Sort file:- Chatham, December, 2023.

Page Updated:- Wednesday, 13 December, 2023.


Earliest 1858-


Latest Dec 1909

157 High Street


Alma 2014

Above Google image showing the premises of 157 High Street, May 2014.


The 1858 directory stated that the premises also contained a Concert Hall.

The premises operated as a Beer House licensed to sell beer and cider on the premises in 1872 and was owned by Edward Winch.

The pub closed for service in December 1909 and has been retail since that date.


South Eastern Gazette, 14 February, 1860.


The cause list at the court held on Wednesday and Thursday last contained 1 referred cause, 2 adjourned

Park v. Harcus.

Mr. Stephenson appeared for the defendant. This was an action brought by the plaintiff, (a comic singer, who, with his wife, was engaged by the defendant, proprietor of the "Alma Tavern," High-street, Chatham, to sing in the concert-room at a salary of two guineas a-week), to recover the sum of 4 4s., for breach of engagement.

Plaintiff said after he had sang at the defendant’s house a short time, he told him they must "do some nigger business" [laughter], or he could not keep them. They refused to do this, and he could assure his Honour they had never blacked their faces in their lives [laughter].

Mr. Stephenson said the answer to the action was that plaintiff agreed to do the "nigger business," but afterwards refused.

The plaintiff put in one of the bills of performance, which the Judge read aloud, the contents being of a very amusing character.

His Honour (to plaintiff):- Did not inquire what kind of comic songs and duets you were to amuse the company with?


His Honour:- Was there anything said to you, on being engaged, as to the nature of the songs you were to sing?

Nothing of the kind. We never blacked our faces in our lives, and after we had been there three weeks plaintiff had the gas put out in the concerts room at six o’clock, but we still remained on the stage until eleven. He then offered us 14s. for two nights, and wished to break the engagement. As for the "nigger business" it was never mentioned.

His Honour:— It appears to me that it is a question whether, if you agree to sing comic songs, you can refuse to black your face. For instance, if an actor undertakes to perform a tragedy, can he thereby refuse to play Othello because he would have to black his face?

Mr. Stephenson:— We say they did not fulfil their engagement.

Defendant stated that it was perfectly true he had engaged plaintiff and his wife as stated. They were to do the "comic business." After they had been there a short time business was slack, on which plaintiff said if they would engage them for a fortnight more, they had something in preparation which was the most attractive thing ever seen, and would bring "all Chatham" to the house. They said it would be in the "nigger business," but he (defendant) said nothing whatever to them about blacking their faces. They afterwards refused to do the "nigger business," and therefore he refused to pay them.

His Honour said plaintiff was distinctly engaged to do the "nigger business," as it was called, and although he might not, perhaps, have been engaged to blacken his face, yet, as he before remarked, it was a question whether he would not have to sing comic songs with both a black and white face. Under those circumstances plaintiff would be non-suited.


South Eastern Gazette, 12 June, 1860.


THE "ALMA TAVERN" Ale and Stout House, situate in the best part of the High-street, Chatham, being near the Military-road, and about four minutes’ walk from the Chatham Railway Station. The bar has a plate glass front with two entrances, and is handsomely fitted up, and the house contains a bar parlour, back parlour, refreshment room upstairs 20ft. by 20ft., fitted with stuffed cushion seats, concert or ball room 40ft. by 20ft., four bed-rooms and large attic. There is a commodious dry skittle alley, with boarded floor, in the rear. Price moderate, the proprietor having taken a business in another line.

For further particulars apply to Mr. J. Harcus on the premises.


From the Whitstable Times, 3 September, 1870.


Early on Sunday morning a fire broke out on the premises of Mr. Tadman, landlord of the “Alma" beer-house, in High Street. Chatham. The fire was first discovered by P.C. Gates, 51 K.C.C.. who immediately aroused the inmates who escaped by his assistance with much difficulty, and were removed to Mr. Whalebone’s premises opposite, who, in the most generous manner, placed his house at the disposal of the burned out persons. The “Alma” with the adjoining shop, in the occupation of Mr. Sturla, butcher, were completely destroyed, and the house of Mr. Willis, fishmonger, also suffered considerably. The Volunteer Fire Brigade, under Capt. Barnard were very attentive to their duties, and by their judicious action prevented the fire spreading to the adjoining tenements. The whole of the property was insured. Mr. Couchman and Mr. Smith, whose premises adjoin, suffered considerably by the streams of water poured on the burning mass, and the contents of their houses were thereby much injured. The police (both county and from the dockyard), with the military, rendered every assistance, and the fire was subdued in time to prevent any obstruction to the thoroughfare.



HARCUS John 1858-60+ Next pub licensee had

TADMAN John 1870-73 Licensing Records 1872 (also hairdresser)

PIGGINS Samuel 1873-81

GLADISH Rigden 1881-82

GLADISH Emma 1882

TAYLOR William Edward 1882

WANSTALL James 1883-85

SMITH Edward Charles 1885-88

STUDD William Owen 1888-91

HAYWARD Alice Louisa 1891-1900

HOBART Charles Edwin 1900-02

BAKER Herbert Edward 1902-04

FITCH Edward 1904-06

CLARK William 1906-09


Licensing Records 1872Licensing Records 1872


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