Sort file:- Folkestone, November, 2019.

Page Updated:- Monday, 18 November, 2019.

PUB LIST PUBLIC HOUSES Paul Skelton and Jan Pedersen

Earliest 1741

(Name from)

True Briton

1981 (Name to)

2017 (Name to)

26 Harbour Street

South Street Pigot's Directory 1839

3 Kings Bridge Street Pigot's Directory 1840 1861Census


True Briton date unknown

"True Briton" and below the sign. Both dates unknown.

True Briton sign

Awaiting picture of Whitbread sign. If anyone should have an image please email me, address at bottom.

Above card issued April 1955. Sign series 5 number 43.


Formerly the "Cock" but by 1799 it had obtained the name of "True Briton."


From the Folkestone Chronicle 13 April, 1861. Transcribed by Jan Pedersen.


Wednesday April 10th:- Before Captain Kennicott, James Tolputt, and A.M. Leith, Esqs.

Adam Keeler, of the "True Briton," was summoned for having a defective covering to his coal hole, whereby an officer of the 17th Regiment who was passing, slipped on the cover, and his leg passing through the aperture threw him across the pavement, hurting his leg very badly.

The case was clearly proved, and the magistrates fined defendant 1s. and 9s. costs, with an order from the magistrates to have the covering of the coal hole substantially repaired, which has since been done.


From the Folkestone Observer 13 April, 1861. Transcribed by Jan Pedersen.


Wednesday March 10th: - Before Captain Kennicott, A.M. Leith and James Tolputt. Esqs.

William Keeler, "True Briton inn," appeared on summons to answer a charge of leaving the trap of his coal cellar unopened, and thereby causing injury to the person of Paymaster Smith, 17th Regiment.

Norborn Smith, Paymaster, 17th Regiment, Shorncliffe, said that on Saturday last about three o'clock, he was passing along Harbour Street. At the corner opposite the "True Briton" he came to an iron trap that covered a coal cellar, and putting his foot on it the trap slipped away, and turning up let his left leg through the hole. On examining the cover, he found that though there was a short chain attached it was not fastened to anything. Both his legs were very badly cut. He spoke to a person who came out of the "True Briton," but whom he could not identify as the defendant, and he seemed to take it very colly, admitting that the cover was not fastened down; and he thereupon lodged a complaint.

Defendant said he did not previously know that the cover was not fastened; but he found that the stone in which it was laid was broken. He had not noticed that before, nor had he had a complaint about it. He did not know whose place it was to repair it, his or the Surveyor's.

The Bench cautioned him that so long as the place was in bad repair he was himself responsible for the repairs, and fined him 1s. with costs.


From the Folkestone Observer 25 July, 1863. Transcribed by Jan Pedersen.


Monday July 20th:- Before the Mayor, R.W. Boarer and W.F. Browell, Esqs.

John McCarthy was charged with being drunk in Harbour Street.

P.C. Hills said he yesterday afternoon, about half past two o'clock, found the prisoner lying in front of the "True Briton," drunk and incapable of taking care of himself; he therefore took him into custody and brought him to the station. When searched at the station 8s. 1 1/2d. was found on him.

Fined 5s.


From the Whitstable Times, 15 June, 1901.

The numerous friends of Mr. G. Carter, for many years chief clerk at Messrs. W. H. Smith and Sonís bookstall, at the London, Chatham, and Dover Station, Canterbury, and who was afterwards promoted to the charge of the Harbour Station bookstall, at Folkestone, will be interested to learn that he has just retired from that position, and taken a licensed house in Harbour Street, Folkestone, the "True Briton."


In 1981 the "True Britain" at 26 Harbour Street was closed and knocked through to the "Harbour Inn" next door, and lost its name. Eventually the extended pub was named the "Old Harbour Crab and Oyster." In 1898 it reverted back to the "Harbour Inn" again.

After that incarnation in May 2011 the premises became the "True Britain" once again.

Any further information or indeed photographs would be appreciated. Please email me at the address below.


True Briton, Folkestone, sign


The pub sign shown has been taken from a set of Whitbread Inn Sign cards released circa 1952.

From "Inns of Sport"; Whitbread & Co. Ltd.; 1949. This book is No.7 in The Whitbread Library series.

Even more of a boxers' inn is The True Briton at Folkestone, for there they have a long list of pugilistic patrons from the 6th Duke of Wellington, who was a well-known amateur boxer when he was Earl of Mornington, to Larry Gains, Tancy Lee, Dick Smith, Johnny Summers, Fred Davis, Fred Dyer and half a dozen others. Channel swimmers seem to like The True Briton; Derham was a regular customer while he was training for that great swim for which the "News of the World" awarded him £1,000, and the Egyptian swimmer, Fahmy Attalla, planned his second attempt on the Channel in the public bar in 1947. To crown it all, The True Briton produced both the winner and runner-up of the "News of the World" Individual Darts Championship for the Folkestone and Dover area in 1937.


True Britain 2012 True Britain 2012 True Britain 2012

Above photo kindly sent by Phil Nicholson, 29 November, 2012.


From an email received 18 December 2013.

I've always been told the tale of the African Grey parrot behind the bar in the war who was taught to say to the customers "Don't drink that, the landlord's pissed in it".

Is it true or a myth? This was during WW1, by the way, around when the battle of the Somme was taking part.

I should add my family are from the area and I was born in Folkestone but this is before my time.


Martin Roberts


In September 2017 the pub was sold for £500,000 to Ben and Lucy Cuthbert, previously of the "Pullman" and will be changing the name back to the "Harbour Inn," once again.



HODGES John 1823-39+ Pigot's Directory 1823Pigot's Directory 1828-29Pigot's Directory 1832-34Pigot's Directory 1839

ANDREWS John 1840+ Pigot's Directory 1840

ANDREWS John & Alice 1847-58 (both age 44 in 1851Census) Bagshaw's Directory 1847Melville's 1858

DRYDEN Ann Oct/1857 Folkestone Chronicle

VYE John Baggs 1861+ (age 39 in 1861Census) Next pub licensee had

KEELER William 1861-74 Post Office Directory 1862Post Office Directory 1874

WALLIS Frederick 1881+ (age 34 in 1881Census)

PEARSON Miss Mary 1882-91 Post Office Directory 1882Post Office Directory 1891

CARTER Geo M 1903 Post Office Directory 1903

JAMES Edward Wm 1913 Post Office Directory 1913

LUCAS Mrs Gertrude Florence 1922 Post Office Directory 1922

MARTIN Gladstone David 1934-38 Kelly's 1934Post Office Directory 1938


Pigot's Directory 1823From the Pigot's Directory 1823

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

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

Pigot's Directory 1839From the Pigot's Directory 1839

Pigot's Directory 1840From the Pigot's Directory 1840

Bagshaw's Directory 1847From Bagshaw Directory 1847

Melville's 1858From Melville's Directory 1858

Post Office Directory 1862From the Post Office Directory 1862

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

Post Office Directory 1913From the Post Office Directory 1913

Post Office Directory 1922From the Post Office Directory 1922

Kelly's 1934From the Kelly's Directory 1934

Post Office Directory 1938From the Post Office Directory 1938

Folkestone ChronicleFrom the Folkestone Chronicle



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



LINK to Even More Tales From The Tap Room