Sort file:- Dover, March, 2021.

Page Updated:- Wednesday, 31 March, 2021.

PUB LIST PUBLIC HOUSES Barry Smith and Paul Skelton

Earliest 1851

Railway Bell

Latest 1912

17 Beach Street and Seven Star Street


Railway Bell and Cadman's Shelter

Above photo date unknown from the John Gilham collection, extreme left also showing Cadman's Shelter next to it.


I picked up much information concerning a "Railway Tavern" in Beach Street but the fact that we also had an "East Kent Railway Tavern", with the name frequently abbreviated, and a "Railway Inn", meant that kid gloves were needed. The terms tavern and inn held a significant difference in the past but they were more loosely applied as time passed.

For photo of Beach Street click here.


From The Dover Express (Dover, England ), Saturday, August 21, 1858.


NOTICE of Auction Sale of Valuable Leasehold Estate (held under the usual leases from the Warden and assistants of Dover harbour ), which on Tuesday, August 31, 1858, will be submitted for Sale by Public Auction.

Mr. Henry Stockwell, at the "Gun Hotel," Dover, at 6 o'clock in the evening for 7 precisely:-

A valuable Public House, called the "Railway Tavern," consisting of two messuages or Tenements, communicating, one fronting to Beach Street, the other to Seven Stars Street, Dover, containing very considerable accommodation and in a most commanding situation, fronting the down platform of the Railway Station, occupied by William Pilcher.

Held for a term of 61 years, from 6th April, 1813.

Ground rent 4. 7s. 6d.


From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 20 July, 1861.


William Pilcher, landlord of the "Railway Tavern," Beach Street, was summonsed for keeping a disorderly house. Mr. Minter appeared for the defendant, who on the information being read to him, pleaded not guilty.

Thomas Stokes Barton, sergeant in the Dover police force, said that on the evening of Sunday, July 7th, about half-past ten o'clock, he went to the "Railway Tavern" beer-house, Beach Street, accompanied by two constables. On going upstairs, he saw a soldier and a common prostitute in one of the bed-rooms, and in another room two other girls with soldiers. All the women, to the best of his belief, were women of the town.

Private John Hogan, of the 1st battalion, 60th Rifles, one of the soldiers who had been found under the circumstances described by Barton, was called as a witness, and gave evidence which left no doubt on the minds of the Magistrates that the information was properly sustained.

Mr. Minter contended that the police had not proved that this was a refreshment house within the meaning of the statute; but the Magistrates held that proof of the house being a beer-house, which was furnished my Barton's evidence, was sufficient to bring it under the act of parliament. Mr. Minter then submitted that the production of the license was necessary; but the Bench did not think so, and, as the defendant's solicitor found it impossible to struggle against the evidence, he declined to offer any evidence.

The Magistrates then fined the defendant 2 including costs, or in default, six weeks' imprisonment. Mr. Elsted, who occupied the chair during the progress of this case; remarking that the evidence was so clear as to render it a matter of surprise to him that defendant had retained professional assistance.


From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 9 April, 1864.


William Bryce, the landlord of the "Railway Tavern," Beach Street, was charged with unlawfully and knowingly suffered common prostitutes to assemble and continue upon his premises, contrary to the statute.

Mr. Minter appeared for the defendant in this case.

Police-sergeant Geddes said that on Wednesday evening last, about twenty minutes past seven, in company with police-constable Camps, he went to the house kept by the defendant, in Beach Street, and there found in an upper room, which he thought was used as a tap room, two soldiers and three prostitutes. He called the attention of the landlord to the character of the females in the house, and the landlord said he would get rid of them. He returned in about half an hour, and they were still there. He knew them to be prostitutes, from having seen them about all hours of the night, and with different men.

Mr. Minter asked the witness if he could identify either of the girls he saw at the house.

Geddes said he could; and Mr. Minter then called into the box a girl named Mary Ann Jarvis, and asked if she was one of the girls in question. He replied that it was. Geddes was then very closely questioned as to when he had seen the girl in the company which led him to believe she was a prostitute - whether it was six months, a month, a week, o a day before he visited the home; but he declined to commit himself to an answer to that question, saying that although he knew he had seen her as described, he could not fix the time.

Mr. Minter: No, you are very careful about that. Perhaps if you had fixed a time we should have been able to fix you.

Police-constable Camps was called to give corroborative evidence. In reply to Mr. Minter, he said he had seen the girl Jarvis about the streets during the day, but not at night.

Mr. Minter then addressed the Court for the defence. In this case, the bench were asked to convict upon the evidence of whom - why, upon that of a policeman. And what was that evidence? He submitted that the testimony was not worth their consideration. He had in his evidence told a positive and deliberate untruth; and he seemed to think that because he forsooth, was a policeman of the borough -  because he was a policeman Geddes - that his word was sufficient to get a conviction from the Bench, and that they would not listen to any evidence that was contrary to his views.

The Mayor interpolated that he though Mr. Minter was hardly justified in imputing motives to the Bench in the administration of justice.

Mr. Minter said the Mayor had mistaken his meaning. He hoped not to go as far forget himself as to impute to the bench unworthy motives in the discharge of their duties; but that he intended them to understand was, that Geddes seemed to think that because he happened to be a policeman he had it in his breast to get a conviction, notwithstanding what other evidence might be brought to bear against him. He asked them, therefore, to weigh his evidence as they would that of any independent witness. Now he would just ask them if any court of justice in the kingdom would convict upon a statement like Gedde's, even though made on oath? He swore that one of the girls he saw at the defendant's house was a prostitute, and that he arrived at that conclusion from having seen her about the streets at all hours of the night with different men; but now cautious he was not to fix himself to a time - not even to a month or a day previously - when he last saw her! It was, perhaps, well for him that he had not, because it would have been rather inconvenient  if he had sworn he had seen the girl three weeks ago and it should turn out she had been in the town only a fortnight. In the minds of any unprejudiced men, the evidence of a person who fenced questions in the way Geddes had done, would be considered entirely unworthy of credit. The decision of the magistrates in the former case (Click here) rendered it useless for him to again raise the point that landlords were bound to admit girls of this class for refreshment; but he should call the young woman Jarvis to prove that she was not a prostitute but a servant to the defendant. With regard to the other females spoken of, one was a lodger, and the other was a casual customer, whom the defendant knew nothing about.

Mary Ann Jarvis was accordingly sworn: She said she was engaged by Mr. Bryce as a general servant. She was not a prostitute. She had been in Dover only a fortnight. It was not true she had been seen running about the streets at night with different men. One of the girls at the house when the policemen came in had been lodging there for some days. The other one came in a few minutes before, and called for a glass of beer.

The Bench, after another private consultation, fined the defendant 40s. and costs of 13s.


From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 16 September, 1870. Price 1d.


A new licence was granted to Robert Russell for a house at the Pier.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 6 September, 1874. Price 1d.


The landlord, George Baker, made application for a spirit license. His house was of more than the necessary value.

There was no opposition, but the Bench said they had come to the determination that, as the wants of the neighbourhood were fully met by the existing houses, they could not extend Baker's license.



A serious fire occurred in the Seven Star Street section on 2 August 1882.


From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 4 August, 1882. Price 1d.


The Pier District was disturbed on Wednesday night by a fire, which broke out at the "Railway Bell," Seven Star Street about half past ten o'clock. The "Railway Bell" is in Beach Street, but it has a large clubroom behind, which abuts on Seven Star Street. This room, at the time above named, was seen to be burning, and a warning was given in the street, and about the same time the next door neighbours found the party wall on fire, the smoke coming in from the public house. They had four children in bed, and got them out as quickly as possible. Meantime the husband, whose name is Goodson, went into the street and knocked on the door of the public house, which was closed. On it being opened he found only the landlord in, and he rushed upstairs and saw fire issuing from a sort of cupboard. The landlord of the public house at once gave the alarm in the street, and soon the warning had reached the Fire Station in Queen Street. The fire soon got hold of the old property, and burnt with great fury. The fire cart and hose was brought down, but it was then found that no one had been sent to warn the turncocks to turn on the water, or to concentrate it on the district. The supply in fact was so week that when the London Chatham and Dover Railway fire engine was brought up and a bucket of water was required to prime the pump it took several minutes to get the bucket full from the tap. During the delay the fire made no parley. It took complete hold of the rear building of the public house, and found its way into three adjoining houses, driving the inhabitants into the streets. The worst of it was, one house had three families in it and another two. Their bits of furniture, uninsured, were burnt or destroyed, and the poor people left homeless. Soon after eleven o'clock the water was on effectively, and began to make an impression on the fire. Presently the building where the fire started, fell into the street, smashing the doors and shutters of the houses on the other side of the street, and threatening to demolish that celebrated tenement, of which so much has from time to time been said in connection with certain not over popular Acts of Parliament.

In addition to the turncock not being warned to concentrate the water, no message seems to have been sent from Queen Street up to the Town Hall Police Station, and the superintendent had not heard of the fire until full an hour after the alarm was given at the Pier.

Yesterday morning large numbers were on the spot looking at the wrecked houses, from which the smoke was still issuing, and the water from the mains being reported to be too weak to reach the smoking roof of the adjoining houses, the curate of the Holy Trinity Church was doing his best to prevent a further outbreak with a garden squirt. We suppose the houses are insured, but the poor people's furniture was not. In the house adjoining the "Railway Bell," which is now a mere wreck, lived three families, namely Axford, Goodson and Babage. In the next house to that, also penetrated by the fire, were two families, named Campbell and Hundley. The next house to that had the windows broken by people, without authority, who tried to remove furniture. On the upper side of the fire the house of Mr. Taylor, engineer on the Granville, seemed to have suffered severely, and one end of the wall is entirely gone. The houses of Mr. Uden and Mr. Strong opposite are also much damaged.

The origin of the fire unknown.


Damage :–

No. 45, Back of Railway Bell and 44 Seven Star Street entirely destroyed.

No. 46, Portion of wall destroyed and house damaged by fire and water.

No. 2 and 3 Seven Star Street. windows and sashes broken by falling wall.

No. 17 Beach Street being front of the Railway Bell much damaged by water and smoke.

No. 44, 45, 46, Seven Star Street all insured.

Contents of No. 44 not insured.

Contents of Railway Bell insured and also No. 46.


Brigade in attendance, superintendent and 14 firemen.



Renovation must have proved possible because Mrs. Harding sold it for 400 in October 1890.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 30 August, 1889. Price 1d.



It was reported that the tenant of the “Railway Bell” had left at three o'clock one morning taking his furniture.

Mr. Harding, son of the owner, proved the facts, and a license was granted to J. Joyce, a man put in by the agent to hold but not to sell, until a permanent tenant came to the satisfaction of the Bench.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 28 August, 1891. Price 1d.


A new tenant, T. Allchin, having been put in this house, Mr. Mowll applied for the license to be granted in his name, under the ruling in the case Regina v. the Liverpool Justices, and the license was granted.


Dover Express 27 September 1889.


Beach-street, Dover, facing the S.E. Railway Terminus, to be Let with immediate possession.

Apply to Messrs. Terson and Son, Auctioners and Valuers, 27, Castle-street, Dover.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 7 September, 1900. Price 1d.


John Minter was charged with being drunk and using obscene language in Beach Street.

Police Constable Morris said that on the previous evening he was passing the “Railway Bell” in Beach Street. The landlord said he had a drunken man in the bar, and witness put him out. He refused to go away when outside. He said he lived at Folkestone, and when witness directed him to the Station he used obscene language. Witness took him into custody. He gave considerable trouble, and another constable had to give assistance.

E. Hollis, landlord of the “Railway Bell Inn,” opposite South Eastern Station, said that defendant came into the house about 8.15, during witness' absence. His wife refused to serve the defendant, except a glass of ginger beer. He commenced to sing, and became disorderly, and witness called the constable's attention to him. He was very drunk, and refused to go away, and wanted to fight the Constable.

A fine of 5/-, or in default 7 days' hard labour was inflicted.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 3 October, 1890. Price 5d.


Yesterday afternoon Messrs. Terson and Son offered five public houses, the property of Mrs. Harding, for sale by auction at the “Royal Oak Hotel.” The result was, the “Railway Bell,” Beach Street, was knocked down at 400.



An outlet of the East Kent Brewery at the time, the licence was withheld in 1912. The rebuilding of Beach Street commenced shortly afterwards.


From the Folkestone Express, Saturday, 17 August, 1911.



A meeting of the East Kent Licensing Compensation Authority was held at the Sessions House, Longport, Canterbury, on Wednesday, under the chairmanship of the Right Hon, Lord Harris. No objections were raised to the abandonment of the following licenses, the renewals of which were accordingly refused:- “Railway Bell,” Beach Street, Dover, (George Thomas Stone).


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 26 January, 1912.


The Magistrate are asking that the following houses shall be remitted to the Licensing Compensation Authority, with a view to the licenses being taken away and the owners and tenants compensated: The “Railway Bell,” Beach Street, owned by the East Kent Brewery Company.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 9 February , 1912.


The annual licensing sessions were held at the Town Hall on Monday at noon, before the following Magistrates:- The Mayor (Councillor W. Bromley), Sir William Crundall, Messrs. E. Chitty, T. A. Terson, and J. L. Bradley.


The renewal of the licence of the “Railway Bell,” Beach Street, occupied by Mr. G. T. Stone, was objected to.

Chief Inspector Lockwood stated that he visited the house on 20th January at 8.25 p.m., and found five customers. At 3.05 p.m. on 26th January there was one customer; at 2.33 p.m. on 29th January, no customers; at 5.55 p.m. on 30th January, one customer; at 12.38 p.m. on 31st January, one customer; and at 10.05 a.m. on 1st February, one customer.

The Chief Constable stated that the house was a beerhouse, owned by the East Kent Brewery Company. The licence was transferred to the present tenant on 5th July, 1901. Previous to that the house had to change hands about once a year. The rateable value was 20 gross and 16 net. The licensed houses in the vicinity were the “Sceptre,” 48 yards away; the “Terminus,” 102 yards; the “Brussels,” 108 yards; the “Pier Inn,” 128 yards; and the Station buffet.

The Magistrates without retiring, intimated that the renewal of the licenses would be withheld, and the houses sent forward to the Compensation Authority to deal with.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, 9 February, 1912.



There was a notice of objection against the renewal of the licence of the "Railway Bell," Beach Street, (occupied by Mr. G. T. Stone) on the grounds of redundancy.

Chief Inspector Lockwood stated that he visited the house on 20th January at 8.25 p.m.  and found five customers. At 4.05 on 26th January there was one customer. at 2.33 p.m. on 29th January, no customers; at 5.55 p.m. on 30th January, one customer; at 12.38 p.m. on 31st January, one customer; and at 10.05 a.m. on 1st February, one customer.

The Chief Constable stated that the house was a beerhouse, owned by the East Kent Brewery Company. The house was transferred to the present tenant on 5th July, 1901. Previous to that the house used to change hands about once a year. The rateable value was 20 gross and 16 Nett. The licensed houses in the vicinity were the "Sceptre," 48 yards away; the "Terminus," 102 yards; the "Brussels," 108 yards; the "Pier Inn," 128 yards; and the Station buffet.

The Magistrates, without retiring, intimated that the renewal of the licenses would be withheld, and the houses sent forward to the Compensation Authority to deal with.



SMITH James 1851+ (also miller age 45 in 1851Census)

BRICE William 1864+

Last pub licensee had BAKER George Aug/1874-May/1876 Next pub licensee had Dover Express

RALPH John May/1876+ Dover Express (of Sandwich)

DIXON Charles July/1878+ Dover Express

HAXTON James to Nov/1879 Dover Express

RELFE Henry J Nov/1879+ Dover Express

DOWN George 1881+ (age 54 in 1881Census)

DONOVAN Cornelius July/1883+ Dover Express

LANDALL S J to Sept/1885 Dover Express

COLEMAN F Sept/1885+ Dover Express (Dover pensioner)

RYDEN Jessie 1886

ROYCE J 1886 end

Last pub licensee had HARDING W 1889

Last pub licensee had JOYCE James B 1889 end

ALLCHIN T Aug/1891+ Dover Express

COUCHMAN Sarah 1891+ (age 43 in 1891Census)

EMBERSON George 1895 Pikes 1895

GATEHOUSE Charles James 1898-99 Kelly's Directory 1899

PAIN E 1899

CASHMAN/CUSHMAN Henry Feb/1901+ Dover Express

HOLLIS Mr E July/1901 (age 36 in 1901Census) Post Office Directory 1903Dover Express

STONE Mr George Thomas July/1901-13 (age 40 in 1911Census) Dover Express


Bagshaw's Directory 1847From Bagshaw Directory 1847

Pikes 1895From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1895

Kelly's Directory 1899From the Kelly's Directory 1899

Post Office Directory 1903From the Post Office Directory 1901

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:-