Sort file:- Gillingham, March, 2021.

Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.


Earliest 1860s-

Flower of Kent

Closed 1971

57 Jeffrey Street


Flower of Kent 1891

Above photo circa 1891 showing licensee J Pocknell and family.

Flower of Kent 1960

Above photo 1960s, kindly submitted by Stephen Gillard.

Flower of Kent location 2011

Above photo 2011, kindly submitted by Stephen Gillard. Showing the location of the "Flower of Kent."


From the Rochester and Chatham Journal and Mid-Kent Advertiser, Saturday, September 2, 1876.

New Brompton.

The "Flower of Kent" and the "Victoria."

Mr. Hayward applied for a spirit licence for the "Flower of Kent," corner of Jeffrey Street, New Brompton (Mr. Howard.) He represented that it was many years since a new licence had been granted in New Brompton, but in previous years his clients application had been prejudiced by the fact of an application coming from another house, the "Victoria." As, however, there was no one present therefore apply for the "Victoria," he supposed Mr. Sinclair considered he had a bad case, and their worships could therefore have no hesitation in according to Mr. Howard's application. The "Flower of Kent" was a suitable house for a licence that was 350 feet from the nearest house already licensed. It was exactly in the centre of a very large population. Mr. Hayward handed in an influentially-agreed petition, amongst the signatures to which were those of the churchwardens and overseers and the Chairman and New Brompton members of the Board of Health. He had, he said, very great difficulty in restraining the whole of the memoralities from coming up in a body to urge the case (laughter); but as that would look very much like pressure, the magistrates could no doubt fully understand why he prohibited them from coming (renewed laughter.)

Mr. G. Winch (who entered the court while Mr. Hayward was speaking) said he regretted he was not there at the outset but he attended to supply for a licence for the "Victoria" (laughter).

Mr. S. Hibberd of the "Railway Tavern" opposed Mr. Haywards application. He said his house was only a minute and a half's walk from Mr. Howards, and there were three other houses each within 2 minutes walk of it. The neighbourhood had not increased since last year. The reason he had not employed a solicitor was that trade was so bad he could not afford to pay one (a laugh).

Mr. Winch then made his application for the "Victoria." He said it was the Eighth time the application had been made.

Mr. Hayward:- That shows you have a bad case (laughter).

Mr. Winch said it was no such thing; his client felt the justice of his application and therefore he persisted in it. Mr. Hayward had prided himself in his influentially signed petition, but on looking at a memorial he (Mr. Winch) held he found it was signed by many of the very same gentleman (laughter). The house was in the neighbourhood of a new railway line which is under construction. He handed in a photograph of the house.

The Clerk (Mr. G. H. Knight):- I think it is almost photographed on the minds of the bench.

Mr. Winch, anticipating opposition from the the "Rose," which is two doors from his clients, said the house was very much like the dog in the manger. It never could have a possible chance of getting a licence itself, and it did not even apply for one, but yet it came there and suppressed the "Victoria." Mr. Bassett, who had lately had opportunity of improving his knowledge of the locality, would doubtless know that the house was not at all suited for a licence. If their worships could licence both the "Flower of Kent" and the "Victoria" he would be gratified, but if they considered there only room for one he submitted that his house was the better of the two.

Mr. Bassett said he appeared to oppose the application in behalf of the "Rose" beer house, in Victoria Street. The "Victoria" was only one door off from his clients and there were but 60 houses in the street, while at the end of the street was Mr. Hibbard's and 100 yards off the "Halfway House." Eight times the application had been refused; the bench had giving it their mature consideration year after year and had started that there was no need of a licence. The line which had been alluded to was merely a government one direct from the main line to the dockyard and he could not see how it would affect anybody unless an engine driver chose to stop his train and go half a mile away for a glass of liquor (laughter). He was rather surprised the churchwardens should sign so many of these memorials, but they no doubt did it from good nature. Not one house had been built in Victoria Street since last year, and there was really no need for another licence. Mr. Winch had said that he (Mr. Bassett) knew more of the locality lately; he thanked Mr. Winch for mentioning that, and he gave it as his opinion that the locality did not want another licence (laughter.)

Mr. Hibbard opposed this application also. He said really there is no traffic down the street except with brick carter. In winter time it was nothing but up mass of mud and people could not get down it. There was no stabling to the "Victoria." There was not business enough for one house, much less for half a dozen.

The magistrates, after a brief deliberation, refused both applications.



The "Flower of Kent" seems to have opened in the 1860s or before, with a Mr. E. Howard as landlord (his wife may have run the nearby "Kent Arms"). There is no particular Kentish Flower, the name is just an advertising ploy! The pub was on the corner of Jeffery Street and Gardiner Street, although in the 1970s this particular section of Gardiner Street was renamed to Sappers' Walk in honour of the Royal Engineers.

From about 1887 to 1940 it was run by Mrs Pocknell and her husband. The local paper had this obituary when Mrs Pocknel died:-Mrs S M Pocknell. Well known in Gillingham as licensee of "The Flower of Kent", Jeffery Street, Gillingham. Mrs S M Pocknell passed away on Wednesday of last week at the age of 79 years. Mrs Pocknell was the widow of Mr James Pocknell, who became licensee of the "Flower of Kent" some 54 years ago. On his demise, about 13 years ago, the licence was transferred to Mrs Pocknell. The funeral took place on Monday, at Woodlands Cemetery, Gillingham. The Rev L H Craddock-Watson officiated.

The pub finally closed down in 1971 and was demolished in 1973/4 as part of the re-development of Gillingham High Street.


James and Sarah Pocknell

Above photo, kindly sent by Stephen Gillard, showing James Pocknell (1850-1926) and his wife Sarah Maria Pocknell (1863-1940).


1906 the owners of the pub were Charrington's.

In the 1970s this part of Gardiner Street was renamed Sappers' Walk in honour of the Royal Engineers.

The pub finally closed in 1971 and was subsequently demolished a few years later to make way for the development of the Gillingham High Street.


Local knowledge, further pictures, and licensee information would be appreciated.

I will be adding the historical information when I find or are sent it, but this project is a very big one, and I do not know when or where the information will come from.

All emails are answered.



HOWARD Edward W 1876-81+ (widower age 57 in 1881Census)

POCKNELL James 1891-1926 dec'd (age 40 in 1891Census)

POCKNELL Sarah Maria 1926-40 dec'd (widow age 77 in 1939)

POCKNALL William Thomas (son) to 1948 dec'd




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