Sort file:- Gravesend, August, 2023.

Page Updated:- Sunday, 13 August, 2023.


Earliest 1846

Bat and Ball

Open 2023+

113 (60) Wrotham Road


01474 352097

Bat and Ball

Above photo, April 2011. Kindly supplied by John Hopperton.

Bat and Ball 2023

Above photo 2023, kindly taken and sent by Ian Goodrick.

Bat and Ball sign 1986Bat and Ball sign 2019

Above sign left, March 1986. With thanks from Brian Curtis Sign right, 2019, kindly taken and sent by Tom Duff.

Bat and Ball sign 2023

Above sign 2023, kindly taken and sent by Ian Goodrick.


Morning Advertiser 2 August 1853.


VISITORS to Gravesend may obtain good Dinners, good Liquors, and moderate charges, at this well-known house, and can amuse themselves in a six-acre enclosed field at cricket, trap-bat, quoits, archery, and other field sports. Large or small Dinner or Tea Parties provided for on the shortest notice, and persons with their own refreshments accommodated.


Southeastern Gazette, 26 April 1853.

Wednesday. (Before R. Oakes, Esq., in the chair, and C. Spencer, Esq.)

A certificate of transfer of license of the "Bat and Ball" was granted from Mr. Plane to Mr. T. Heathorn.


Southeastern Gazette, 10 May 1853.

Friday. Before J. Saddingion, Esq., Mayor, R, Oakes, C. Spencer, and E. Tickner, Esqrs.)

The following transfer of licenses took place:-

The "Bat and Ball," from Mr. Plane to Mr. Thomas Heathorn.


Gravesend Reporter, North Kent and South Essex Advertiser 28 March 1863.


HENRY BISLEY (From Bermondsey,) INFORMS the Inhabitants of Gravesend and the vicinity that he has RE-OPENED the "Bat and Ball Tavern," in the Wrotham Road.

The Premises have been put into thorough repair, regardless of expense, for the comfort and convenience of visitors, to whose accommodation H. B. will at all times give his best attention.

The Stock of Wines, Spirits, and Malt Liquors has been purchased with the greatest care.


Kentish Mercury, Saturday 13 July, 1867.

Gravesend Workmen's Dinner.

On Saturday last the workmen in the employ of Messrs. Merryweather, the great fire engine builders, of Long Acre, London, had their annual dinner at the "Bat and Ball." The majority of the workmen came to Gravesend per train, and the heads of the firm on one of the engines drawn by four horses. At four o'clock the men sat down to a first class dinner, provided by Mr. Elt, and put on the table in his well-known style.


From the Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser, Monday 6 June 1870.


The various benefit societies in this town have made arrangements for a joint demonstration and fete, to take place at the "Bat and Ball" ground on Tuesday July 12th. The profits will be handed to the treasurer of the Grayes and Dispensary and Infirmary.


From the Gravesend Reporter, North Kent and South Essex Advertiser, Saturday 11 October, 1874.

On Wednesday, at noon, a most distressing case of suicide was brought to light, in which Mrs. Frances Austin, landlady of the “Bat and Ball Tavern,” had terminated her existence by hanging. The circumstances connected with the unfortunate occurrence are of a very painful nature. Deceased, it would appear, had for some time been in a low condition, and had once or twice been heard to say that she hoped she should not live long, at the same time entertaining great horror at the thought of being covered with earth. For a few weeks prior to her death, however, she presented symptoms of improving health, and, as stated below, was more than usually lively on Tuesday night when serving behind the bar. On the morning of that day deceased and her niece, who has assisted in the business for the past two years, fell out, resulting in the latter’s suddenly leaving and going to her home at Greenwich. In the afternoon, Mr. Austin, leaving deceased at home alone, took train for London with the avowed intention of obtaining someone to take the place of his niece, but he did not return until the middle of the following day when he leaned what had transpired. His reason for not returning earlier is, that having missed the last down train on the Tilbury line on Tuesday night, he did not think it important to be home before noon on Wednesday. Although he knew deceased would be alone in the house though the night he took no means whereby to inform her of the cause of his absence. It certainly appears remarkably strange that as the gas was burning in the bar parlour from closing time on Tuesdays night that the discovery should not have been made before; even then it was at the intense of a civilian. Further particulars are gleanable from the subjoined.

An inquest on the body was held at the “Bat and Ball” on Thursday, at twelve o'clock, before E. A. Hilder, Esq. (borough coroner), and a competent jury, of which Mr. W. Cain was foreman. The Coroner having briefly stated the circumstances, the following evidence was adduced:-

P.C. Richard and Inspector Chapman gave corroborative testimony as to the discovery of the affair. In consequence of information received, they visited the “Bat and Ball” on Wednesday, between eleven and twelve o’clock. All doors were fastened, but the gas was burning in the bar parlour. After knocking several times without any respince being given, they forced an entrance at the back, searched the rooms, finally finding deceased in her bedroom. She was dead, being hanged with a piece of rope attached to a clothes peg on the inside of the door. Her feet were a very few inches from the ground; a chair stood close by. Deceased had been in bed to all appearances.

Mr. T. G. Cresy, surgeon, deposed:- I knew deceased some time, having attended her professionally in the Spring of this year. I treated her for an infection of the brain, consequent upon her critical period of life. She suffered from melancholy, great depression, expressing a hope that she should not live long. At my request she was sent away for a change and returned much better; so that I did not consider my visits necessary, and left word that I was to be sent for if deceased got worse. Deceased was very inattentive at times, but she was quite conscious. On Wednesday, about noon, I was sent for and found deceased quite dead. I should think the act had been committed three or four hours before I saw her. On examining the body I found the mark of a single strangulation, that is the chord did not shift in the slightest – death was instantaneous.

By the Jury:- I had seen the deceased within a month of her death.

Edward Austin deposed:- Deceased was my wife; her age was 51 last birthday. I last saw my wife about half-past three on Tuesday afternoon; there was no one in the house but deceased. Through Miss Durrant, my niece, having left, I went to London for the purpose of getting a person to assist in the place of the one who had left. I returned the next morning; I intended to have returned the same night but missed the train. I got home about twelve o’clock, and was met by a neighbour who told me what had occurred, and on reaching the house I found the police in charge of the premises. I saw deceased. As Dr. Creasy had told you, deceased was ill in the summer, but I thought she had quite improved. I was surprised to find what had occurred; deceased had never threatened to do anything of the kind. My niece left in consequence of a few words she and deceased had in the morning.

By Mr. Channer: I intended to have come home on the Tuesday evening but missed the train. I could have got down by an earlier train i9n the morning but did not think it necessary.

William Heard, living at 33, Wrotham Road, said I have known Mr. and Mrs. Austin ever since I have been in Gravesend. Mrs. Weaver brought me word about half-past eleven, and on going up to the house I heard what had taken place. Subsequently going down Windmill Street I met Mr. Austin, and after an introductory conversation I told him of what had occurred, and he seemed greatly surprised. At Mr. Austin’s request, I went and saw Miss Durrant between three and four o’clock. I asked her if she would come down, but being overpowered, she said she could not come down then but would try and do so as today (Thursday).

By the Chairman:- The niece would have returned from Greenwich with me, but her mother advised her not.

At the wish of the jury the room was cleared, and after consulting in private for about half-an-hour, the following verdict was returned:- That Mrs. Frances Austin committed suicide while in a state of temporary insanity, and we (Jury), think Mr. Austin very remiss in leaving her in such a state as she was in, and when he found he could not get home on the same night he ought to have been down very early in the morning.


From the By Will Payne, 18 December 2020.

Popular Gravesend pub landlord Meeka 'Slim' Nijjer dies after contracting Covid-19.

Floral tributes have been left outside a pub in memory of a man who touched the hearts of many.

Meeka 'Slim' Nijjer, of The Grove, Gravesend, passed away last Thursday after he caught Covid-19.

Meeka Nijjer 2020

Meeka 'Slim' Nijjer died on December 10. Picture: Mac Cheema.

He was admitted to Darent Valley Hospital after he fell ill with the virus.

The 66-year-old was a much-loved and well-known individual in Gravesend, and flowers and other mementos have been left outside the Bat and Ball pub in Wrotham Road where he was landlord.

The publican was also the chairman of the Gravesham Licence Victuallers Association (LVA), which helps to assist and protect licence holders.

Slim was also a supporter of ellenor hospice, and a JustGiving page has been set up in his memory to raise money for the charity.

Life-long friend and fellow charity supporter Mac Cheema said: "He had such an impact in this town for so long, that it just cannot be forgotten. It won't be allowed to be forgotten.

Meeka Nijjer & Friends 2020

(From left) Friend Manjit Atwal, Slim's son Danny Nijjer, Slim, and Mac Cheema at a Gravesham LVA meeting. Picture: Mac Cheema.

"He was strong, fair and a stubborn man – but he always wanted the best for everybody.

"Whenever I went to see him, no matter how long it had been, he always had that smile that just made you comfortable to be in his company.

"He had this unique ability to communicate with all levels, whether young or old, a man, woman, it didn't matter to him, he just got on with everyone."

Slim was also a part of many organisations, such as Gravesham Petanque Society, Gravesend Town Darts League, Gravesend Cricket Club, Guru Nanak FC, the army cadets and multiple boxing gyms, to name a few.

Bat and Ball tributes 2020

Tributes to Meeka 'Slim' Nijjer, outside the Bat and Ball pub in Wrotham Road, Gravesend.

Mac added: "That's why there is such an outcry of people wanting to show their respect and sympathy.

"He was known across all cultures, not just the Asian community, but the West Indians, the travelling community, Christians, you name it, they all had a part of him.

"He was happy to greet people and he just appreciated everybody. He will be sorely missed."

Slim's family extended their gratitude to staff on Laurel Ward at Darent Valley Hospital, where he was treated before he died.

"The way the staff behaved and the way they supported the family, they are extremely thankful for everything they did," Mac continued.

"They all had a part of him."

Slim will be cremated at Medway Crematorium on Tuesday.

The procession will arrive at the Bat and Ball pub at 11am.


The original pub was demolished and rebuilt in July 1939.

Can't help but think it looks like a fire station to me.

Closed in December 2020 but reopened again in the summer of 2022.



PLANE W Squire to May/1853 Kentish IndependentSouth Eastern Gazette

HEATHORN Thomas May/1853+ Kentish IndependentSouth Eastern Gazette

SEAYER George 1858+

HYDE Charles H 1861-62+ (age 40 in 1861Census)

BISLEY Henry 1863+

ELT Mr 1867+

AUSTIN Edward 1874+

HEATH Thomas Phillip 1881+ (age 30 in 1881Census)

SPARKHAM Arthur W 1882+

WALLIS Thomas Martin 1891+

TITLEY Thomas William 1901-13+ (age 44 in 1901Census) Kelly's 1903

SMITH Kate Mrs 1922+

RAYMOND Hetty Mrs 1930+

HAY Charles 1938+

ROBINSON Len 1980s+


NIJJER Meeka to 10/Dec/2020 dec'd


Kelly's 1903From the Kelly's Directory 1903


Kentish IndependentKentish Independent


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