Page Updated:- Saturday, 11 March, 2023.


Earliest 1828

Flying Dutchman

Closed 2017-

110-112 London Road


Flying Dutchman

Above photo, date unknown.

Flying Dutchman 2009

Above photo 2009 by N Chadwick Creative Commons Licence.

Flying Dutchman

Above photo, date unknown, photo by Sally Loram.


Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser, Saturday 19 October 1867.

The Flying Dutchman. Southborough Tunbridge Wells.

To Brewers, Publicans, Butchers, Shopkeepers and others.

Mr. Chantler has received instructions from the proprietor, Mr. Thomas Street, to sell by public auction, at the "Hand and Sceptre Inn," Southborough, on Monday, 28th of October, 1867, at 3 for 4 o'clock precisely, (unless an acceptable offer be previously made,) in 6 lots, all that newly erected substantially built, and commodious freehold house, known as the "Flying Dutchman," with the stabling, coach house, and building land at the rear thereof, situate in the rapidly increasing part of Southborough, known as the Brightridge.

The respective Lots will be more fully described in Particulars, which with the Conditions of Sale, may be had of Messr's Gorham and Warner, Solicitors, Tonbridge; Mr. Thomas Street, on the premises; at the place of sale, and of the Auctioneers, Southborough, Tunbridge Wells.


From the Maidstone Telegraph, Rochester and Chatham Gazette, 21 September 1861.

Petty Sessions, Wednesday.

(Before T. F. Bailey, Esq., Major Scoones, H. T. Moore, and A. Potts, Esqs.)

The licences to the public houses in the division were renewed with the exception of the "Flying Dutchman," Tunbridge, which was suspended for a fortnight, on the complaint of Superintendent Dance, and that of the "Oxenhoath Yeoman," Dunks Green, suspended for further inquiries, in consequence of reports that on Sunday, August 18th, 15 persons were found in the house smoking and drinking at a quarter before 12 in the morning.


From the Kent and Sussex Courier. 29 August 1873. Price 1d.


Mr. Cripps applied on behalf of Mr. Charles Woodman for a license to sell spirits by retail on the premises, at the "Flying Dutchman. " Southborough.

Mr. Gorham opposed the application. Mr. Cripps asked by whom Mr. Gorham was instructed?

Mr. Gorham replied by Mr. Garling and a number of residents, including five clergymen.

Mr. Cripps maintained that Mr. Gorham could only speak for those by whom he was actually instructed, and that a memorial produced could not be put in unless the signatory were present to give evidence upon it. It had been so ruled by the Court of Sessions.

The service and advertising of the notices was then proved. Mr. Cripps then stated the circumstances under which the application was made, saying that the house was desirably situated for the purposes of an inn; it abutted on the side of the highway, was in the midst of a thickly-populated neighbourhood, and had recently undergone extensive repairs.

Mr. Woodman was called, and stated that he drew about 325 barrels of beer a year, and paid 48 rent. He was frequently asked by his customers for spirits, and he had ample accommodation. Mr. W. H. Wright, who had been the architect for the improvements, was called, and stated that his lowest estimate for the work now being carried out would be 139, but if what was anticipated was completed it would amount to two or three hundred pounds. The house was very substantially built, and could not have been completed for less than 800. It was also well situated, and in his opinion another licensed house was necessary for the neighbourhood.

The "Bell Inn" was situated just across the road. Mr. Gorham submitted that, so far as regarded spirits, the present accommodation at Southborough was sufficient to supply every need of the neighbourhood three times over. At this point another argument ensued as to whom Mr. Gorham was instructed by.

The Bench ruled that the memorial could not be received as evidence unless the signators were present to give evidence. Mr. Gorham said independently of the memorial, although he should not fail to use it if needs be, there was not the slightest ground for the granting of this license on the score of public necessity, which must be the first consideration in the case. Then, again, the nature of the holding in this application was not strictly legitimate. The application was made on behalf of Mr. Woodman, but in reality it was on behalf of the brewer, because his tenure could be terminated by three months' notice, and he had only been in the house a year and a half. It was, he (Mr. Warner) contended, an application by Messrs. Kelsey to improve their property. Then, again, as to present accommodation in Southborough, which he admitted was a rapidly-growing place, there were, he slid, nine public-houses or beer-shops within a radius of a mile from the "Flying Dutchman. " There was one place close to it, merely across the road, and still their worships were asked to grant a license in this case, simply because some people were obliged to walk to the opposite side of the road to get spirits at the "Bell."

The tendency of public feeling was strongly against an increase of public-houses unless it was shown that there was occasion for it, and with that opinion he entirely concurred. He tendered the memorial, but the Bench refused to accept it as evidence. Mr. Cripps said as the memorial had been tendered as evidence by Mr. Gorham, he claimed the right of reply; but the Bench ruled that as it had not been received as evidence he had no right to reply. Mr. Cripps then said that as Mr. Gorham had raised certain points of law, he had a right of reply; but here again the Bench ruled that he had no right of reply, as Mr. Gorham had not raised any points of law. Mr. Cripps said it was the custom in all courts of law, where Jarvis's Act did not apply, for the justices to hear both sides fully so as to obtain the whole of the facts.

The Bench, however, declined to accord Mr. Cripps an opportunity for reply. The Chairman announced that, as four of the magistrates were against the granting of the license, the application was refused.


From the Kent and Sussex Courier, 31 October, 1873.


On Tuesday evening, a pony and van belonging to Mr Bull, oil and colorman, of High-street, Tunbridge Wells, was passing through Southborough, to Mr Cotton’s, with a cargo of oil, candles, and such like commodities, and when opposite the "Flying Dutchman" they were run into by a horse and trap belonging to Mr Larking, timber merchant, of Maidstone. The latter trap was thrown completely over, the coachman, a man named Coomber, was thrown violently to the ground, and another man who was in the cart with him was couped up under the trap. He was, we understand, the landlord of the "Prince of Wales," Maidstone, and was very seriously injured, especially one foot and leg. He was taken to the "Flying Dutchman," and attended by Dr. Colebrook, and Coomber received the attention of Dr. Charlton at the "Hand and Sceptre Hotel," he having sustained an injury to his hip. They were, we understand, driving over to Tunbridge Wells to be in readiness to stamp some timber on the Eridge Estate. The boy who was driving Mr Bull’s trap fortunately escaped, and so did both the horses, though Mr Larking’s trap was considerably damaged.


From the Kent and Sussex Courier, 19 August 1874.

An Extra Hour Allowed.

On the application of Mr. Warner, solicitor, the Bench granted an extension of 1 hour to Mr. C. Woodman, of the "Flying Dutchman Inn," on the occasion of the annual dinner of the Foresters' Friendly Society being held.


From the Kent and Sussex Courier, 19 August 1874.

Licensing Business.

Mr. Cripps applied on behalf of Mr. Charles Woodman, of the "Flying Dutchman" beer-house, Southborough, for a licence to sell spirits, and enlarged upon the superior capacities of the house. Mr. Warner opposed on behalf of the owner of the "Bell" public house opposite, and the Bench, before hearing the details of the opposition, refused the application, at the same time stated they had no doubt that the applicant bore a good character.

Mr. Cripps applied on behalf of Mr. B. C. Holland, out-door beer retailer, of Tonbridge, for an in-door licence, but, after the intimation the magistrates had expressed in Mr. Mercer's case, he felt he could not press it, especially if Mr. Monckton, of Hectorage Farm, appeared in person to oppose it.

The Bench said it was useless to proceed, unless Mr. Cripps had something special to plead.


Kent & Sussex Courier, Friday 30 August 1878.

Southborough. Flying Dutchman.

At the Tonbridge Petty sessions, on Tuesday, Sir. D. L. Salomons, the chairman, said he noticed that there was again and application for full license to be granted to this house. This application had been made every year for some time, and the landlord might take it for granted it would not be granted.

Mr. W. C. Cripps, solicitor, who supported the application, said that after that information he should withdraw the application, merely remarking that the new tenant was a man of the highest possible character.


Kent & Sussex Courier, Friday 5 December 1879.

Charge of Drunkenness.

At the Tonbridge Petty Sessions, on Tuesday, John Thorpe, carpenter, pleaded guilty to being drunk at the "Flying Dutchman," Southborough, and he was fined 5s. and 9s costs, which he paid.

Defendant said he did not get the beer at the "Flying Dutchman," but at the Wells.

Superintendent Barnes asked whether the Bench would instruct him to prosecute the landlord for supplying defendant with beer. It was about 11 minutes past closing time, and the landlord was actually supplying the defendant with beer in a bottle to take home.

The Chairman said they could not prejudge the case, but it was open to the Superintendent to take proceedings if he thought proper.
Superintendent Barnes said there were several other people in the house at the time. His orders were to ask the Bench for instructions in such cases.

The chairman said they could not recommend the Superintendent to take proceedings, but if he had good grounds to bring a case he had better do so.


From the Kent and Sussex Courier, Friday 10 April 1885.

Tonbridge Petty sessions. Licensing.

Mr. Watson, landlord of the "Flying Dutchman," Southborough, applied for an hour's extension on the occasion of a tradesman's dinner at his house.

The application was granted.


Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser, Friday 3 August 1945.


ALLCHIN. Eric Nelson,

Of the "Flying Dutchman," Southborough, passed peacefully away on Saturday, July 28.


Kent & Sussex Courier, Friday 28 July 1972.

Performance gift for Chimney Pot Willie.

Fireman gathered over pints of beer at the "Flying Dutchman" Public House, Southborough, on Tuesday evening of last week for a farewell party for Mr. William Hodge. Until the end of June Mr. Hodge was sub officer in charge of Southborough fire station.

After 14 years as a retained fireman - the last two as sub officer - he has retired because of pressure of work as the mechanic in charge of the Post Office at Tunbridge Wells.

During the evening his successor Mr. Eric Pedersen presented Mr. Hodge with an engraved clock on behalf of the men.

Mr. Hodge who lives with his wife Evelyn, and sons Paul, 16, and Ian, 13, at 4 Edward Street, Southborough originally joined the fire service "for something to do."

"I was nicknamed Chimney Pot Willy by Mr. Stan Webb the sub-officer in those days because the first series of jobs I went on were chimney fires," Mr. Hodge remembered.

Born in Southborough and educated at St. Peter's School on the common, Mr. Hodge served his apprenticeship as a mechanic with a garage then after a brief spell in the Prison Service he joined the Post Office where he has worked for 20 years.

Although his time with the Fire Service has many spoilt dinners - when alarms went up as he was sitting down to meals. Mr. Hodge admitted a slight nostalgia. "I have enjoyed every minute of it and I'm going to miss it" he said.

Bill Hodge 1972

Mr. Bill Hodge (right) was recently retired as sub-officer in charge of Southborough Fire Station, is presented with a clock by his successor, Mr. Eric Pedersen, on behalf of his colleagues.



I believe the pub changed name to "Ryan's Bar" between 2004 and February 2009, but later reverted to its original name again and latest information (2017) tells me that it is again closed for business.


From the By Mary Harris, 7 March 2023.

The Flying Dutchman on London Road opposite the former now demolished Victoria Theatre had pool and crib teams and a separate smaller bar. The large bar was "drinking only with magazines and local papers available".

There was music every Saturday evening and Jam nights on Thursdays. It then became Irish pub "Ryan's Bar" between 2004 and February 2009, but later reverted to its original name. It is now closed as a pub.

The Courier stated in April, 2009. "Customers used to flock to Ryan's to watch live football matches on big screens, but the landlord was forced to stop broadcasting satellite television after subscription prices rocketed."

Five months later we reported: "The new owners, Malcolm and Tracy Stanway, are promising a 90,000 revamp will transform the London Road bar back to its former glory as a traditional English pub – and restore its former name, The Flying Dutchman in the process."



WOODMAN C 1828+ Kent and Sussex Courier

STREATER Thomas to Mar/1861

CRISPE Henry Mar/1861+

STREET Thomas to Oct/1867

DUNK Walter 1871-May/72 Next pub licensee had (age 47 in 1871Census) Maidstone and Kentish Journal

WOODMAN Charles May/1872-74+ Kent and Sussex CourierMaidstone and Kentish Journal

WATSON Benjamin 1881-85+ (age 68 in 1881Census)

BETTS William 1891+ (manager aged 42 in 1891Census)

EADE Fred 1901-11+ (age 49 in 1901Census)

ALLCHIN Eric Nelson to 28/July/1945 dec'd

SMITH Michael & NICHOLSON Margaret 1986-2008

STANWAY Malcolm & Tracey Aug/2009+


Kent and Sussex CourierKent and Sussex Courier

Maidstone and Kentish JournalMaidstone and Kentish Journal



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