Page Updated:- Wednesday, 29 November, 2023.


Earliest 1754-

Royal Oak

Closed 20 Sept 2015

53 Cooling Road, Bill Street



Royal Oak

Above photo, date unknown.

Royal Oak 1930

Above photo, 1930.

Royal Oak 2013

Above photo 2013 by Chris Whippet Creative Commons Licence.


From a review by Steve C June 2011:- "The "Royal Oak" is a long and thin pub with a quiet bar on the left hand side and a public bar with a pool table, dartboard and TV on the right. Adnams Bitter and Explorer were the two ale options alongside some standard draught from which I had a decent Guinness that was served by a nice enough guy behind the bar. There is some café style seating covered by an awning with views of the car park to the left of the pub. I didn't see any food advertised and a sign in the window says ‘no children'.

I thought that this pub was pleasant enough and it was nice to find a toilet complete with seat, lock on door, toilet paper and soap. I'm not sure that I would go out of my way to visit again though.

This pub is currently available to let so hopefully someone will take over the lease before it shuts."

Although still operating in 2014 I have heard that although campaigners tried to save the pub from closure it closed for good on 20 September 2015 to a developer who wished to demolish the pub and replace it with a new build of six terraced houses. In 2017 developers had been granted planning permission to turn it into a four bedroom house.


Maidstone Journal December 1858.

John Charlton of the Royal Oak, Bill street, Frindsbury fined 20 shillings including cost for keeping beer house open during prohibited hours.


South Eastern Gazette, 3 January, 1860.

Suicide in a well.

On Monday last and inquest was held by T. Hills, Esq., coroner, at the "Royal Oak," Findsbury, on the body of George Phillips, age 55, who committed suicide by throwing himself down a well.

A witnessed named Haldaway stated that he had known the deceased about 17 years, and until within a short time before his death he had been in the employee of Mr. Woodham's. On the previous Saturday witness asked deceased to take some evergreens to Brompton Barracks, which he promised to do, but falling to keep his engagement witnessed made some inquiries for him, but he could nowhere be found. After some time the well was searched, when the lifeless body of deceased was discovered at the bottom of it, lying head downwards. William Roberts deposed that on the day of the occurrence he saw the deceased drawing water at the well; he appeared to be in exceedingly low spirits, and in illusion to his being discharged from Mr. Woodham;s service deceased remarked, "This is a bad job; I think I shall destroy myself." He appeared to be very desponding; witness afterwards left him and did not see him alive again.

The jury immediately returned a verdict that the deceased destroyed himself in a fit of temporary insanity. He is stated to have left a widow and a very numerous family.


Maidstone Journal June 1872.

Thomas Chalkin, landlord of the "Royal Oak," Frindsbury, fined 20 shillings & 9 shillings cost for keeping beer house open during prohibited hours.


Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser, Thursday 28 November 1895.

A Publicans Sad Death.

On Tuesday afternoon William Sayer, landlord of the "Royal Oak" beerhouse, Bill-street, Frindsbury, met with a shocking death while it work in Mr. Horsenail's brickfield, at Bill-street. He was digging chalk from a pit when several foot of earth fell from the top and buried him, killing him instantly. Several men at once set to work to recover the body, but three quarters of an hour had elapsed before they came across the poor fellow, lifeless and in a stooping position, with terrible wounds about his head. The body, after being examined by a doctor, was removed to his home close by. Sayer leaves a widow and two young children.


From the By Clare Freeman, 21 August 2016.

"Trafalgar Maid," Warner Street, Chatham could be demolished and flats built in its place.

Another Medway pub could be demolished and apartments built in its place, as the demand for housing land intensifies.

Plans have been submitted to develop the site of the Trafalgar Maid in Warner Street, Chatham which has been closed for several years.

The applicant intends to knock down the former pub and build one one-bed and five two-bed flats in its place. The new building will be the same size as the existing one.

There will also be undercroft parking and two visitor spaces next to the property, which will see the footpath reduced to a width of 2m and a street lamp relocated.

It is the latest in a series of applications which have seen pubs across the Town replaced with housing.

Campaigners recently saved the "Royal Oak" in Frindsbury from the bulldozers after developers wanted to demolish the 17th century pub and replace it with homes.

Royal Oak saved

Campaigners celebrate after saving The Royal Oak, Frindsbury.

Spearheaded by Strood resident Joe O’Donnell, the campaign led to the pub in Cooling Road has now been given Grade II listed status and been listed as an asset of community value.

Over the years, applications have been submitted to convert many former pubs across the Towns into housing including the "Green Dragon" in Church Street, Gillingham; the "Horseshoe" in Cuxton Road, Strood; The "Brickmakers Arms" in Wyles Street, Gillingham; The "Three Gardeners" in North Street, Strood; "Tug and Shovel" on the corner of Gun Lane and North Street, Strood; The "Alma" in Knight Road, Strood; the "Countryman" in Saunders Street, Gillingham; The "Black Lion" in Mill Road, Gillingham; the "North Foreland" in Rochester High Street and the "Woodsman," Yarrow Road, Walderslade.

Medway needs to find enough land for 30,000 new homes over the next 20 years and the council are under huge pressure to find sites.

The issue came to light earlier this summer, when Dave Harris, the head of planning, told a planning committee that the council are “nowhere near a five year housing land supply”.

He said it was more like a two year supply, adding that some greenfield sites will have to be released.

A public inquiry into plans to build 5,000 homes at Lodge Hill is still yet to start despite council planners approving it almost two years ago.



HUBBARD Nicholas 1754-57

READY David 1758-59

READY Sarah 1760-62

FAIRWAY Thomas 1765-68

BOWMAN John 1770

BOWMAN James 1771-74

KING James 1775

COLEMAN Friend 1776

TOMLIN James 1778-80

SUMMERS William 1781

TODD William 1783

BARTON John 1785

HILLS Robert 1787

WELLS Saul 1855

CHARLTON Joseph 1858-62 (also market gardener labourer age 42 in 1861Census)

CHARLTON Rachel (widow) 1864+

SMITH William 1865+

BALLARD Samuel 1866-69

CHALKEN Thomas 1869-72+ (listed as Engineer age 33 in 1871Census)

EVANS Valentine 1874+

RUSSELL Abraham 1881+ (age 40 in 1881Census)

SAYER William to Nov/1895 dec'd

Last pub licensee had EVENDEN John Stainchill ?1891?-1925 dec'd (widow age 61 in 1911Census) Kelly's 1903

WALTER George 1930+

WARD Thomas Harold 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:-