Sort file:- Canterbury, January, 2020.

Page Updated:- Friday, 31 January, 2020.


Earliest 1983

(Name from)

Old Locomotive

Closed 2000

12 Station Road West


Old Locomotive 1987

Above photo taken on 9th December, 1987. Photographed and sent by Steven H Silver.

Old Locomotive 1990

Above photo, 1990, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Old Locomotive

Above photo June 2001 taken from

Old Locomotive site

New buildings being constructed in April 2006.

Old Locomotive sign 1987Old Locomotive sign 1989

Above sign left 1987, sign right, 1989 by Richard Green.


Previously called the "Railway Inn" and has been traced back to 1874.

The first pub from Canterbury West Station, this was a rather cramped pub where the bar serving area was about a metre from the main door.

The building was destroyed in a gas explosion in July 2002 killing one person and today a residential block has been built in its place.


From August 2002

A man may be trapped inside the rubble of a disused pub that collapsed after an explosion on Sunday.

Firefighters have been trying to get into the former Old Locomotive pub in Canterbury, Kent after reports that a man may have been inside.

They were initially pulled back because of the further risk of collapse but they are now beginning to sift through the rubble.

Another man, believed to be the former landlord, was slightly injured in the blast, which is thought to have been caused by a ruptured gas main.

It is thought that the trapped man may have been a squatter.

A Fire Brigade spokesman said: "It has been derelict for two years but it is known that there has been a squatter presence in the premises during that time.

"I don't know whether it was the landlord that said there was someone in there or whether it was one of the neighbours."

Fire crews were dousing flames caused by the explosion at 2130 BST when the building in Station Road West collapsed.

Firefighter Brian Wash told BBC Kent that early indications were that someone was in the building at the time of the explosion.

He had been forced to pull firefighters back because of the risk of further collapse.

Mr Wash said: "The buildings on either side in some way cushioned the blast.

"Normally you would expect some lateral movement, but the building took the full brunt of the blast and it's literally come down like a deck of cards into its own cellar."

A Kent Police spokesman said: "There is someone unaccounted for, but we don't know if he was in there at the time."

Fire crews will be using a snake-eye camera and a vibraphone - equipment used to search for people trapped after an earthquake.

The search is expected to last most of the day.


From Wednesday, August 21 2002 by Gerry Warren

Man's body found after explosion

THE body of a man has been discovered in the rubble following an explosion and fire at the disused Old Locomotive pub in Canterbury.

The explosion occurred on Sunday night in Station Road West. It caused the building to collapse. Police later appealed for a 40-year-old man from Canterbury to come forward after his family reported him missing.

Today a Kent police spokesman said that a body had been found last night. He added: "We have not yet had a formal identification and we are not releasing further details until next-of-kin have been informed."

Police are continuing enquiries into the incident which they are treating as suspicious.


From Thursday, December 09 2004

Pub arsonist's appeal dismissed

GUILTY: Keith Willoughby outside court in Canterbury at an earlier hearing.

Keith Willoughby

THE family of the taxi driver killed in an explosion at the Old Locomotive pub in Canterbury in 2002 say they can finally look to the future now his killer's appeal has been dismissed.

Keith Willoughby has failed to get his manslaughter conviction overturned in the Appeal Court.

Lord Justice Rose found the conviction was "safe" although he concluded it would have been preferable if the case had been left to the jury on the basis of death caused by an unlawful and dangerous act.

Instead, the jury was directed on "gross negligence" manslaughter which related to claims that Willoughby had owed cabbie Derek Drury a "duty of care".

Willoughby, 54, of Wincheap, Canterbury, was jailed for 12 years at Maidstone Crown Court in April, after being found guilty of arson, being reckless as to whether life was endangered and the manslaughter of Mr Drury, 40, of Station Road, Whitstable.

After the appeal hearing, Mr Drury's sister Denise Cutress said it was a turning point for the family. "We are so relieved that it is all over now," she said.

"It has been going on for so long now that we just want to be able to move on with our lives. Nothing is going to bring Derek back but at least we know Keith will stay where he belongs."

The Old Locomotive in Station Road West, Canterbury, was destroyed by fire and an explosion on August 18, 2002.

After the appeal was dismissed, Willoughby's QC, Richard Barraclough, said there was a possibility of Willoughby applying to challenge his 12-year jail term.


From the Kentish Gazette, Thursday, 5 January, 2012 by Alex Claridge

Why I blew up my own pub, by arsonist

Keith Willoughby, the landlord who blew up his pub and killed a man, is back living in Canterbury – just 200ft from the scene of his crimes.

Keith WilloughbyThe 61-year-old has just finished serving eight years of a 12-year prison sentence for torching the Old Locomotive at Station Road West in August 2002.

He is now living in a flat in Kirby's Lane – and has spoken exclusively to the Gazette about his time in prison, his life today and that fateful night nine years ago.

Willoughby, a former pupil of St Edmund's School, had run the Old Locomotive from 1987, but by the late 1990s had run into financial trouble and closed it in 2000.

It came to be an unwanted burden and on August 18, 2002, he and his friend Derek Drury – a taxi driver from Whitstable – went there with the intention of burning it down.

“The aim was to have done with it. The place was a wreck,” Willoughby admits today.

He says that a few days before the blast, he and Drury took petrol to the building and stashed it in the top floor.

When they returned on August 18, they splashed it around the pub on every floor.

As they were setting about their plan, Drury turned on a gas oven.

Derek Drury

The 60-a-day smoker then went out to the spiral staircase at the back of the pub and lit up.

Willoughby was in the road in front when the blast occurred.

“It was a vicious cocktail of petrol, gas and vapours,” he recalls. “When it exploded, I was in the road and was showered with glass. Derek was killed by the wall which collapsed on him.”

Willoughby subsequently stood trial at Maidstone Crown Court in 2004.

He says lawyers had encouraged him to deny the charges, but he was convicted after a 13-day trial of manslaughter, arson and being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

The hearing was told that Willoughby sold the site of the destroyed pub for 480,000 and, despite prosecution claims that he had profited from his crimes, the judge disagreed and no confiscation order was made.

A block of flats has since been built where the Old Locomotive once stood.


Old Locomotive premises

Above picture taken from Google maps July 2009, showing the premises of the Old Locomotive, now Matthew Court.



WILLOUGHBY Keith 1987-2000


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