Sort file:- Gillingham, September, 2021.

Page Updated:- Sunday, 12 September, 2021.


Earliest 1850-

Viscount Hardinge

Latest 2000s

(Name to)

3 High Street

New Brompton


Viscount Hardinge 1937

Above photo, July 1937, from by Ben Levick.

Visciount Harding 2004

Above photo, September 2004.


From the Sevenoaks Chronicle, 31 August 1852.


Friday being the day appointed for the general annual Licensing day, and for hearing applications fro granting new licenses, the county magistrates assembled in petty sessions at eleven o'clock. There were present, the Rev. G. Davies (chairman), Capt. Baker, W. M. Smith, Esq., M. P., W. H. Nicholson, Esq., Major Boys, and the Rev. J. J. Marsham.

There were several applications for granting new licenses, and the proceedings were watched with some interest by those concerned.

Mr. Lewis, on behalf of Mr. Croncen, applied for a license for the "Viscount Hardings," situate 150 yards from the "Black Lion." There were, he said, 100 beer houses in the neighbourhood, with a population of 5,000 inhabitants, and having only two licensed houses. The "Viscount Hardings" was situated opposite to the field granted by the Head of Ordnance for cricket and other sports, was close to the race course, and on the high road from Brompton to Canterbury. The monopoly now existing, he said, ought to be done away with, and whilst the "Black Lion" was in no fear of having its trade disturbed by another licensed house being opened, those residing in the neighbourhood were favourable to a license being granted, and in support of which he handed in a memorial, signed by many of them.


The court was now cleared for the magistrates to deliberate, and on admission the Chairman intimated that licenses were granted for the "Prince of Wales," "Gunzee Fort," and the "Viscount Hardinge."


Information below by Ben Levick

The "Viscount Hardinge" opened in or shortly before 1850, but for the first four decades of the 20th century it was renamed the Lord Hardinge, before reverting to its original name. The first Viscount Hardinge served in the Penninsular War and was later Secretary of War, accompanying Queen Victoria when she visited wounded Crimean veterans at Fort Pitt and Brompton in 1855. The Croneen family were the first licensees in about 1850 and they were still there in 1923. In 1850 it was licensed for a full seven day week, and not until 1860 did it shut on Sundays. In 1866 it ran horses and stables. In 1863 Mr Croneen took advantage of an Act of Parliament to obtain a six-day licence, closing at 10pm on weekdays, although from 1889 it stayed open untill 11pm on the six working days. By 1909 the Viscount Hardinge's licence was the only one in Gillingham where, if Christmas day was a weekday, they could open for normal working-day times rather than Sunday opening.

In the 2000s it was renamed to the Sphinx Bar and it closed down in early 2011.


From the Maidstone Telegraph, 1 January 1870. Price 1d.

POLICE COURT, Monday, December 27th.

At the court this afternoon George Corfield, a private in the 45th Regiment, was charged with wilfully damaging a window at the “Viscount Hardinge” public-house, New Brompton. Mr Croneen said the prisoner, who was tipsy, wanted to force his way into the public- house, and on him trying to prevent him, the prisoner in the struggle broke a window. Mr Guise told the prosecutor he must proceed against the accused in a civil court, and discharged the prisoner.


Mexborough and Swinton Times, December 6, 1929.

Obituary. Mr. Abel Lee. Former Dearne Valley Footballer.

Abel Lee 1929

The death of Mr Abel Lee, formerly of Wombwell, as occurred at Guy’s Hospital London, in his 45th year.

Mr Lee was born at Rawmarsh, but lived a good deal of his early life in Wombwell, and was employed at Cottonwood Colliery till he took up football as a career.

He started playing with Dearne Valley, a former Wombwell Junior club, but at the age of 19 was “spotted” by Grimsby and join them as professional.

He played with them for a number of years, at the same time as such well known old players from this area as Tommy Hakin, Charles Bisby and Willie Hargreaves were members of the team.

Later he went to Gillingham and before the war was for a spell that club’s regular centre-half. After his retirement from the game he became licensee of the "Viscount Hardinge Arms," High Street, Gillingham.

He leaves a widow. Two sisters of Mr. Lee still resident in this district: Mrs. Moore 16 Frederick St, Mexborough and Mrs. Maggie Bristow of West Melton.

At the interment, at Gillingham New Cemetery, there was a large attendance of former football associates of Freemasons and Buffaloes, in addition to tile family mourners.

Among the floral tributes, which included wreaths from Masonic and Buffalo Lodges and the Gillingham football team, the most striking was a representation of a football field with the team in position, but the centre half position vacant, “from a few playing associates.”


Abel Evans Lee, had previously been a professional footballer for Grimsby Town (1906-11), before moving to New Brompton in 1911 and continued to play for the Kent club after they changed their name to Gillingham FC in 1912. He died on 14 Nov 1929. Highly likely that he became landlord soon after finishing his playing career in 1920.

At Grimsby he rejoiced in the nickname of ‘Chopper’ Lee, due to his uncompromising playing style!

Info by Dave Wherry.


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.



CRONEEN Walter 1813-22+

CRONEEN William O 1851-1903+ (also brickmaker age 54 in 1881Census) Kelly's 1903

LEE Abel Evans 1929 dec'd

HAWKES Edward 1938+


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:-