walmer's pubs - WalmerWeb

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Walmer's Past
Walmer's Public Houses
According to the listings on the Dover Kent Archives website, Walmer has, over the years, had more than 30 local public houses. Today, most are but dim distant memories.

For residents of Upper Walmer where there is only one remaining local hostelry and a micro-pub, the number that used to serve their locality could come as something of a surprise. We've selected some of Walmer's more interesting pubs and their histories, but for even more information please see Dover Kent Archives at dover-kent.com/2014-villages/Walmer.html.

Please note: If you are planning a pub visit for a drink, remember this is a history page. You need to check out our list of places to wine and dine in Walmer and Deal, here....
    Lower Walmer     
Admiral Owen
The Strand, Walmer
Apart from the name, there are no known details - apart from a local newspaper report of court proceedings following an incident in the pub in March 1900.
Alma Tavern
25 The Strand, Walmer
It is believed this pub was in business from 1855 to 1963. It then operated as a bank until the 1970s and, today, is a private house.
Army and Navy
68 The Strand, Walmer
This pub seems to have existed from the 1850s until it closed in 1908.
Today, the building is an estate agents.
Bricklayers Arms
Originally 14 Dover Road, Walmer (today, no:26 Dover Road)
Records from 1874 and 1882 suggest that this pub used to be opposite the gates of the Royal Marines Barracks. More recent research suggests the pub was in business between 1855 and 1906.
Gladstone Road, Walmer
No longer standing and replaced by terraced houses at 97-105 Gladstone Road on the junction with North Barrack Road.
A Mr and Mrs Edward Minter are recorded as living at The Dolphin, Walmer in February 1917. Presumably they were the landlords having previously been recorded in the 1911 census as Edward and Lucy Minter and licensed victuallers of "The Shakespeare", Ramsgate. Other records suggest the pub was in business between 1874 and 1970 and was originally called "The Good Woman".
The Dolphin
Drum Major/Cambridge Arms
42 Dover Road, Walmer
Walmer's "Cambridge Arms" was built in the mid-1800s and still in business today. The pub was named after the first Duke, a son of George III, who visited Walmer Castle in 1839 as guest of the Lord Warden, the Duke of Wellington.
In 1971, brewery owners Bass Charrington re-modelled the public house. The interior was decorated with Royal Marines relics and items of historic interest and the pub's name changed to the "Drum Major". This was shortlived and the pub reverted to being the "Cambridge Arms" again. In 2013, the name changed once again - to the "Drum Major".
The Cambridge Arms
Duke of Wellington
Walmer Road (renamed The Strand in the 1840's)
Found in Pigot's Directory of 1828 and 1832, but not to be mistaken for the "Duke of York" also in Walmer Road, as both of these are found in the same directory and with different licensees. In 1832, the pub changed name to "The Stag" (see below).
Duke of York
Walmer Road (renamed The Strand in the 1840's)
This pub was sold for £370 along with another 11 public houses in neighbouring villages in 1826.
The building also appears in Pigot's Directory for 1828. This also lists the "Duke of Wellington" pub in Walmer Road, naming different licensees.
Fair Maid of Kent
Dover Road, Walmer
Dating from the 18th century, the "Fair Maid of Kent" hotel experienced a varied history until it closed in 1959. There was originally only a public house on the site - "The Royal Standard".
This was depicted on the 1876 Ordnance Survey map. By 1906 there had been additions built either side. Its role as a "high-class residential hotel" continued until 1940 when it was requisitioned for accommodating service-women, the Royal Marine Wrens. After bomb damage had been repaired, the "Fair Maid of Kent" re-opened for business by 1948, but gradually declined in popularity until ultimately being converted into flats around the early 1960s. Today the site houses the Wellington Court flats at the junction of Dover Road and Liverpool Road.
The Fair Maid of Kent Hotel in 1928 (courtesy: Deal Library)
Granville Arms
Cambridge Road, Walmer
Dating from 1874 and closed in 2011, becoming a private residence. It is said the pub took its name from Earl Granville, a Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports.
The Granville Arms (photo: Paul Skelton)
Green Berry
23 Canada Road, Walmer
This is another pub that has changed its name over the years. It was originally called the "Royal Arms" (from 1874 until after 1913). The name was subsequently changed to the "Green Beret" in honour of the Royal Marines. Their barracks were nearby and the name signified the colour of their head-gear.
Following bombing of the barracks by the Provisional IRA on 22 September 1989, it was later decided to change the name of the pub to "The Green Berry", primarily to reduce property insurance costs.
The Green Berry (photo: Paul Skelton)
Kings Head
Walmer Road (today: 37 The Strand, Walmer)
An early reference to this pub is a Stephen Carter as licensee in 1794. It was sold, along with another 11 public houses in neighbouring villages, in 1826 for the sum of £425. In 1837 the name changed to the "Queen's Head".
Pigot's Directory of 1840 refers to this pub in addition to listing another "Kings Head" and also a "Kings Arms", both in Deal.
Life Boat
Campbell Road, Walmer
The Deal History Society say this pub existed in 1878 but there's no other information apart from limited records up to 1899.
Today, the building in Campbell Road is two cottages.
The renaming of "The True Briton" on The Strand to "The Lifeboat" in 1976 revived the name.
16 The Strand, Walmer
Previously called the "True Briton", this pub is considered to be one of the earliest in Walmer with records dating from 1787. It was renamed "The Lifeboat" in September 1976 but closed in 2008.
Among those present at the re-naming ceremony for the historic lifeboatmen's pub were round-the-world yachtsman Sir Alec Rose.
Also attending was Sir Norman Tailyour, Captain of Deal Castle and patron of the Downs and Goodwin Sands branch of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. The pub had been used by generations of Walmer lifeboatmen, and often survivors had been taken into the bars to be given refreshment and dry clothes, so the new "Lifeboat" name was seen as particularly apt.
"The True Briton", photographed in (possibly) the 1920s
Lord Clyde
61 The Strand, Walmer
The early history of this pub is uncertain - but the 1861 census suggests the pub was operating around 1860. It closed in 2010.
The building was refurbished and opened as a French restaurant, "La Bouche", in March 2012.
The Lord Clyde in 1900 with licensee Herbert Hilson and family at the door.
The "Lord Clyde" in 2010 (photo: Paul White)
Lord Nelson
50 The Strand, Walmer
Closed in February 2011, the "Lord Nelson" was considered to be among the oldest pubs in Walmer. It was named the "Lord Nelson" some time after a visit by Horatio Nelson in 1801. A serious fire gutted the building in 1870 and it was rebuilt. The Strand was previously called the Walmer Road but was renamed in the 1840s.
Converted and re-opened in 2014 as "The Lighthouse" - offering musical and creative events plus refreshments and a selection of local ales and cider. website: www.thelighthousedeal.co.uk
The Lord Nelson, named in honour of the naval hero.
Lord Warden Hotel
3 North Barrack Road, Walmer
The earliest known reference to a Lord Warden Inn is on a reprint of an 1873 Ordnance Survey Map. The same map also shows the "Rising Sun" to be not far away on the same road.
Later records show the pub remained open until it closed in July 1961.
The Lord Warden Hotel in 1920.
The former Lord Warden inn - now a private property.
Military Tavern
5 Canada Road, Walmer
One record refers to the pub in 1874 with licensees, then, listed up to 1900.
Queens Head Hotel
37 The Strand, Walmer
Records show that in 1804 it was called the "King's Head" and changed name to the "Queen's Head" in 1837. The building is thought to have served as a hotel from 1847 to 1914 when it closed.
By 1921 the premises had reopened as the "Old Comrades Club," later becoming today's Royal Marines Social Club.
The Royal Marines Club (formerly The Queens Head Hotel)
Rising Sun
North Barrack Road, Walmer
It is said that Noel Coward, when living at St. Margaret's, was a "regular" at this former pub on the corner of North Barrack Road and Cheriton Place.
Early records suggest the pub existed in 1858. It closed in 1911 and was demolished and rebuilt as the Kings Hall Cinema. This later became a dance hall and, today, houses an auto spares retailers.
The site of the former Rising Sun.
Royal Exchange
20 Dover Road, Walmer
First mentioned as a beer-house in 1858, it closed at the end of 1906. It is now a private house.
Royal Standard
10-12 Dover Road, Walmer (originally Walmer Road)
Several early records confirm the existence of this pub. The Kentish Gazette for Friday 5 February 1813 has an account of a competitive event "to be fought at the Royal Standard ... between the gentlemen of Dover and the gentlemen of Walmer Road... ".
Pigot's Directories for 1828 and 1840 list it at Walmer Road. And Melville's Directory of 1858 has a listing but merely giving the address as Lower Walmer. The original pub was demolished and rebuilt around 1865 a few doors further up the Dover Road.
The pub had closed by 1870, becoming the private residence of local historian the Rev Charles Elvin. It remained a private residence known as Wexcombe House and The Grange until it re-opened as the "Fair Maid of Kent" after World War 1.
Once the Royal Standard, then the Fair Maid of Kent and now Wellington Court.
Sir Colin Campbell
36 Campbell Road, Walmer
Records from 1862 and 1938 refer to the existence of this pub.
It closed in June 1962, becoming a fish and chip shop and, later, a private house.
The Sir Colin Campbell - now a private house.
Stag Hotel
7 The Strand, Walmer
The earliest known record for this pub is for licensee Henry Snelling in 1832. The building has had something of an "on-and-off" history, changing ownership several times and experiencing periods of closure.
The pub remains open today.
The Stag in 2008 (photo: Paul Skelton).
Victoria Tavern
14 Gladstone Road, Walmer
This pub was originally The Wheatsheaf and is thought to date from 1871. It later changed name to The Victoria, possibly in 1881.
The photo is from 1952 and the building is now a pivate house.
The Victory Tavern in 1952.
Wellesley Arms
44 Dover Road, Walmer
This pub faced the Royal Marines gate across the Dover Road and was on the other side of Cambridge Road to the "Drum Major" (formerly "Cambridge Arms"). The site today is a carpet and flooring retailers. Early records suggest the Wellesley Arms was in business in 1857; it closed in December 1911.
Earlier suggestions that this pub might have been at Wellesley House in Walmer Castle Road have now been discounted.
Today's site of the Wellesley Arms.
    Upper Walmer     
Cinque Port Volunteer
287 Dover Road, Upper Walmer
Originally simply called the "Volunteer", this pub is known to date from 1874 and changed name some time before 1882 to be called the "Cinque Port Volunteer." A list of licensees suggests it was in business from 1871 until it closed in 1949. It is now a private house known as "Cinque Port House".
There's room for a bit of confusion about the pub's name - as Pigot's Directory of 1840 lists a "Cinque Port Arms" in Walmer. It seems likely that it was the same building.
The "Cinque Ports Volunteer" circa 1900.
Today's Cinque Port House (photo: Paul Skelton)
Drum Inn
203 Dover Road, Upper Walmer
Very possibly the earliest pub in Walmer, the Drum Inn on the Dover Road is thought to have been built in 1541.
It was demolished in 1970 to make way for road improvements.
Locally the road is often referred to as Drum Hill, a name thought to derive from use of a drum each morning to summon military masons building Henry VIII's castles to work. Following the Great Storm of 26-27 November 1703, the inn provided a refuge for a number of survivors from vessels lost on the Goodwin Sands.
The Drum Inn on the Dover Road, Upper Walmer.
No longer a landmark: The Drum Inn was demolished in 1970.
Dover Road, Walmer
Research by historian A J Langridge in 1977 mentions the "Endeavour" in Dover Road but unfortunately there's no further information.
Hare and Hounds
Dover Road, Upper Walmer
Despite major changes to some of its architecture, a pink-painted house on the Dover Road at Upper Walmer provides enough clues to reveal its former role as a local pub with records confirming its existence between 1882 and 1934.
Gone is the advertisement for local brewers Thompson and Sons to be replaced with a Dutch gable. However, the original door and window shapes remain and the adjoining terrace is still recognisable.
The former "Hare and Hounds" in Upper Walmer.
As it is today - a private house with rounded gable).
Glen Hotel
Walmer Castle Road, Upper Walmer.
A former licensed country house hotel at the junction of Walmer Castle Road and St Clare Road.
Artists impression of The Glen Hotel from a 1979 advertisement.
Queen Adelaide
Church Street, Upper Walmer
The role of the building as the former Queen Adelaide pub is recalled in today's private dwelling of Adelaide House at 22 Church Street.
The photograph of the pub in 1902 shows a delivery horse and cart operated by Christopher Terry and Co. Records so far found suggest the pub was operating in 1847 and closed in March 1913.
Outside The Queen Adelaide, Walmer in 1902.
Today's Adelaide House (photo: Paul Skelton).
Rattling Cat
Dover Road, Upper Walmer
There is some doubt about whether this building on the Dover Road between Church Street and Gothic Close was ever a pub. Whilst there is a popular belief that it was an old coaching inn, one researcher into the pubs of Walmer and Deal, Steve Glover, has not been able to find any evidence to support this. He says the building was definitely called the "Rattling Cat" on the 1948 land registry but was called "St Clairs Cottage" around 1800. A plaque on the front suggests it was built in 1703.
The house is not short of other claims to a dramatic past. It is said that it served as a staging post for smuggling with, reputedly, the remains of old tunnels linking the beach and the old parish church and secret hiding places underneath the building itself. Steve Glover says there are three Gothic arches in the basement that might be entrances to blocked up tunnels.
The Rattling Cat, Upper Walmer (photo: Paul Skelton)
Railway Hotel
85 Station Road, Upper Walmer
Once part of the Thompson and Sons local brewery chain, "The Railway" was, in its final years, owned by Faversham-based brewers Shepherd Neame. Earliest records suggest that the pub was in business in 1882.
The pub closed in March 2016 and the building sold at auction. Plans by the new owners involved demolition which took place in late 2016/early 2017. Construction of housing on the site followed.
The "Railway Hotel", circa 1905.
"The Railway" in 2014 (photo: Paul Skelton)
Thompson's Bell
335 Dover Road, Upper Walmer
Originally the "George and Dragon" and possibly dating from 1828, this Upper Walmer pub was renamed the "Thompson Bell" after its owners, Thompson's Brewery of Walmer, closed in 1981. The bell from the Brewery was removed when the brewing stopped in 1974 and relocated at the public house.
Following another change of ownership and a £275,000 renovation in 2020, the pub reopened in June 2021.
Once "The George and Dragon" it's today's "Thompson Bell".
Today's "Thompson's Bell"
     More about local pubs      

Deal Kent Local History Facebook Group: www.facebook.com/groups/218005898282290/

"The Old Pubs of Deal and Walmer (with Kingsdown and Mongeham)"
Authors: Steve Glover and Michael Rogers (published by Nick Evans, 2010;
ISBN-13: 9780954525293, ISBN: 0954525299)

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