Sort file:- Canterbury, August, 2023.

Page Updated:- Friday, 04 August, 2023.


Earliest 1837-

True Briton

Latest 1871+

8 (17) Northgate Street



At number 12 there was the "British Flag" public house along the Northgate Street, butt hat was only traced from between 1881 and 1882 to date. This pub has been traced from between 1858 and 1862.

They come, they go along Northgate Street, and so far I have managed to trace no less than 35 different names of pubs. Some, of course just changed name over the years and are actually the same premises.


From the Kentish Gazette, 25 May 1837.

An inquest was held at the workhouse in this city on Thursday last, before Mr. Delasaux, coroner, on the body of a pauper named William Driver, who had been permitted to visit his friends on the Monday preceding, he being then in good health, and was found in a wood near Bridge on Tuesday morning, in a dying state. He was removed to Bridge Union, and from thence to the Canterbury Workhouse, where he was promptly attended by Mr. Andrews, the surgeon, and notwithstanding his exertions, he died about five o’clock in the same evening.

Verdict— Natural Death.

Also on Friday, before the same coroner, at the "True Briton," in Northgate-street, in this city, on the body of Charles Kelly, a Pay Serjeant of the 20th Foot, stationed in Canterbury, who committed suicide the same morning by cutting his throat with a knife, it appeared he had been a Colour Serjeant, the badge of which he had recently been deprived of for neglect of duty; this circumstance, together with the refusal of some indulgences granted to the other soldiers of the regiment when at the Cape of Good Hope, during their late passage from India, appeared to have deeply affected him, and it is supposed caused him to commit the rash act.

Verdict:— Temporary Insanity.


From the Kentish Gazette, 19 July 1842.


Between seven and eight o’clock on Sunday morning, a woman of the name of Elizabeth Sole, committed suicide at the "True Briton" public-house, Northgate-street, Canterbury, by cutting her throat. The deceased having been in a depressed state of mind, suspicion was raised by her stopping a considerable time in an outhouse. A man who lives in the house went to the place, and peeping through a crevice in the door, discovered her weltering in her blood. He gave the alarm to her father the landlord of the above house.) She was lying on the floor, and drew her last gasp as a man named Brett entered.

Kentish Gazette. Tuesday 28 February 1843.

Inquests. (Canterbury).

Another inquest was held on Tuesday evening, at the "True Briton" public house, Northgate, on George Austin, age 78, who died in a fit. Deceased was entering on the threshold of an acquaintance's house, and just as he was about to speak, he fell suddenly, and life, on examination, was found extinct.

Verdict:- "Natural death."


From the Kentish Gazette, 16 June 1846.


Carter:— June 15, in Northgate-Street, Canterbury, Mr. Carter, landlord of the "True Briton," in his 63rd year.


Dover Chronicles 20 June 1846.


June 15, at Canterbury, Mr. Carter, landlord of the "True Briton" in his 63rd year.


Kentish Gazette, 9 October 1849.


Coroner’s Inquest.

An inquest was held by T. T. DeLasaux, Esq., on Tuesday last, at the "True Briton," on the body of Joseph Millgate, aged nine years, who had died during the previous night from the effects of the prevailing epidemic.

Inspector Spratt deposed to having seen the body of deceased at the residence of his parents, who appeared in great poverty, occupying two rooms in a yard in Northgate-street, known us Cold Harbour-square. In the yard pigs were kept; and nearly adjoining the premises, occupied by many persons, stood a large dung-heap; and the effluvia arising from that, together with the night soil exposed and flowing to a ditch close by, rendered the place very dangerous to the health of the inhabitants of the neighbourhood. Spratt added that a sister of the deceased had also died on Friday last in the same room, and that the body had been kept unburied until that day (Tuesday), when he had insisted on its interment. Mr. T. S. Cooper, surgeon, deposed that he attended the deceased, Joseph, first on Thursday last, when he found him labouring under the prevailing disorder, which had attacked him very rapidly, and he was then in a collapsed state, with all the symptoms of the most malignant character. Every attention was paid to deceased, who rallied from the attack, but he eventually sank under the consecutive fever which in many cases follows the Asiatic cholera. From questions put by the Coroner, Mr. Cooper said he could not say that either the disorder or death had been occasioned by the nuisances existing in the vicinity, but most certainly they would predispose those living near to its attack, and accelerate its fatal results. The jury, after a brief consultation returned a verdict of "Natural death," and expressed a hope that the public authorities would see to the nuisances as described by the evidence bring removed. The Coroner remarked that he would make a representation to the Board of Guardians, or those by whose authority the existing evil could be remedied, and alluded to the public advantage likely to accrue from investigations like the present, as but for it the state of this neighbourhood would have passed unheeded. It was stated by Mr. Cooper, that previous to the death of deceased he had been, by order of the Board of Guardians, attending his sister, Susannah Millgate, aged 19 years, who had died of the same complaint on Friday last. The family was in great poverty, and the parish authorities had duly attended to their necessities from the time application had been made to them.


Kentish Gazette, 10 September 1850.

On the annual licensing day (Thursday last) our city magistrates suspended the following licenses:-

"Military Tavern," King Street;

"Eight Bells," King Street;

"Duke of York," Riding Gate;

"Kentish Arms," Jewry Lane;

"Eagle," Whitehorse Lane;

"Golden Cross," Northgate;

"Queen's Head," Northgate;

"City of London," Tower Street;

"Duke's Head," Wincheap;

"True Briton," Northgate;

"Royal George," Northgate;

"Queen's Arms," Northgate; and

"Three Grenadiers," Military Road.


Kentish Gazette, 23 September 1851.


This was an adjourned day for granting licences, there being on the bench the Mayor, Aldermen Cooper, Brent, and Plummer, and Mr. Sprakeling.

The following licences, which had been deferred for consideration, were altogether refused:— The "Briton" (W. Carter).


Kentish Gazette, 14 October 1851.



Thursday.— (Before the Mayor, Aldermen Plummer, Brent, and Neame, and Messrs, Sprakeling and Wootton.)

The appellants were Wm. P. Carter of the "True Briton," public-house, Northgate, and Wm. Keith, of the "Eagle," White Horse Lane.

Mr. Sandys appeared for both parties. The Magistrates had refused lo renew the applicants' licenses, and the Court of Guardians to increase their rating, to enable them to obtain a beer license; they now appealed against the poor rate made on the 12th of September last, on the ground that they were not sufficiently rated.

Mr. Sandys, in opening his case, stated that it was important parties should be properly and fairly rated, as on it sometimes depended various civil rights and privileges. After mentioning the particulars, as afterwards elicited in evidence, he called for the production of the last three rates, whereupon the usual rate-books were handed in, but be objected to them all, as in no case was there the usual heading required by law, setting forth that the rates were made for the relief of the poor; and further they were not certified at "the foot," by the churchwardens and overseers who made the rates.

The Clerk stated that the law merely specified that the rates should be certified at "the foot of the form," and said nothing about the foot of the rates.

The Mayor remarked that if this objection were good for anything, it would deprive the bench of the power of raising the rating as required.

Mr. Walker objected to the validity of the rate being gone into, as it formed no part of the appeal.

Mr. Sanders then called Wm. P. Carter first, who deposed to his having occupied the "True Briton" the last five years, paying 21 a year—a bona fide rent; and produced receipts of his landlord. In cross examination, he admitted there was a cottage, sometimes letting for a shilling or eighteen-pence a week, which formed part of the premises.

William Keith was next called; and he deposed that his house, which formerly was two cottages, let at 20 a year he being an under tenant of Mr. Beer’s; and witness stated that he would give 20 a year for the premises even were the license taken away.

Mr. White, rate collector, also spoke to this amount having been exacted of previous tenants, but stated that one of the two cottages which formed the beer house was compounded.

Mr. Walkier, observed that the main question they had to try was, what was the annual value of these premises? Now, he submitted that the rent was no criterion of their value, and that after deducting repairs and the other usual outgoings, neither of these houses could be said to be underrated; in proof of which he would call a person well practised in surveying.

He then called Mr. E. Homersham, builder, who deposed the full value of the "True Briton" to be 18 4s. per year. Allowing insurances, repairs, and taxes to amount to 6 6s.; the rateable value would be 13 18s. In the other case of the "Eagle," which premises were in a very bad state of repair, 12 a year would he ample rent.

Mr. Sandys replied. No parole evidence could be given to contradict absolute facts. In these cases they had evidence that the rent in one case was 21 a-year, and in the other 20.

The Court was cleared. After a consultation of about half an hour, the Bench decided in favour of the appellants, stating that they had confined themselves strictly to the evidence, which furnished them with the true value of the premises. Nothing had been shown them of any fraud in the bargain made; consequently they raised the rates of the "True Briton" to 16 15s., and the "Eagle" to 16.


Southeastern Gazette, 15 March 1853.

Assault and Robbery at Canterbury.

Richard Miles, 18, and Charles Howell, 24, were indicted for assaulting Charlos Gilbert, and stealing from his person 8s. 1d., and a purse, his money and property, at Canterbury.

Mr. Rose appeared for the prosecution; Mr. Ribton defended both prisoners.

From the statement of the prosecutor, a clerk in the employ of the South Eastern Railway Company, it appeared that in October last, he lodged at the "Cock Inn," Canterbury, and that he went to the "True Briton" public-house, where he met the two prisoners, who entered into conversation with him, and asked him to drink. While there, prosecutor called for bread and cheese, of which Howley partook. On paying for it, prosecutor took out his purse. Howell afterwards said he would have 5s. to go to the fair with. Howell left the house before prosecutor, who upon leaving sometime after, asked Miles to show him the way to the "Cock Inn." Miles promised to do so, but led him down into an orchard, where he struck him a blow in the eye, and afterwards got up a brick for the purpose of striking him, but prosecutor succeeded in taking the brick away from him, and ran away. While running, he was met by the prisoner Howell, who demanded his money, and Miles then pulled out a knife and threatened him that if he did not give Howell his money he would strike him. He then gave the purse to him. Howell then ran away, but Miles followed him into a house, into which Gilbert had run and "knelt before a woman, craving her protection," where he admitted having struck prosecutor, but denied having robbed him, and said the soldier had the money. The prosecutor then gave him into custody, and on the following morning Howell was apprehended at the barracks.

Mr. Ribton admitted that the story of prosecutor was a most improbable one, and called two witnesses to prove an alibi on the part of the prisoner Howell.

The jury found Miles guilty, and acquitted Howell. Prosecutor recommended Miles to mercy, and he was sentenced to eight months’ hard labour.


Kentish Gazette, 26 September 1854.

Immorality in Northgate.

Some short time since the Court resolved to indict the "True Briton" public house, Northgate, for harbouring improper characters, and gave the necessary instructions to Mr. Delasaux to obtain the requisite evidence to support the prosecution.

Today, Mr. Eastes stated that he had been requested by Mr. Delasaux to mention that he had found a difficulty in the case, as he could not get two inhabitant householders to lay the information against the house, as required by the statute; and he wanted, therefore, to know from the Court what course he was to adopt.

Mr. Pout thought the guardians of the parish of Northgate could testify as to the character of the house.

Mr. Eastes:- I don't know anything about the house at all.

The President:- Is it possible, after five prostitutes died of cholera in that house, that there are not two inhabitants of Northgate to be found willing to lay an information against it?

Some of the guardians thought it was the duty of the police to look after such houses.

Mr. Boorman:- How came this Court to take the matter up, and determine to indict the house?

The Relieving Officer said it was owing to a report being made by himself and the Inspector of Nuisances as to the state of the house.

Mr. Boorman thought it was rather premature to take proceedings without first receiving a complaint from two of the inhabitants of the parish.

Alderman Neame had no doubt that many more houses of the same kind existed in the same parish as well as in other parts of the city, and he asked how the Court were to act in this matter, and where they were to begin?

The minutes of the court will then referred to, and the President explained that on 14th of August, the Inspector of Nuisances found 36 girls of the town lodging in 7 houses in Northgate, in a most deplorable state, and one girl had in bed with a cholera in the "True Briton," while immoral scenes were going on in the next room, at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, in consequence, Mr. Delasaux was engaged the next day to prepare the evidence for indicting the house for keeping such characters.

Mr. Boorman:- Mr. Delasaux ought to have made an official communication to the Court of the difficulties he has met with.

Mr. Lyons said that a fortnight since, Carter, the landlord of the "True Briton" attended the court, and promised to do away with the evil complained of, and also to pay any expense that might have been incurred; but the guardians present refused to accept his offer and stop the prosecution.

In answer to the President, the Inspector of Nuisances stated that he visited the "True Britain" after the landlord of promise to improve his house, and found the same bad characters there; he then told him that the prosecution would be carried on, and upon a subsequent visit, he did perceive and improvement.

Mr. Philpott said it did not promise much for the morality of Northgate, when two householders could not be found to testify to an immoral house.

Alderman Neame thought it was quite right to check such conduct as much possible; but felt convinced that the Court would never be able to do away with it entirely, while there was a large body of military stationed in the town. It was invidious to take one house, and leave another of the same character.

The President:- We have taken the most of obnoxious case.

Mr. Philpott:- The police ought to keep them in proper order.

Mr. Eastes:- The police are of no use whatever. I have seen rioting going on with the soldiers, and the police have seen it, but instead of interfering, they have walked away, and left them to do what they liked.

The President:- The Inspector of Nuisances had better inquire, and see if he can't find to housekeepers to lay the information.

Mr. Philpott thought the Court ought not to take any further steps in the matter. The magistrates were the proper parties to interfere; and they could withhold the licence from the house, if they thought fit to do so; that would stop it.

Alderman Neame considered that would only cause the removal of the evil from one part of the city to another.
Mr. Philpott:- Then you will move it, perhaps, to a parish where you will be able to find inhabitants willing to testify to the immoral character of the house.

Mr. Eastes then moved that Mr. Delasaux be called upon to report to the Court, the difficulties he has met with in getting up evidence for the prosecution of the "True Briton."

Mr. Philpott reiterated his opinion that it was the duty of the magistrates, and not the guardians, to suppress the nuisance.

The President stated why he thought the Court of Guardians were bound to take up take the matter up; some time since, girls were brought into the house for support with their third and fourth illegitimate children, besides suffering from various diseases, thus causing considerable expense to the city. The Court then applied to the Poor Law Board to know what they were to do, to prevent the continuance of such a disgraceful, as well as expensive state of things; and that board informed the guardians, but they were bound to keep the girls and their offspring; - but they were also bound to prosecute the house where such immoral characters resided.

Mr. Lyons spoke of the "Dolphin" in Northgate, as being equally as bad if not worse than the "True Briton," and asked why the Court did not proceed against that house, as he had no doubt his colleague, Mr. Eastes, would join him in testifying to the immoral scenes constantly going on there.

Mr. Eastes was opposed to taking individual houses, - he should not mind assisting, as far as he was able, if the Court proceeded against all houses of that character in the city.

A guardian said it would tend to check the evil if one or two of the worst houses were indicted.

Mr. Greaves drew attention to the fact, that several deaths from cholera took place at the "True Briton," in consequence of the manner in which that house was conducted.

After further discussion as to the power possessed by the Court to put down the evil complained of, Mr. Eastes resolution was seconded and adopted.


From the Kentish Chronicle, 25 February, 1860.


(Before W. Plummer, and Capt. Love.)

A man who refused to give his name and pretended to be dumb, was charged with wilful damage. Mrs. Taylor, landlady of the "True Briton," Northgate, stated that the prisoner came to her house the previous evening, and took possession of the parlour fire, and when spoken to pretended to be dumb. She called in a policeman to remove him, and in going out be dashed his hand through the bar window, causing damage to the amount of 4s.

The policeman said he was obliged to get assistance to get him to the police-station, and he could talk then as wall as any one.

Convicted in the damage 4s., and costs, in default committed to St. Augustine’s for one month.

The prisoner still pretended he did not understand, but when taken back to the police station, immediately recovered his speech, and gave his name as John Miller. He seemed to consider he had played a good joke.


From the Kentish Chronicle, 9 June, 1860.


William Taylor, landlord of the "True Briton" public-house, Northgate-street, charged Robert Game, labourer, with being drunk and disorderly in his house on Sunday afternoon. When the landlord wanted to clear his house the defendant refused to go. At length they got him out, but he returned and got in again by getting over a wall at the back. He was afterwards turned out twice, when he threw stones through the window, doing damage to the amount of 2s.

In reply to the Bench, the complainant said he did not see the defendant throw the stones, but there was no one else in the yard, and the defendant was abusing him the whole time.

As the defendant had been in custody all night, he was discharged.


South Eastern Gazette, Tuesday 10 September 1861.


Most of the old licenses were renewed, but those of the following publicans were left for consideration until an adjourned licensing day (the 12th inst.) in consequence of complaints having been made of the way in which the houses have been conducted. Robert Whittaker, "Princess Royal," Northgate; Thomas Denne, "Wellington," Broadstreet; Richard Drew, "Three Grenadiers," Military Road; William Taylor, "True Britton," Northgate; and Charles Moore, the "Cock," Westgate.


Kentish Gazette, 8 March, 1870.


Thursday.— (Before the Mayor, and R. Y. Fill, Esq.)

This was a special session for the transfer of ale-house licences. The following transfers were authorised:—“Angelo Castle” James Dodd to George Dodd;

George and Hoy” George Smith to Henry Spencer Cloke;

Victoria” Daniel Mills to James Chariot Lamberton;

and “True Briton” William Taylor to Edward Waghorne;

and an authority to Emma Mills, of the “Prince of Orange,” to sell until next transfer day.


Kentish Gazette, 15 March, 1870.

Assault and Robbery by Soldiers.

Henry Gambrill, 18, and Frederick Brown, 24, privates in the 21st Hussars, were indicted for assaulting and robbing John Watson, at Canterbury, on the 27th Nov.

Mr. Barrow prosecuted; Mr. Biron defended Brown.

Prosecutor, a labourer, at Middle Pit Bridge, said on the 27th Nov., about half-past nine he was going home from Canterbury when he was met by two soldiers. He knew Gambell but could not call the other to mind. Both prisoners attacked and severely injured bun, but when he called out for help they both ran away. Before the assault he had a bag containing 12s. 6d., but he afterwards found this was gone. Charlotte Richards said she knew both prisoners, they were drinking at the “True Briton Inn” on the evening in question until 8 o’clock when they left. At 10 o'clock they returned again in a very dirty state and their boots covered with mud. They cleaned themselves in the yard and left about half past.

Alice Wilson, servant at the “True Briton” corroborated the last witness and added that on the following evening; if any inquiries were made by the police she was to say they had been at the house all the evening of the 27th. Evidence was given to show that prisoners' clothes were found in a very dirty state and stained with blood.

There were both found “guilty” and sentenced to 12 months' hard labour.


Canterbury Journal, Kentish Times and Farmers' Gazette, Saturday 16 September 1871.

Annual Licensing Meeting.

The Superintendent of Police reported to the Magistrates the following houses where prostitutes were kept, viz., the "Roebuck," "True Briton," "Lord Clyde," "Princess Royal," "Crown and Anchor," "Brewers' Delight," "Clarence Inn," and "Kentish Arms," and on the applicants applying they were each cautioned in severe terms by the Mayor, and on their promising to behave better in future the licences were renewed. The business was transacted rapidly. The adjourned sessions are fixed for the 21st instant.



CARTER Thomas 1838-15/June/46 dec'd (age 58 in 1841Census) Stapletons GuideHistoric Canterbury web site

CARTER Jane H 1847+ Bagshaw's Directory 1847

CARTER William 1851-58+ (age 39 in 1851Census) Melville's 1858

TAYLOR William 1860-Mar/70 (age 59 in 1861Census) Post Office Directory 1862Whitstable Times

WAGHORN Edward Mar/1870+ Whitstable Times


Stapletons GuideStapleton's Guide 1838

Bagshaw's Directory 1847From Bagshaw Directory 1847

Melville's 1858From Melville's Directory 1858

Post Office Directory 1862From the Post Office Directory 1862

Historic Canterbury web siteHistoric Canterbury web site

Whitstable TimesWhitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald



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