Sort file:- Strood, December, 2023.

Page Updated:- Tuesday, 12 December, 2023.


Earliest 1847-

Watermill Tavern

Closed ????

1 Canal Road


Watermill Tavern

Above photo, date unknown, kindly sent by Michael Mirams.

Watermill Tavern

Above photo, date unknown.

Former Watermill Tavern 2010

Above photo 2010 by Chris Whippet Creative Commons Licence.

Watermill Tavern 2019

Above photo 2019, kindly sent by Debi Birkin.


According to the book the "History of Strood" by Henry Smetham, published 1899, the first pub with this name was accidentally burnt down. Another place of entrance to Strood fair meadow was by way of this public house, a rather frail wooden bridge spanning the mill pond for this purpose. A Mr Freeland was the first licensee, followed by George Roffway.

Ind Coope & Co Ltd purchased the pub from Budden & Biggs Brewery Ltd by conveyance and assignment dated 23 March 1931. The pub held a full license.

I am informed that the building is due for demolition (2020).


From an email received, 29 January 2021.

Watermiss Tavern tape measure

My husband and I are just going through a job lot he won on ebay and came across this item, it is a tape measure. (Date unknown.)


Annmarie Musselwhite.


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.


South Eastern Gazette, 15 May, 1860.


Tuesday. (Before the Mayor, E. R. Coles, F. Furrell, H. Everest, and G. Lowrey, Esqrs.)

Dismissal of One of the City Police.

James Hewitson, linen-draper, Chatham intra, was charged, on remand, with being drunk and assaulting Police-constable Boakes. The court was filled during the examination of the accused, the proceedings attracting much interest.

The police-constable said he was on duty in Strood on Friday night, and saw the defendant at the railway refreshment room about eleven o’clock. He drank with the defendant, and also with the three witnesses to be called for the defence. The lady serving them wished witness to get defendant away. Witness persuaded him to leave, and they both went to the "Water-mill" public-house, where complainant again drank at the bar, the defendant at the time "dancing about" in a state of intoxication. Complainant did not pay for what he had. He left the "Water-mill" at twenty minutes after eleven, leaving the defendant there. About half-past twelve complainant saw the defendant again at the foot of Rochester-bridge. He was then insulting every one that passed, and as he refused to go home, witness put his hand on him to "shove" him along, when defendant turned round and struck him in the eye with his fist. He then closed with him and they struggled for some minutes, both falling more than once. As he was down defendant kicked him three or four times in the back. A baker named Grewcock assisted witness to take defendant to the station-house, defendant kicking Grewcock several times.

Cross-examined by the defendant:— They were at the "Cobham" public-house together drinking; witness had some ginger-beer.

Mr. Everest told complainant there was a discrepancy in his evidence, as he said he did not see defendant after he left him at the Water-mill till he saw him on the bridge, and now he admitted he saw him at the "Cobham." Which statement was correct?

Complainant:— Both; I was persuading him to go away.

Mr. Coles:— Then what you stated just now is not true?

Complainant:— No, Sir.

Complainant said he had no witness to call, as Grewcock had evidently been put out of the way.

The son of the landlord of the "Cobham" was called for the complainant, but the magistrates said his evidence was unnecessary.

The defendant stated that on the day in question he had been out in the country, and came home rather late. On going into the railway station to leave a parcel he met the constable, when they several glasses of ale together and left in company, a woman meeting them, with whom complainant advised him to go home. They then went to the "Water-mill" public-house together, where they saw Grewcock, and remained drinking, defendant paying for what the police-constable had. After leaving the "Water-mill" complainant induced him to go to the "Cobham," and on his leaving that house, the police-constable wanted to lock him up. Defendant then struck him, on which the police-constable threw him down, but he succeeded in getting up, and the police-constable then fell down. He had been very ill-used by the police-constable and Grewcock.

John Swinton, railway porter, and John Wallis, switchman at Strood junction, were called for the defence, both stating that the constable was in liquor; Wallis saying that he tried to put on the handcuffs; but was too drunk to do so.

Defendant said he had another witness to call who would prove that he saw the police-constable that evening asleep in a railway carriage, that he treated him to a cup of coffee, and that Boakes told him he should go home and "sham Abraham."

The Mayor thought there was no necessity for any additional witness, and the charge would be dismissed.

Mr. Coles said, as Boakes had been before suspended, more than once, he should call the attention of the Watch Committee to the matter. His own opinion was that Boakes was quite unfit to be a police-constable of that city.

Boakes said, seeing the course the case had taken, he thought he should be only studying his own interest and that of the city, by at once resigning.

The Mayor, addressing Mr. Hewitson, told him he hoped it would be a warning to him.




FREELAND Mr pre 1847

ROFFWAY George 1847-58+

DOGGETT John Doggett 1861-62+ (widower age 36 in 1861Census)

COLEY Francis Coley 13/Dec/1866 (listed as dealer & chapman, bankrupt)

BUSHELL William Smith 1874+ Next pub licensee had

RUSSELL Ellen Miss 1878+

HOWE Albert Duppa 1881-82+ (age 31 in 1881Census)

BURGESS H Mrs 1891+

LEWRY Alfred 1903+ Kelly's 1903

COSSEY George 1909-18+

COSSEY Ellen 1922-30+

DRAY Ethel Lilian Mrs 1938+

???? Pam & Malcolm ???? (probably 1980s)


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:-