Page Updated:- Thursday, 18 July, 2024.


Earliest  1869

(Name from)

Canal Tavern (Shant)

Latest 1912

Cliffe Creek


Cliff Tavern 1890

Above photo 1890.

Canal Tavern map 1908

Above map 1908, highlighting the position of the "Canal Tavern" in orange.



The following information has been taken from

As can be seen from the records the "Nine Elms Old Factory Canal Tavern Beer House" and the "Masons Arms" this establishment was located on a nearby site. Interestingly the "Canal Tavern" was also given the nickname, ‘The Shant', the same as the "Masons Arms" had previously. The first records show that it was owned by a Mr. Alfred Brown, who also was licensee of the "Black Bull" in the centre of Cliffe village and the licensee being one Mr. George Brown.

Mr. Alfred Brown's stepson, Frederick Goord, took over from George Brown from 1880 until 1887.

The "Canal Tavern" was not only a beer house but stocked a variety of provisions to supply its clientele from Cliffe Fort, the cement & whitening factories and the many ships that were moored in and along Cliffe Creek and Thames. In April of 1881 alone there were over eighty ships moored close by giving the tavern a good chance of trade.

By 1891 the licensee was a Mr. Henry Tomlin who lived there with his wife Mary and their three children: Lillian, Mabel and James (James being the only one to be born at Cliffe). His stay appears to be short lived as by 1894 he was residing in Chatham and working at another beer house.

In 1863, on the 3rd September, a son was born to William Thorndike and Emma Mayhew at the Johnson's Whiting Works cottages: which in later years became known as Flint Cottages or Granny Callers alongside the Canal Tavern when the licensee was Isaac Thompson. The boy in question was one William John Thorndike who was to become, in later years, the licensee of various public houses including the "Canal Tavern," the "White Horse" in Upper Stoke and the "Six Bells." It was in 1894 that the "Canal Tavern," now licensed by Mr. John Thorndike, obtained a full licence enabling it to sell all intoxicating liqueurs. John Thorndike went onto running the "Six Bells" public house in the village by 1901 where he stayed until his untimely death a few years later.

In 1901 the "Canal Tavern's" licensee was a Mr. John George Jennings who ran the beer house together with his wife Emily. They too lived there with their three children and Albert, their eldest child, was later to go on to work in the bar trade with his father at the "Cricketers Inn" in Orrington a few years later.

It was on 10 December 1902 that 48 year old Mr. George Stephen Else took over the running of the "Canal Tavern" and stayed to at least 1912 together with his wife Ellen and young son Donald. George and Ellen once lived at 2, Nine Elms Factory Cottage when George worked as an engine fitter.



BROWN George 1869-78

GOORD Frederick 1880–87

TOMLIN Henry 1887-94

THORNDIKE John 1894-97

JENNINGS John George 1897–1901 Next pub licensee had

ELSE George 1901–12 (age 56 in 1911Census) Kelly's 1903


Kelly's 1903From the Kelly's Directory 1903



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