Sort file:- Tonbridge, December, 2023.

Page Updated:- Wednesday, 13 December, 2023.


Earliest 1851-

Railway Arms

Latest ????

(Name to)

1 (14) High Street


Railway Arms

Above photo, date unknown, showing the pub extreme left. Kindly sent by Nigel Humphrey.


I have seen this described as the "Railway Tavern and Lodging House."


South Eastern Gazette, Tuesday 18 February 1851.


Frederick Skinner, chimney sweeper, was committed for trial for stealing a pair of boots, belonging to Eliza Jenner, at the "Railway Arms" beer shop, where the prisoner and prosecutor both lodged. The prisoner was likewise committed on the charge of stealing another pair of boots, from the same beer shop, belonging to Harriet Tinley, the boots been stolen from another bedroom, and sold to Mrs. Pierce.

From the Maidstone Telegraph, Rochester and Chatham Gazette, 18 February, 1860.


John Barnes, remanded on a charge of stealing three sacks, the property of David Wickens, of the “Railway Arms,” beer-house, pleaded guilty, and was committed for fourteen days' hard labour.


South Eastern Gazette, 19 June, 1860.

Petty sessions, Wednesday. Before A. Pott, Esq., chairman, Major Scoones, and Ford Wilson, Esq.)

Beer-house Informations

David Wickings, of the "Railway Arms" beer-house, Tonbridge, was charged with having his house open for the sale of beer at improper hours, on the 20th May. A second information charged him with assaulting P.C. Thirkell, in the execution of his duty, on the same day. Mr. Rogers, who appeared for the defendant, admitted both charges, but urged facts in extenuation.

Superintendent Dance said that the house was very badly conducted, and the magistrates inflicted a fine of 1 for each charge, with 9s. costs in each case.


From the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, 23 June 1860.

David Wickens, of the "Railway Arms" beer-house, Tonbridge, was charged with having his house open for the sale of beer, at improper hours, on the 20th of Mar. A second information charged him with assaulting P.C. Thirkell, in the execution of his duty on the same day. Mr. Rogers, who appeared for the defendant, admitted both charges, but urged facts in extenuation.

Superintendent Dance said that the house was very badly conducted, and the magistrates inflicted a fine of 1 for each charge, with 9s, costs in each case.


From the Maidstone Telegraph, Rochester and Chatham Gazette, Saturday 27 April 1861.

Tunbridge. (Sic)

Thomas West who absconded from this town last year, taking with him a bed and bedding, value 5, the property of Mr. Helmsley, of the "Railway Arms" beer house, was charged before Major Schoones on Saturday with the offence.

It appeared that the Prisoner was apprehended at High Wycombe, in Buckinghamshire, on a charge of vagrancy, and confessed his doings at Tunbridge. (Sic)

Superintendent Dance was at once communicated with, when Sergeant Mayne was sent to apprehend the prisoner.

West admitted the charge and was fully committed for trial.


From the Maidstone and Kent Journal, 18 April, 1868.


At the Petty Sessions on Tuesday, George Clark, Stephen Lawrence, and Maria Francis were charged with unlawfully assaulting Mr. Henry William Piper, landlord of the "Railway Arms," Tonbridge, on the 7th inst. Clark did not appear, Francis pleaded guilty, and Lawrence not guilty. The complainant stated that on Tuesday last about twenty-five minutes to eleven he heard some one scuffling in the passage of his house and went to see what was the matter. He found the two prisoners with several others pulling one of his servants along the passage by the hair of his head. Complainant told them not to kill the man, when the two defendants left the servant and commenced an attack on complainant himself. He was knocked down and Lawrence kicked him in the face; the woman kicked him on the fore-head leaving the scar he then had. With being kicked by the woman he became insensible, and did not recollect what took place afterwards. Thomas Williams deposed that he was the person whom the defendants had dragged along the passage by his hair. When in the passage complainant came to his assistance and then defendants assaulted him in the manner he described. The woman Francis owned she had struck complainant, but alleged it was in consequence of his having first struck Lawrence. Lawrence pleaded he had been first struck by complainant, and called a witness to prove his statement. The Bench were of opinion a very serious assault had been committed, and fined defendants 21s. each, including costs.


From the Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser, 24 September, 1870.


The Petty Sessions were held on Tuesday before C. Powell, Esq., (in the Chair), A. Pott, Esq., Major Scones, Sir David Solomons, Bart., M.P. and J. G. Talbot, Esq., M.P.

Mr. John Blackford, of the "Railway Arms, " beerhouse, applied for a certificate to sell beer there.

The bench granted the certificate.


From the Kent and Sussex Courier. 22 August 1873. Price 1d.


Thomas Richardson, aged 17, was charged with stealing 5 10s., the property of William Wallace Carpenter, at Tonbridge, on the 28th ult. Prosecutor, who is a labourer, living at Barden Cottages, Tonbridge, deposed that on the day in question he had some money in a drawer at his house, when the prisoner, who was his wife's brother, did some work for him. On the 20th July he missed a sovereign, and having made up the amount afterwards to 4 10s., he missed that also. The money was kept in a drawer in the sitting-room down stairs, and the drawer was locked. Fanny Carpenter, wife of prosecutor, deposed that she employed prisoner to saw some wood on the 28th ult., and left him in the house from nine to three p. m. on that day, while she visited her next door neighbour. On her return, prisoner announced his intention of leaving Tonbridge. P. C. Kelway deposed that on Friday afternoon he went to the "Railway Arms Inn," Tonbridge, and saw the prisoner there with his uncle, George Tinley. He told prisoner he had a warrant for his apprehension on a charge of stealing 5 10s., and after hearing the warrant read, prisoner said he went away with his uncle and never had the money. On taking him to the police station, prisoner said he took 3 10s., and added that he should not have gone away had it not been for his uncle. Prisoner, who pleaded guilty to the charge, was sentenced to two months' hard labour. George Tinley, uncle of the prisoner in the preceding case, was then charged with receiving the money, knowing it to have been stolen. P. C. Kelway was called, and repeated the evidence reported above. He also said that at the police station Tinley told Richardson that he did not know where he got the money from, and that he said his mother gave him a sovereign. This Richardson denied, and he was now called as a witness, and said that he and his uncle went away together to get employment in harvesting, and he gave his uncle a sovereign, part of the stolen money. They went through Romney Marsh, and he gave his uncle another sovereign, thinking that he would lay it out better than he should. He denied telling Tinley where he got the money from. He did not say his mother gave it to him. William Ballard said he was assistant to Mr. Deane, clothier, &c., of Paddock Wood, and on the 28th or 29th ult., the prisoner called at the shop with Richardson and another boy. He purchased a pair of corduroy trousers, which Richardson was now wearing, some slops, and a shirt, the total cost being 18s. 6d., and in payment of which he tendered a sovereign. Harriett Ralph, of Primrose Hill, Tonbridge, the wife of a beer-house keeper, said prisoner called at their house and had some beer, and gave her a sovereign. Charles Harbour said he accompanied the two prisoners harvesting, and Tinley cautioned him if he was asked any questions by the police not to know anything. In answer to the charge, prisoner said he was innocent. He did not know how the boy came by the money. Committed for trial, the magistrates intimating their willingness to accept bail.


From the Maidstone and Kentish Journal, 3 October, 1895.


At the Tonbridge Police Court, on Tuesday, before a full Bench of magistrates, with J. G. Talbot, Esq., M.P, in the chair, Henry Joiner, landlord of the "Railway Tavern" beerhouse, High street, was summoned for that he being the keeper of a common lodging house, did, on the 21st September, receive a greater number of lodgers than fixed in his licence, granted by the Tonbridge Urban District Council; and he was further summoned for permitting or suffering persons of opposite sexes, not being man and wife or children under eight years of age, to sleep in the same room, on the 21st September.

Mr A. H. Neve, jun., clerk to the Tonbridge Urban District Council, appeared in support of the prosecution, and Mr K. E. Robb, solicitor of Tunbridge Wells, appeared for Jenner, who, however, under the advice of his Advocate, pleaded guilty to both charges.

Mr Neve explained that the defendant was the registered proprietor of a common lodging house in High-street, Tonbridge, which was also a beerhouse. According to his licence he could receive 16 lodgers, 8 of whom were to be accommodated in room No. 1. 2 in room No. 2. 4 in room No. 4, and 2 in room No. 5. and each of these rooms, were entitled for males only with the exception of room No. 1 in which four married couples were allowed. But on the morning in question between 12 and one o'clock, on the Sanitary Inspector of the Council making a visit, the defendant's house was found to be grossly overcrowded. In room No. 1 it was true there was not much the matter, but in room No. 2 were found an unmarried man and woman and a girl sleeping in one bed, whilst on the staircase landing there were men and woman lying asleep. It was in the kitchen which was not licensed at all where the most disgraceful state of things existed, for here the Inspector found no less than 28 persons lying about in various positions — some on forms, others on the floor and some on the tables. Two men were actually lying in their own filth and altogether 51 lodgers were found in the defendant's house, whereas the place was only registered to accommodate 15.

Mr Bradley, the sanitary inspector, deposed to visiting the defendant's common lodging house in company with P.S. Pritchard on the morning of the 21st September, and finding the stale of things as described by Mr Neve.

In reply to Mr. J. F. W. Deacon, Mr Bradley said several of the lodgers seemed to be under the influence of liquor.

Mr. Robb objected to the latter question, but the Chairman remarked that a man who kept a house licensed to sell intoxicating drinks had no right, whether a lodging-house keeper or not, to allow persons in a state of intoxication to remain upon his premises.

Mr Robb, for the defence, remarked that the facts were not disputed, and he had advised his client to plead guilty. The case was undoubtedly a bad one, but there were circumstances which showed that the defendant was not a free agent in what he did, and that in allowing all these persons to remain in his house he did so more out of compassion for them, and to prevent them getting into trouble outside, than for the sake of gaining any profits. Technically speaking all these 51 persons were lodgers, but the extra ones above the 16 for which defendant was registered were not lodgers in the strict sense of the word, as they did not pay the defendant for the accommodation they received. They entered the house late at night, said they could not get lodgings elsewhere, and had applied to the police station for accommodation, but had been refused. Had defendant turned these people outside they would have got into trouble for sleeping out of doors, and so he allowed them to remain, but did not pretend to sleep them, and never charged a single penny for the lodgers. The defendant was now under notice to leave the premises. He (Mr. Robb) urged the magistrates to take into consideration all the circumstances, and deal with the defendant as leniently as possible.

Some questions were asked by Mr. Deacon, and Mr. Robb respectfully submitted that any question of matters coming under the Licensing Act was irrelevant to the point now at issue.

The Chairman added he agreed with Mr. Robb, but the magistrates simply wished to learn whether Jenner was the man who had been cautioned as to the conduct of this house. The Chairman said the bench considered this case one of the most disgraceful of the kind that had ever been brought before the Court. Whether the defendant really believed when he admitted those people that there was no accommodation at the other lodging houses the magistrates could not say, but it was clear that he allowed his house to be used in a most disgusting manner, and defendant would be fined 2 in each case, and 9s costs, or 4 18s in all; failing distress defendant would have to go to gaol for two months. Addressing Mr. Neve, the Chairman said the Bench very much hoped that the public Inspectors, appointed under the Urban District Council, would do all they could to inspect these places from time to time, and not in future leave matters until they had grown to the height as this case seemed to have done.

Mr. Neve, replying said Mr. Bradley had only been appointed inspector a short time, but he had made inspections of these common lodging houses several times, and it was believed that Mr. Mitchell, the previous inspector, also made several inspections.

Addressing Supt. Bartlett, the Chairman said the Bench also thought it desirable that the police should give special attention to these houses, and see that the terms of the licenses were not transgressed.

Supt. Bartlett promised that this should be done, and remarked that the new tenant of the "Railway Tavern" intended to do away with the common lodging house.

Jenner paid the penalty.


Kent & Sussex Courier, Friday 18 September 1908.

Magistrate as surety for Hopper.

William Delves, a hop picker, of 84, Whately Road, East Dulwich, pleaded guilty to being drunk and disorderly, at Tonbridge, on September 12th.

P.C. Mount said the man had a large crowd around him outside the "Railway Arms." The landlord of the public house refused to serve him, and prisoner would have assaulted the publican had it not been for the presence of the police. The landlord had to put prisoner out of the house.

A fine of 1s. with 6s. costs was imposed.

Prisoner said he was working for Mr. Waite, and promised to pay the fine and costs on Saturday.

Mr. East:- Can we take your word that you will pay?

Prisoner:- I will pay, on my oath.

Mr. East:- Very well, then I will stand surety for you with the police.


Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser 11 February 1949.


No opposition was offered to applications for full licences made by Ernest William Ellen, "Railway Arms," Tonbridge.


The pub changed name to "Gallopers," date unknown, but has been demolished to make way for a McDonald's fast food restaurant. Again, unfortunately as yet date unknown. Local knowledge needed here please.



WICKENS David 1860+ Maidstone Telegraph

HELMSLEY Mr 1861+ Maidstone Telegraph

BLACKFORD John Sept/1870+

JENNER Henry 1881-95+ (age 28 in 1881Census)

VINTEN Arthur John 1911+ Next pub licensee had (age 40 in 1911Census)

EADE Luke to Aug/1923 Kent and Sussex Courier

GILLETT George Benjamin Aug/1923+1930+ Kent and Sussex Courier



ELLEN Ernest William 1949+


Maidstone TelegraphMaidstone Telegraph

Kent and Sussex CourierKent and Sussex Courier



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