Sort file:- Greenwich, March, 2021.

Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.


Earliest 1664-


Latest 1939+

Ship Dock (Next the Pier 1866) / Church Street / King William Street


Ship print 1822

Above print from the book "Dickensian Inns and Taverns, 1822."

Greenwich map 1893

Above map 1893 showing the location of "Fubb's Yacht." "Sugar Loaf," "Ship Tavern."

Ship 1903

Above photo from the Tatler, 30 September 1903.

The above paper goes on to say the following:- Which has fallen on evil days and come into the Bankruptcy Court. The "Ship" had most interesting political . For three generations cabinet ministers used to meet there at the close of the session for a whitebait dinner. The last occasion of a whitebait dinner was on August 15, 1894, when Lord Rosebery's ministry dined at the "Ship."

Ship illustration 1905

Above illustration from Cassell's History of England, circa 1905.

Ship 1908

Above photo, 1908.

Ship 1908

Above photo, circa 1908.

Ship 1908

Above photo circa 1908.

Ship 1937

Above photo, circa 1937.


From the Kentish Gazette, 10 June 1845.

An unpleasant event happened at the "Ship Tavern," Greenwich, on Wednesday night last. A party had dined at the tavern, and on its breaking up, a one horse chariot or fly was being brought to the door by the driver, when the horse rushed forward, threw the coachman, who was seriously bruised, and plunged down the descent into the river, with the chariot at his heels; and before the least exertion could be made, got so involved in the stream as to be instantly drowned. The watermen contrived to make fast the carriage to a chain on shore, or it would have been washed away with the rising tide.


Morning Advertiser, Friday 11 May 1855.

Greenwich Whitebait Dinners.

Thomas Quartermain respectively informs the nobility and public that he has opened his new tavern, the "Ship," which he intends to conduct on the same principle as the old one, the "Crown and Sceptre," and solicits their patronage to both houses.

Orders can be given at the "York Hotel," New Bridge Street, Blackfriars. May 5th, 1855.


Morning Advertiser, Saturday 08 June 1867.

Committal of an Hotel Clerk for robbing his employer.

Henry Tythe Cheslett, a respectable dressed man, was charged with collecting money on account of his employer, Mr. Thomas Quartermain, of the "Ship Hotel," Greenwich, and appropriating the same to his own use.

It appears that the prisoner entered the service of the prosecutor in March last, as clerk, his duty being to keep the accounts of the establishment, but neither to deliver bills nor to call upon customers for payment. On the 24th of May the prisoners asked leave to go to London, which was granted him by the manager, and he then went to the accountant and asked for a Sovereign, which was handed to him, he stated that the manager knew all about it. The prisoner did not afterwards return, and it was then ascertained that he had called upon Mr. John Cooper Foster, surgeon, of St. Thomas Street, Southwark, and presented an account of 3 0s. 6d, payment of which was made by means of a crossed cheque upon the London and Westminster Bank. The prisoner took this cheque to Mr. Weaklin, stationer, of 91, Farringdon Street, City, and producing Mr. Quartermaine's card, said he was the collective, and having left home without small change, asked him to cash it. Mr. Weaklin did so, the prosecutor being a customer. A second cheque for 9 3s. 6d. (also crossed) had been obtained from another gentleman in the City, and which had been left as security by the prisoner for an advance of 4 from another person.

The depositions having been completed, Mr. Maud committed the prisoner for trial.


Hull Daily Mail, Tuesday 22 November 1887.


Late on Monday night a fire, which did a large amount of damage, occurred at the well-known "Ship Hotel," Greenwich. A boy, who was passing about 10.30, saw a glare in the window, and gave the alarm, but though the fire brigade was soon on the spot, and there was a plentiful supply of water, it was over two hours before the flames were subdued. The two top floors used as stores and dormitories were burned out, and the rest of the building seriously damaged.


St James's Gazette, Tuesday 22 November 1887.


At a late hour last night a fire, which resulted in great damage being done, occurred at the "Ship Hotel," Greenwich. It was discovered about five-and-twenty minutes to eleven o’clock, when a boy who was passing along Church-street saw a glare in the windows at the top of the establishment fronting Church-street. He immediately communicated the news to the people in the hotel-tap. Cries of “Fire!” were raised and the alarm soon spread in the neighbourhood, “the Ship was on fire.” In a minute or so flames burst out of the windows and through the roof. The Greenwich Fire Brigade, under Engineer Chatterton, quickly repaired to the spot with their manual-engine; but it was soon seen that assistance was required, and steamers were sent from Deptford, Rotherhithe, and other South London stations. By midnight all danger of fire attacking the King William-street portion of the hotel was at an end. In the meantime some of the Southwark Salvage Corps had arrived, and much of the furniture, etc., was preserved from damage, By one o’clock this morning the flames had been extinguished; but at that hour water was still being poured on the debris. The following is the official report of the damage:—

“A building of five and six floors, about 120 ft. by 65 ft.; about 70 ft. by 30 ft. of the two top floors (used as stores and dormitories) and contents nearly burned out and roof off; rest of building and contents damaged by smoke, water, and breakage.” The fire is supposed to have originated through the kitchen-flue becoming over-heated.


County Courts Chronicle, Friday 01 April 1892.

The London, Windsor, and Greenwich Hotels Company Limited was formed in 1866, for the purpose of purchasing and carrying on certain hotels, including the "Ship Hotel" at Greenwich.

Mr. Thomas Quartermaine was the vendor to the company of the "Ship Hotel," with the goodwill of the business, and the stock-in-trade. The price was 44,185. 19s. 3d., of which part was to be paid in cash, part was to be satisfied by debentures, and the balance (25,935. 19s. 3d.) was to remain on mortgage of the premises.

This transaction was carried out by an indenture dated the 30th July 1866, and made between Thomas Quartermaine of the first part, the company of the second part, and Thomas Plews and Richard William Jennings of the third part. By this deed the whole of the property was conveyed to Messrs. Plews and Jennings, upon the trusts thereinafter declared. The company covenanted with Thomas Quartermaine for payment, of the sum of 25,935. 19s. 3d. by eight equal annual instalments of 3,000. and a final instalment of "1,935.19s. 3d., with interest at the rate of 5 per cent, per annum on so much of the principal money as for the time being remained owing. And it was thereby declared that until default should be made in the payment of any of the instalments or interest for three months after the same should become due, the property should be held upon trust for the company, and to permit them to use, occupy, and enjoy the same in the ordinary course of business, and that after any such default it should be held upon trust to sell at the request of the said Thomas Quartermaine, his executors, administrators, or assigns, and it was provided that the proceeds of sale should be applied first in payment of expenses; secondly, in payment of the sums due to Thomas Quartermaine; and that any surplus should be payable to the company.

Thomas Quartermaine died on the 21st Nov. 1867. William Quartermaine and Eliza Quartermaine were the present trustees of his will, and the benefit of the above-mentioned mortgage was vested in them.

By July 1870 the mortgage money had been reduced to 16,248. 5s. 6d. At that date, however, the company finding that instalments of 3,000. per annum were more than they could pay, requested Mr. Quartermaine’s trustees to permit the instalments to be reduced to 1,000. The trustees consented upon having the amount of the debentures (5,000.) held by the company added to the mortgage money. This arrangement was carried out by a deed of the 1st July 1870. The mortgage money thereupon became increased to 21,248. 5s. 6d.

In Feb. 1878, the mortgage money having been reduced to 15,248. 5s. 6d. the then trustees of Mr. Quartermaine’s will consented, at the request of the company, to the instalments being further reduced to 500. on condition of having the debt further secured by a first mortgage on another hotel belonging to the company, known as the "Trafalgar Hotel." This was earned into effect by a deed dated the 8th Feb. 1878.

The instalments of 500. were regularly paid un to July 1885.

The instalment which fell due in July 1866 was not paid. An action for foreclosure was subsequently commenced by the trustees against the company, in which an injunction was obtained, restraining the company from removing any of the stock-in-trade or articles at the "Ship Hotel" otherwise than in the ordinary course of business.

On the 8th Jan. 1887 the company went into voluntary liquidation, which on the 22nd Jan. 1887 was ordered to be continued under the supervision of the court. The liquidator was subsequently, on the application of the plaintiffs in the foreclosure action, appointed receiver and manager of the "Ship Hotel."

The receiver and manager entered into possession, carried on the business, and made profits.

On the 29th Nov. 1887 an order was made in the foreclosure action directing an inquiry of what the mortgaged property consisted, an account of what was due to the plaintiffs under their securities, and of the rents and profits of the mortgaged premises received by the plaintiffs, or on their behalf.

Sales were from time to time made of parts of the mortgaged property, and ultimately the whole of the property comprised in the security was realised.

The chief clerk made his certificate on the 18th April 1891. He found that all the property had been realised and accounted for, and that there remained due to the plaintiffs 8,653. 13s. 10d. consisting of the balance of principal and interest calculated at 5 per cent, per annum to the date of the certificate and costs.

The plaintiffs then took out a summons against the liquidator in the winding-up proceedings asking that the liquidator might be ordered to admit the applicants as unsecured creditors of the company for 8,595. 2s. 1d. being the sum of 8,653. 13s. 10d., the amount found by the chief clerk’s certificate, less 58.11s. 9d. representing interest accrued between the date of the last receipt by the applicants of any money in respect of their security, and the date of the certificate; and that the liquidator might be ordered to pay to the applicants a dividend of 4s. in the pound on the amount of such debt, such dividend of 4s. in the pound being the amount of the dividend paid by the liquidator to the general creditors of the company; and that the liquidator might also be ordered to pay to the applicants all future dividends on the said debt pari passu (at the same rate or on an equal footing) with the other general creditors.


Western Times 29 August 1894.


Yesterday morning about eleven James Farrell, barman at the "Rising Sun," Blackwall, entered the bar in the refreshment department at the "Ship Tavern," Greenwich, fired a revolver shot at Lizzie Thompson, barmaid, slightly grazed her neck, and then ran out. In the afternoon he was taken into custody. The girl has been taken home by her father. The motive of the crime is said to be jealousy.


From "The World's News (Sydney, N.S.W. AUSTRALIA ) Sat. 7th Nov. 1903.


The glories of the old SHIP TAVERN at GREENWICH have departed. The man in possession in the shape of the SHERIFF OF KENT, entered the historic old inn, and the Vacation Court has just appointed a receiver. Who has not heard of Whitebait at GREENWICH ? What political associations centre in the famous SHIP INN, one of the last survivors of the many notable river-side inns or taverns where the principal attraction was whitebait.

The old "Ship Inn" was known the world over as the home of the Ministerial whitebait dinners. Every year, with the approach of the end of the session, Ministers used to travel down to Greenwich and sit down to dinner in which the delicate little fish, fried in a coat of fine flour to a pretty light brown colour, was the chief item. In the "two and three bottle days" the gatherings were of a social rather than an official dinner, and even became merry as the crisp whitebait was eaten with iced champagne or punch.

The function had a curious origin. On the shores of Dagenham Lake a wealthy merchant, one Sir Robert Preston, built himself a fishing house like that which old Isaak Walton and his friend Charles Cotton built for their comfort in Dovedale, Derbyshire. Sir Robert used to angle for bream, and one of his friends was George Rose, Secretary to the Treasury, who suggested that the great Pitt might like to come and join them, if not in their sport, at least in their dinner afterwards. Pitt came, not once, but often, and when pressure of State affairs rendered it difficult for him to ride or drive to Dagenham, Greenwich was chosen as being more convenient.

The party swelled. Pitt brought Lord Camden, then others came, but they were good Tories all, and all in high office. When Sir Robert Preston died Lord Farnborough undertook to send out invitations, and they were carefully restricted to Cabinet Ministers. As time went on the circle was widened, but the idea of a Ministerial dinner was adhered to throughout. The Opposition might go hungry - the dinner was not for them.

The ceremony was held with regularity until 1868. Then, curiously enough, it was discontinued by Mr. Gladstone, though the "Ship" was part of his own constituency, nor was it revived till 1874.

At the last occasion on which Disraeli was present some one played a practical joke on the manager of the "Ship." Just before the dinner he received a communication written on official paper to the effect that Mr. Disraeli was suffering from a rather painful affliction of the mouth, and would be glad if some special dishes might be prepared for him without any sauces whatever. This was done, but as Mr. Disraeli said nothing on his arrival with reference to the matter, the dishes were not sent to the table, and it was concluded that the letter was the work of a political enemy, who thought that the Premier's mouth must have suffered from the constant speeches which he had recently delivered.

In 1880 Mr. John Bright attended for the first and last time. Lord Granville was in the chair, as Mr. Gladstone was away for his health. In the following year Lord Rosebery presided as the youngest Minister, and Mr. Gladstone received a testimonial from his old constituents.

In 1882 Sir William Harcourt sat at the head of the table, and in 1883 Mr. G. W. E. Russell, Secretary to the Local Government Board. Then came a long hiatus, the discredit of which - if it be discredit - belongs to the Constitutional party. Their was no Greenwich Ministerial dinner throughout the short-lived Liberal Ministry of 1885-6, and the long Unionist Administration of 1886-1892.

Lord Rosebery came to the rescue in 1894. Nearly 10 years have passed since then. His Lordship created much amusement by being almost left behind. His colleagues were gathered on the Foam - which, with flags and crimson cloth, wore an unusual air of smartness and gaiety - and the moorings were slipped. Lord Rosebery was seen running down the pier. Opinions are divided as to whether the late passenger took a boat and rowed out or joined the vessel later at Charing Cross. However, the last dinner, over which Lord Tweedmouth presided, was a tolerable success. There was, of course, Whitebait, and the fish were as fresh, as the wines were old.

It may be that the "Ship" is but passing through a brief spell of troubled waters, and on the other side is calm and prosperity. When preference shall cease from troubling and the protectionist be at rest, Ministers may once more sit down to "Whitebait at Greenwich."


Kentish Mercury, Friday 14 February 1908.

The Ship, Greenwich.

Mr. George Eliot said that there was a scheme in formation with regard to the "Ship Hotel," and the renewal of a licence in respect of that house was adjourned till March 9th.


The building was situated on Greenwich waterfront which is now occupied by the Clipper Ship the Cutty Sark. The pub was destroyed during a WW2 air raid.

Jacqueline Davies kindly writes to me who says she is interested in 17th century Greenwich and has been doing research from sources including a survey of East Greenwich Manor in a document titled "A survey of the Kings Lordship or Manor of East Greenwich in the County of Kent made by Samuel Travers 1695-97.":- The "Ship Tavern" to the north of Samuel Wilson near Friar Road, King’s Barn and Turnpin Lane. Mr Samuel Wilson 14 hearths in East Lane East district in 1664. "Ships Tavern" is shown on 1863 Weller Map.


Pieter van der Merwe tells me the following:-

"The old 'Ship Tavern' was originally at the east end of Fisher Lane overlooking the Ship Dock (east side of Greenwich Pier). It became the "Ship Torbay," apparently behind the west side of Greenwich Pier (where the NZ Maori War obelisk now stands) by the late 1840s as shown here:-

Ship 1830

It was later replaced by the final "Ship Hotel," slightly further east later on (i.e outside the RNC grounds on the site of the old "Peter Boat" - though much bigger).



CLARK Joseph 1823-34+ Pigot's Directory 1823

CLARKE Amy 1832+ Pigot's Directory 1832-34

LEE Charles 1854+ West Kent Guardian

Last pub licensee had QUARTERMAINE Thomas 1855-Nov/67 dec'd (age 54 in 1861Census)

PYCROFT Thomas T 1871-74+ (age 26 in 1871Census)

BALE William Thomas 1881-1907+ (age 43 in 1891Census)

CATTANACH William 1908+

ABBOTT Walter John 1911+ (age 36 in 1911Census)


Pigot's Directory 1823From the Pigot's Directory 1823

Pigot's Directory 1832-34From the Pigot's Directory 1832-33-34


West Kent GuardianWest Kent Guardian


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