Sort file:- Ramsgate, September, 2023.

Page Updated:- Monday, 18 September, 2023.


Earliest 1650-

Red Lion

Open 2019+

1 King Street


01843 586713

Red Lion 1905

Above print circa 1905, kindly sent by Michael Mirams. Showing pub under the livery of Fleet's Brewery.

King's Head perhaps?

Above photo, Ramsgate’s old market place where four streets meet i.e. King, Queen, High, and Harbour Streets. The ’Kings’ sign refers to what has been a church, a cinema, and theatre… all using the name ‘King’s’. The sign is mounted next to the entrance to the "Red Lion."

By kind permission Roy Moore,

Red Lion Red Lion signRed Lion sign 1991

Photographs above and sign left taken by Paul Skelton, 21 July 2012. Customer Paul Waulmsley standing outside.

Sign right October 1991 with thanks from Brian Curtis


The "Red Lion" in the Market Place is probably the oldest surviving pub in the town. It was known as the "Red Lyon" alehouse in 1650, and until 1785 when the first Town Hall was built, was used by the Parish Officers as their administrative base. Records of these ‘council meetings' go back to 1717.


From the Kentish Gazette or Canterbury Chronicle, Saturday, 10 September to Wednesday, 14 September, 1768. Price 2d.


On Saturday the 10th Day of September, inst., about Six o'Clock in the Afternoon, at the “Red Lion” in Ramsgate, (unless the same shall be before sold by private Contract).

A neat and convenient Modern-built Dwelling House, with a good Garden, and a Piece of Ground adjoining in Front (on which any Addition may be made to the House), and all other Appurtenances thereof; situate in the principle Street in Ramsgate, near the Middle of the Town, and now in the Occupation of Mrs. Elizabeth Buckett, Widow.

Enquire of Mr. Fagg, Attorney at Ramsgate.


From the Kentish Gazette, 24 July 1779.


At the "Red Lion" in Ramsgate on Friday the twentieth Day of August next, about five o'clock in the Afternoon (if not sold before by private Contract, of which public Notice will be given) the under mentioned Freehold Estates, in the following Lots, viz.

LOT 1 Acommodious Dwelling House and Brewhouse adjoining, with the several Offices and Appurtenances thereunto respectively belonging, and adjoining, very advantageously situated, in Ramsgate, and late in the Occupation of Mr. John Hooper, Common Brewer, lately deceased; together with the Copper and such other Brewing Utensils as are fixed in the said Brewhouse.

LOT 2. A Stable, large Storehouse and Garden, together adjoining, situate near the sold dwelling House and Brewhouse, on the opposite Side of the Street, and late in the possession of the said Mr. Hooper.

LOT 3. All that well known large and convenient Inn, called the "Red Lion," in Ramsgate, with the Stables, and other Appertenances, thereunto belonging, now in the Occupation of Mr. Guy.

LOT 4. An excellent Vault for the Stowage of Beer, Wine or other Goods, near the said "Red Lion," and late in the possession of the said Mr. Hooper, with the Buildings erected on the said Vault.

LOT 5. A Piece of very good Pasture Land, containing about Two Acres, enclosed by a good wall, lying near the said "Red Lion," and late in the Possession of the said Mr. Hooper.

LOT 6. All that Messuage or Tenement known by the Sign of the "Carpenter's Arms," with the Appurtenances, situate in the Street called the North End, in Ramsgate, and now in the Occupation of Mr. Goss.

LOT 7. All that commodious and modern built Messuage or Tenement, late heretofore known by the Sign of the "Royal Oak," and now by the Sign of the "Ship and Pilot," with all the Appurtenances thereof, situate at the Pier or Harbour in Ramsgate, being very fit, both as to Structure and Situation, for a good public or private House.

LOT 8. All that Messuage or Tenement known by the Sign of the "Red Lion," with the Appurtenances, situate at Church Hill in the Parish of St. Lawrence in the Isle of Thanet, and now in the Occupation of Thomas May.

LOT 9. All that Messuage or Tenement known by the Sign of the "Jolly Farmer," with the Appurtenances, at Manston, in the said Parish of St. Lawrence, and now in the Occupation of the Widow Fox.

LOT 10. One piece of Arable Land containing about one Acre and three Rods, situate in Ramsgate, and now in the Occupation of Mr. George Ferley.

LOT 11. One other piece of Arable Land, containing one Acre and one Rod, more or less, situate in Ramsgate, and now in the Occupation of the said George Ferley.

LOT 12. One other Piece of Arable Land in Ramsgate, containing about Half an Acre, in the Occupation of the said George Ferley.

LOT 13. One piece of Arable Land, containing one Acre and one Rood, lying in the said Parish of St. Lawrence, and late in the Occupation of the said Mr. Hooper.

LOT 14. One undivided fourth Part in Possession, and the Reversion in three simple (expectant the decease of a Person now aged Seventy Years and upwards) of one other fourth Part, of several Pieces or Parcels of Land, containing together about Sixteen Acres, lying in the said Parish of Sr. Lawrence, and in the Occupation of Robert Strivens, William Moss and others.

LOT 15. The Reversion in Fee Simple (expectant on the Decease of the said Person aged Seventy Years and upwards) of an undivided Moiety of eight Pieces or Parcels of Land, containing together about twelve Acres, severally lying in Ramsgate and the said Parish of St. Lawrence and now in the Occupation of Mr. Daniel Bing.

LOT 16. A very convenient and modern built Dwelling House and the Outhouses, Buildings and large Garden thereinto belonging, now in the Occupation of Mr. John Smith, with a Malthouse adjoining, lately occupied by the said Mr. Hooper, situate in the said Parish of Saint Lawrence and near the Parish Church there.

LOT 17. One Piece of exceeding good Arable Land, containing an acre and an half, more or less, adjoining to last mentioned Lot, and well situated for Building on, now in the Occupation of Mr. John Joad.

LOT 18. A Messuage, with the barn, Stable, Orchard, and eighteen Acres of Arable and Pasture Land, thereunto belonging, with the Appurtenances; situate at Dargate; Strood, in the Parish of Herne Hill, in the County of Kent, and now in the Occupation of Mr. William Elliot.

For farther Particulars enquire of Mr. Fagg, Attorney, at Ramsgate.


From the Kentish Gazette, Friday, 19 July, 1791.


From the "White Bear Inn," Basingstoke Street, London.

Returns his sincere thanks to his friends and the public in general for the many favours they have been pleased to bestow on him for the last five years past, begging leave to inform then at the same time, he has taken the "Red Lion Inn" and "London Hotel," Ramsgate, Kent, and furnished it in a genteel stile with all the entire new furniture and beds of the best quality; also laid in a large stock of Wines, Rums, Brandys, &s. all which he will warrant to be as neat as imported, with a good Larder regularly supplied with every thing the season will afford; assuring his friends and the public, that he will neither spare pains or expense to make it as commodious an Inn as any on the road.

B.B. Good Stabling for between sixty and seventy horses, with a suitable number of lock-up coach-houses; also neat post-chaise, able horses, and careful drivers to any part of the kingdom.

Coaches and diligences to and from London every day.

Diligence fare, inside, 1 4s. - outside 12s.

Coach fare 1 1s - outside 11s.


From the Kentish Gazette, 10 October 1837.


FRANCIS FINN respectfully acquaints his friends and the public generally, that he has taken the above business, lately carried on by Mr. T. Cramp, and will enter upon the same on Thursday next. He hopes, by good accommodation and strict attention, combined with moderate charges, to obtain that encouragement and support which it will ever be his study to merit.

Wines, Spirits, Ales, &c. &c. of the best quality.

Good Beds.


Kentish Gazette, 1 October 1844.


On Friday last the members of the St. Peter’s Friendly United Club, from Ramsgate, Margate, and the vicinity, met at the "Red Lion Inn," for the seventh season, to appoint officers; Mr. Daniel Pilcher, was chosen President. There was a numerous attendance, and when it is considered that charity, combined with social friendly feeling are allied to this Club, a good season may be confidently anticipated.


From the Kentish Chronicle and General Advertiser, 21 September, 1861. Price 1 1/2d.


[Before A. Crofton, and T. Whitehead, Esqrs.]

James Boss, a visitor, was charged with driving his horses in King-street, on the 16th instant, in such a manner, as tended to endanger the life of one Henry Rigden.

Complainant deposed:— I was in King-street, near the lamp in front of the “Red Lion.” I was opening some oysters, when a carriage, drawn by two horses, knocked me down, and my hip was hurt. Defendant drove right on. I shouted to him, but he only drove the faster. My barrow was smashed, and the oyster’s thrown into the street. There was no carriage passing him. There was plenty of room. My barrow was close to the curb, one leg of it was on the pavement.

John Hobday corroborated this witness.

Defendant, who had no defence to make, said he should he happy to pay for what damage he had done.

Mr. Crofton, after commenting upon the disgraceful position the defendant had placed himself in, and the injury he might have inflicted upon the boy, fined defendant 2, and costs 13s. 6d.

The Court was crowded with visitors during the case which had apparently excited much interest among them.


From the Thanet Advertiser, 18 April, 1896.


Percy Smith, a bluejacket, and William Shepherd, an ex-soldier, were charged with being drunk on licensed premises, on April 3rd.

Both prisoners pleaded guilty.

P.C. George Pain said that at 8 o'clock on Good Friday evening he was on duty in Harbour street when he saw the two defendants about to enter the bar of the "Royal Hotel." Seeing that they were the worse for drink he told them to go home, and they said they would go further up the street and get their drinks.

He followed them to the Market place, where he lost sight of them for a time, and he afterwards found them in the private bar of the "Red Lion Hotel." They were both drunk at the time.

In answer to a question from the Chief Constable, witness said he went into the "Red Lion Hotel" as the result of a communication from P.C. Cornwall, who was on duty at the Market-place. The time was then between five and ten minutes to nine.

Mr. Weigall asked if anything was known against either of the defendants.

The Chief Constable said that they were both natives of the town. One was a man-o'-war’s man and the other an ex-soldier. Nothing was known against them.

Defendants were each fined 10s. 6d., including costs.


Arthur Wells, landlord of the "Red Lion Hotel," was charged with unlawfully permitting drunkenness on his licensed premises on April 3rd, Good Friday.

P.C. Pain gave evidence that he entered the "Red Lion Hotel" on Good Friday evening in company with P.C. Cornwall. There he saw the two defendants in the previous case. They were both drunk and had glasses of liquor before them. There were five other persons present in the bar. He called the attention of the barmaid to the state of the defendants and she said, "Yes, I know they are drunk, but they have had nothing to drink here." The barmaid said that the glasses containing the beer in front of the two men belonged to the other customers. Witness said, "If you’ve had no drinks here, leave the premises and go home." Shepherd said: "Alright, we'll drink up and go home," and was about to drink from the glass in front of him when the barmaid cleared it away. Witness asked the other customers present if the drinks belonged to them? They, one and all, said "No," and produced theirs. The barmaid, said the constable seemed confused and said she did not know they were as drunk as they were.

By Mr. Weigall: I had had some trouble with the defendants in the street previously.

By Mr. Emery: They had been rolling about the lower part of Harbour street. They were both helplessly drunk. Smith had previously spoke to him distinctly. When he got to the Market-place he described the men to P.C. Cornwall and told him they were drunk. He did not say that the landlord would be reported. The two men came to the Police Station after the affair and complained of having been interfered with. He did not know of any charge against the "Red Lion Hotel," but he had heard that the landlord had been cautioned some three weeks ago. He had not had occasion to caution the house himself.

By the Chief Constable: He had intended to caution tho "Royal Hotel" people when he had seen Smith and Shepherd about to enter that house, and he would have done so to the proprietor of the "Red Lion Hotel" had he not lost sight of the two men. It was not the duty of the police to prevent publicans getting into trouble. At the Marketplace, P.C. Cornwall told him that the two men had gone up the "Red Lion" opening and he went up there in company with the other constable. They found them in the private bar, where they had been served with drinks.

P.C. Cornwall, who was on duty at the Market-Place, corroborated much that the previous witness had stated and in answer to Mr. Emery's question as to why, when he had previously seen Smith and Shepherd rolling in the streets, he did not lock them up, P.C. Cornwall stated that the police would have enough to do if they locked up all offenders of the sort. He saw them go in the direction of the "Red Lion." He did not speak to them.

An altercation here took place between Mr. Emery and Superintendent Ross. Mr. Ross declared that Mr. Emery was wasting time repeating his questions over and over again. Mr. Emery, of course, denied this.

Proceeding, witness said that P.C. Pain told the barmaid that he should report the case. He did not enquire for the landlord, nor did he see him.

P.C. Axon deposed that he saw Shepherd drunk at the Market-place at 9. The sailor he did not see.

This was the case for the prosecution.

Mr. Emery, for the defence, said that the Bench had already settled that Shepherd and Smith were drunk, and he should endeavour to prove that, if such was the case, it was "unwittingly" and not "unlawfully" that Mr. Wells permitted drunkenness. His client knew nothing of the affair until he was presented with the summons, and he had trusted the conduct of his house to an experienced and, he thought, a reliable servant to represent him. It should be considered: first, would he wilfully permit drunkenness? and, secondly, could he be convicted if he unwittingly permitted drunkenness? After the Bench had heard the evidence of the barmaid, which would show that the sailor, who was described as "rolling about the streets," came to the bar and asked, in a very distinct voice, for five drinks, some teetotal and some of intoxicating liquor, they would be able to judge the merits of the case. A man, said Mr. Emery, who could order five separate drinks right off the reel, and pay for them at the same time, could not be helplessly drunk. With regard to Shepherd, the girl had no opportunity of seeing whether or not he was drunk. When he entered with the sailor he was in the background, not coming to the bar at all. She know him for a quiet and orderly fellow. If drunken men had been served it had been against the distinct orders of the proprietor, for Mr. Wells was always most careful in impressing upon his servants the fact that drunken men were not to be served in his establishment. He came to Ramsgate with a special testimonial from Colonel Daniels, the chief constable of Hertfordshire, and during the fifteen years he had been in the Licensed Victuallers' trade he had not been cautioned or convicted once. In the present case, at the time of the alleged offence the landlord was in an adjoining room and yet the constable said he had not been asked for. The landlord was, however, to bear the consequence.

Mr. Arthur Wells, the holder of the "Red Lion" licence, spoke of his former experience in Cambridge and elsewhere. He was in the smoking-room at the end of the bar at the time the alleged offence was committed. He heard nothing of the affair until the summons was served, and he had always instructed his servants particularly not to serve drunken men. The nature of a "caution" which had come out in the police evidence was easily explained. A lady and gentleman had driven over from Margate in a trap and had gone straight into the smoke-room. The police had immediately entered the establishment and declared that the man was drunk. The barmaid had refused to serve them and they had gone off immediately in the trap. This occurrence took place while he (defendant) was away a few weeks ago.

Elsie Smith, barmaid at the "Red Lion Hotel," next gave evidence. She said she had considerable experience in the business, as her parents kept a public house at Margate. She had received special instructions from her present employer not to serve anyone appearing intoxicated, and she had endeavoured to act on those instructions. On Good Friday evening she remembered the sailor and four other men coming into the public bar. The sailor ordered the liquor. She had to attend to two other bars at the same time and she could remember very little of the occurrence.

Smith ordered a half-pint of beer, two glares of ale, a small lemonade, and half a pint of beer and porter, in a very distinct voice and she came to the conclusion that he was sober. Shepherd, who she knew as a quiet and orderly man, was near the door. She took no particular notice of Shepherd further than recognise him, and did not notice his condition. When P C. Paine came in and spoke to her about Smith and Shepherd she made some remark. What it was exactly she could not at that moment call to mind. She thought she told the constable that she had served the sailor, not the other man. Nothing was said about prosecution. Mr. Wells was in the smoke-room, but witness did not think the matter of sufficient importance to mention to him. The landlord was not asked for. After the police had gone the two men returned and asked for two small lemonades, which she refused to serve them with. She mentioned the incident concerning the party in the trap which had been brought up. Shepherd was one of the men for whom Smith paid.

By the Chief Constable: She was busy at the time and she did not remember much. Besides the two defendants in the previous case there were three others in the bar, two women and a man. Witness did not hear the constable tell the men to go; nor, so far as she could recollect, did the officer ask the occupants of the bar as to their drinks. Shepherd said "We'll, drink up and go," but she did not catch what P.C. Paine said. Witness denied taking the glasses away in the manner described.

At the conclusion of the evidence the Justices retired and on returning the Chairman said that, although the Chief Constable was right in bringing the case to the court, it would be dismissed.


Thanet Times, 12 September 1967.

Bull's Eye on Ramsgate. HARRY BULL WRITES.

WHICH IS RAMSGATE’S oldest pub? That is a question which should spark off a discussion or two at the bars at the town’s taverns tonight.

I see that, according to a recent article, the title goes to the "Red Lion, at Market Place, which, the writer says dates back over more than two centuries to the year 1717.

That makes the establishment 250 years old this year.

Indeed, at its cross-roads site, the "Red Lion" has been in the centre of things since long before the Iron Duke's Army camped in Ramsgate on its way to fight Napoleon.

Thousands of gallons of ale had been drawn through the pumps for 100 years before the Bonaparte saga.

Those must have been rip-roaring days when the troops turned Ramsgate into a garrison town and Wellington himself is said to have
come to Ramsgate to inspect the Army before it went into battle.

They are commemorated in the names of such places as Wellington Crescent and Plains of Waterloo, and La Belle Alliance Square.

The association lives on too, in the names of some of the pubs. Some of the hostelries with claims to antiquity have disappeared in recent years as old buildings have come down to make war for new.

Places like the old "Fountain Inn," at York Street, where some years ago I investigated an ancient tunnel discovered under the building which may have led to the quayside at the harbour.

History has it that the Ramsgate Commissioners — forerunners of the town council — used to hold their meetings at the "Red Lion." And that was not yesterday.

Ramsgate has been a borough for 83 years, there have been two world wars, and we've got colour television.

Other veteran establishments in the victualling world must include the "Duke of York," in Addington Street, the "Deal Cutter," King Street, and the "Lord Nelson," Queen Street. Can you think of any others? Even if you can't it is a pleasant enough pastime trying to compile a Top ten list.

By the way, don't forget to count in St. Lawrence, Manston and Cliffsend. They are all part of Ramsgate.


Thanet Times, Tuesday 25 April, 1964.

George Bragg, the Red Lion

George Bragg 1964

The "Red Lion" is one of the oldest pubs in Ramsgate, ever since the 18th century it has been at the heart of things. It could hardly be otherwise, because it is situated right in the centre of the town at the junction of the four main street. It stands in King Street, which two centuries ago was known as North End.

The present licensee, Mr. George Bragg, has been providing behind the counter for more than 14 years. "It will be 15 years next October," he said the other day. "Pub Life," he added, "is very enjoyable. I came here from Deptford. When I was a young man I was at Deal for about 10 years and my parents had a public house there.

A Busy Season.

The "Red Lion" does a lot of passing trade in addition to providing refreshment for its local regular customers and, as in any seaside town, the approach of the summer season herald's a busy time for the landlord and his staff.

"It is an interesting occupation and the atmosphere is very nice," said George, between serving customers.

His interests include, of course, the Licensed Victuallers' Association, his trade organisation, and he is a member of the Isle of Thanet branch committee. During closing hours one of his favourite relaxations is to be on the golf course. "I like to get out into the fresh air," he said.



The pub was renovated and after a short time closed reopened in April 1988.


Thanet Times, Tuesday 26 April 1988.

Geoff and Barbara Billinghurst 1988

Above photo showing the licensees Geoff & Barbara Billinghurst, 1988.


East Kent Times and Mail,- Wednesday 3 December 1975.

Banned drinker set about pub landlord.

SENTENCE on an 18-year-old Ramsgate youth was deferred until April next year by Margate Crown Court on Thursday.

In two separate trials during the week Alan Shaw of Duncan-road, Ramsgate, denied theft of a pair of trousers from a Ramgate mens boutique on December 23, 1974; theft of a dress from Chelsea Girl boutique, Ramsgate on January 2, 1975; and burglary and theft of spirits, liqueurs and cigarettes belonging to Pleasurama Limited at Ramsgate between December 24 and 27, 1975.

He admitted assaulting Ramsgate publican Mr. Joseph Henry on April 10, 1975, causing actual bodily harm and was convicted of the burglary offence and theft of the dress.

He will come up for sentence before Judge Brian Clapham at Gravesend Crown Court on April 14, 1976.

Miss Elizabeth Brann, prosecuting, said Shaw was seen with a youth called Georgiou in a Ramsgate men's boutique on December 23 acting suspiciously.

"An assistant noticed a pair of trousers hidden under Georgiou's coat and when he realised they had been spotted. Shaw took the trousers and held them up as though he had just taken them from the rack.

"A similar incident took place in Chelsea Girl boutique in Ramagate High-street when Shaw spoke to the manageress while Georgiou took a dress and tried to remove it from the shop without paying for it."

Shaw admitted he had been in both shops with Georgiou but told the court he had not been party to any thefts. "I had no Intentions of stealing anything," he said.

Dealing with the burglary offence, Miss Brann said:- "Over the Christmas period last year Papa Docs, a nightspot in Ramsgate, was entered and a quantity of spirits, liqueurs and cigarettes taken worth about 50.

Thumb print.

Shaw's thumb print was found on a creme de menthe bottle but when questioned by police he claimed he had been at home and knew nothing of the matter.

Shaw told the court on Thursday: "On Christmas Eve I went out with ray girlfriend and we I went to Papa Docs. During the evening I was trying various drinks and may well have touched the bottle when I asked the barman if I could look at it.

"We left when the bar closed about midnight and then went straight home and I didn't go out again that night.

"On Christmas Day I want out with some friends in the morning but when I got home for Christmas dinner, didn't go out again that afternoon or evening.

"I did not go out at all on Boxing Day but did go out the day after and went to Papa Docs. I had nothing to do with this burglary.

Outlining the assault offence to which Shaw pleaded guilty Miss Brann said:- "About 8 pm on April 10 Mr. Henry was in his public bar of the "Red Lion" public house when Shaw came in.

"Shaw was barred from the premises and was asked three times by Mr. Henry to leave.

"Shaw then grabbed the licence's tie and a struggle ensued.

"During this another youth, Georgiou came in and picked up a chair. Mr Henry prevented himself from being hit with it by using Shaw to knock it away.

"Mr Henry sustained bruising to his face and a black eye as a results of the struggle.

"When questioned by police Shaw claimed Mr. Henry had started it and he was only defending himself but there was no obvious signs of injury on the defendant"




HOLLOWAY Joseph 1823-32+ Pigot's Directory 1828-29Pigot's Directory 1832-34

FINN Frances Oct/1837-51 (age 44 in 1851Census)

FISHER John 1851+ (age 35 in 1851Census)

TUNBRIDGE George 1857-74+ (age 47 in 1871Census)

BUSH William 1881+ (age 37 in 1881Census)

DANIEL Silas 1890+

TWYMAN Benjamin 1891+

WELLS Arthur Edward 1896-1907+

BARTLETT Charles Frederick 1911-18+ (age 42 in 1911Census)

SMART Robert 1922+

ROBERTS Thomas 1929+

JOHNSON Albert T 1930+

JOHNSTON Florence M Mrs 1934-39+

BRAGG George Arthur Oct/1949-64+

HENRY Joseph 1975+

BILLINGHURST Geoff & Barbara Apr/1988+


Pigot's Directory 1828-29From the Pigot's Directory 1828-29

Pigot's Directory 1832-34From the Pigot's Directory 1832-33-34



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