that or is that not a reasonable use of the highway?" If it was then there was no evidence of obstruction, if it was not then of course there was an obstruction. He was putting this bare statement straight a away so that the Bench could consider what it was that they had really to decide. Of course, in one sense, heaps and heaps of things were an obstruction because they did, in fact obstruct the highway. A flock of sheep being driven into the market on market days during the time that they were being driven into the market of course obstructed the highway, and there were countless instances which he might give where people did in fact obstruct the highway. Farmers had to go to market and of course they put up at the nearest place where accommodation could be obtained for their vehicles. He should prove to the Bench, and he thought to their perfect satisfaction, that in fact on this particular occasion there was no room to put any more vehicles into the defendant’s yard, in fact that if more were put in others could not be got out without dragging several others out into the street in order to get them out of the yard, which would cause any amount of trouble, annoyance, and obstruction. What the Bench had to consider was as to whether it was reasonable for farmers coming into the city to trade on every market day—and it had been done to the knowledge of one of his witnesses since 1847 or 1849—to use the highway in the way they were or not. Then again this obstruction did not last all day and not the same sort of obstruction as might be caused by a man placing a harrow, or a couple of trestles and a board to contain goods, outside his shop, and which remained there permanently all day, and day after day. He submitted that if, as he was hoping it was not going to be, the Chief Constable desired really to test the question as to whether these carts, which had been in the habit of going to these houses on market days, ought to do so, and were disentitled to go there any further, then it was not reasonable to bring his client there on a first case. If it was simply a case of the
police saying "we quite understand you must have the carts there, but cause as little obstruction an you can, then his client was agreed and he would do his best. But if the point was that these people were not allowed hereafter, because there was no room in the stable yard, to put their vehicles outside the house where they liked to go for their refreshment, then he did suggest that it required very grave consideration by the Bench before they interfered with a custom which had been going on for a great many years.

Defendant said he had been the tenant of the "Nag's Head" for four and a half years. The waggon in question (of which the police complained that day) was one he had had for sale for a farmer and which he put in the market on market days. It did not go into the market on the day in question because he had received word that it was sold. He put it out in the street to make room for two other traps and therefore was causing less obstruction then would have been the case had he kept it inside and stood the other two carts outside. He could not put it in the yard when the Sergeant requested him to do so, as there was only just room for one the other carts to get out of the yard as it was.

In reply to the Chief Constable defendant admitted that the wagon in question was not one which had been brought in by a farmer that day with a horse attached. It was one he stored at 1s. a week. He agreed that the Sergeant gave him an hour between his first and second visits, but only two carts went away during that time, and they went from the front of the house.

Mr. Mowll:- It is a great convenience to people using your house to put their horses up at your place?

Yes, sir. It is a great source of income to me in all ways.

Mr. William Russell Philpot, of 10, Guildford Road, a Cooper, said he had known Dover Street well since 1847, and he had always seen carts outside the "Nag's head" on market days. In fair week there are a great many more than at other times.

The Chief Constable:- You have lived in Canterbury all your life?

Pretty well.

And you have seen the traffic passing through the city all that time. Don't you think it has increased very much?

Very much indeed. You can't get away from that.

John Harris, age 71, of 4, Rose Lane Square, stated that he was born in Canterbury and as long as he could recollect vehicles and stood outside the "Nag's Head" on market days.

The Bench retired to consider the case and upon returning the Mayor said they had given very careful consideration to it's because it was a very important case really to the trade of Canterbury. The Bench considered that it was a case in which defendant had no right to stand the trap out in the street and thereby cause an obstruction. But having regard to all the circumstances of the case they had decided to dismiss the summons on payment of the costs, which were 14s. 6d.



AYLETT Edward to Dec/1857 Next pub licensee had  Melville's 1858

NORMAN John to Mar/1860 Kentish Gazette

HALL George Mar/1860-62+ (age 33 in 1861Census) Kentish GazettePost Office Directory 1862

KEMP John 1867-74+ (age 33 in 1871Census) Greens Canterbury Directory 1868Post Office Directory 1874

EDWARDS George 1881-82+ (age 46 in 1881Census) Post Office Directory 1882

ROGERS Thomas 1891-1903+ Post Office Directory 1891Post Office Directory 1903Kelly's 1903

MONK Richard Percy 1911-13+ Next pub licensee had (age 30 in 1911Census) Post Office Directory 1913

HOGBEN Charles William 1922+ Post Office Directory 1922

CLARK John Arthur 1930+ Post Office Directory 1930

POTTER Ernest H 1938+ Post Office Directory 1938

RENNELLS Bob 1950s (brother of Albert from the "Unicorn," Bekesbourne.)

MILLS Bill & Jessie late 1950s-early 70s


Melville's 1858From Melville's Directory 1858

Post Office Directory 1862From the Post Office Directory 1862

Greens Canterbury Directory 1868Greens Canterbury Directory 1868

Post Office Directory 1874From the Post Office Directory 1874


Post Office Directory 1882From the Post Office Directory 1882

Post Office Directory 1891From the Post Office Directory 1891

Post Office Directory 1903From the Post Office Directory 1903

Kelly's 1903From the Kelly's Directory 1903

Post Office Directory 1913From the Post Office Directory 1913

Post Office Directory 1922From the Post Office Directory 1922

Post Office Directory 1930From the Post Office Directory 1930

Post Office Directory 1938From the Post Office Directory 1938

Kentish GazetteKentish Gazette


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