Sort file:- Brompton, July, 2021.

Page Updated:- Tuesday, 20 July, 2021.


Earliest 1703-

Golden Lion

Latest 2003

18 High Street

Old Brompton

Navy Arms 1916

Above photo, date 1916, from by Ben Levick.

Golden Lion 1954

Above photo 1954, from by Ben Levick.

Golden Lion

Photos taken circa 1978-79 from by Ben Levick.

Golden Lion 2010

Photos 6 June 2010 from by Ben Levick.

Golden Lion 2010

Above photo December 2010, from by Ben Levick.

Above photo 2011, from by Ben Levick. Who says:- "View looking north along Brompton High Street, towards the Royal Engineers' Barracks (the old gate can just be seen in the distance). This view clearly shows the "Navy Arms" (now long gone) and the "Golden Lion" (gone as a pub, but still there as a building). The tram tracks can be seen running along the High Street and down Westcourt Street.

Shops on west (left) side, left to right, George Buckley, bootmaker's shop (no.8), James Weatherley, oil and colour man's shop (no.10), "Navy Arms" public house (no.14), junction with Westcourt Street, "Golden Lion" public house and range of buildings to north and range of shops on east side. Street scene shows parked horse-drawn vehicles, pedestrians, carriageway, tram lines and shop awnings.

The picture can be dated to 1902 from the tram lines running down Westcourt Street. The tram service through Brompton only ran down Westcourt Street from June to about November 1902, the tram line being moved to Middle Street after a fatal accident at the bottom of Westcourt Street in October of that year.

Above photo 2011, from by Ben Levick. Who says:- "The "Navy Arms" and the building beyond it (Nos 14 & 16) are replaced by a more modern building, and the old buildings beyond the "Golden Lion" are all gone. There are no longer tram tracks and the gate into the barracks is gone."

Golden Lion 2011

Above sign 2011.


This is said to be one of Brompton's oldest pubs, it appears to have been founded in the about 1705.

William Palmer was the licensee in 1766-9. and after his death his widow took over. It was a commercial inn from which Palmer ran a transport service.

Until the growth of New Brompton in the mid-19th century the "Golden Lion" was very important to the festivities of Hogh Constable's Day, the day traditionally starting there with breakfast, and ending there with a Public Dinner.

Used by the Conservative Working Men's Club until they opened their own club opposite in 1925, and by the Ancient Order of Foresters' Robin Hood Court.

In the late 20th century many locals referred to it as "The Beast," it closed down c.2003


Brompton map 1866

Above map of 1866 showing the "Golden Lion," "Two Sawyers" and "Bricklayer's Arms."


Brompton map

Above map, date unknown, showing the following pub locations:-

1:- "King’s Arms"

2:- "Army and Navy"

3:- "Royal Marine"

4:- "King’s Head"

5:- "Grasshopper"

6:- "Dockyard Arms"

7:- "Dolphin"

8:- "Two Sawyers"

9:- "Bricklayer's Arms"

A:- "Golden Lion"

B:- "Navy Arms"

C:- "Prince of Wales"

D:- "Good Intent"

E:- "Duke of York"

F:- "Shipwright's Arms"

Kentish Gazette - Saturday 29 June 1776.


On THURSDAY, the 4th Day of July, 1776, at the "Golden Lion," in Brompton, near Chatham, between the Hours of Four and Five o'Clock in the Afternoon precisely.

ALL those four Freehold Messuages or Tenements, with the several Yards and Gardens thereto belonging, with their Appurtenances, the one of them the "Green Dragon," and the others close adjoining; situate in Gillingham in the County of Kent; and now in the several Occupations William Newnham, John Simson, James Basset, and Bennet Davis, under several reserved Rents, amounting to 16l. 5s. a Year.

For further Particulars enquire of Mr. DIXON, or Mr. HICK, in Rochester.


From the Kentish Gazette, 3 October 1843.


CHATHAM. Sept. 26.

An inquest was held this morning at the "Golden Lion Inn," Brompton, before Mr. J. Hinde, coroner, on the body of Corporal Henry Donelly, of the 58th Regiment, who was shot dead by a soldier of the same corps, on Saturday afternoon, the 23rd inst. The inquest room was crowded with civilians and military. The jury having been sworn, repaired to K house, 5 room, in the Artillery barracks, and took a view of the body; it was lying on a bed, and presented a most awful spectacle, being covered with gore; the right eye being forced out of the socket by the force of the ball, which appeared to have entered under the left ear. The body was dressed in regimentals. On the return of the jury to the jury-room, the colonel of the regiment, Lieut. Colonel Wynyard, with Major Bridge, Captain Nugent, and Lieutenant and Adjutant M'Lorie, were present to watch the proceedings, also Dr. Chisholm R.E. The prisoner was brought into the inquest-room by an escort under the charge of the Serjeant Major, and placed before the Court.

The first witness examined was Thomas M’Connell; he said:— "I am a private in the 58th Regiment of Foot, stationed at Brompton Barracks. I was in the barrack-room No. 5, on Saturday afternoon, the 23rd instant, when about 20 minutes past 3 o'clock. Corporal Donelly came in and sat down at the table and began to eat his dinner; Corporal Henry Lowrie came into the room at the time and said, "Donelly, well you are returned." The deceased replied, "I am my boy, and I am for Dublin tomorrow morning." Corporal Lowrie made some reply which I did not hear. Corporal Lowrie walked up betwixt the bed of the deceased and Private David Burridge’s bed, and took hold of a firelock which was resting against the wall of the room; the fire-lock belonged to a recruit. Lowrie cocked the piece and put it up to his shoulder and fired it; the gun he pointed towards the deceased, who fell with his head on the plate that he was eating from; the bullet entered the head and came out at one of the eyes and was lying on the cloth of the table after he discharge of the musket, which had a percussion-lock. There were several other firelocks in the room. It is a common practice with the men, when non-commissioned officers are absent, to snap caps off, although there is a positive order against it. The deceased and Lowrie were generally on good terms together, and I never heard of their having at any time had a quarrel. Corporal Lowrie was not quartered in the same room with the deceased. As soon as the corporal was shot, I ran out of the room frightened, and culled out "Murder" and, seeing Major Bridge, I told him what had occurred. In about 10 minutes I returned to my room. The deceased placed his musket in the place that Lowrie took it from. It is not usual for firelocks to be brought into the mess-room loaded; it is contrary to general orders. The deceased knew his gun was loaded, as he had just come off duty from an escort, entering the back way instead of the front, as he ought to have done, and reported himself to his superior officer, or to the officer on guard; if the deceased had done so, the charge of the piece would have been drawn."

Francis Gallagar, private of the 38th Regiment, sworn:— The deceased (Corporal Donelly) went with me in the morning of Saturday last as an escort to Maidstone Gaol, for the purpose of bringing a prisoner to the barracks. The deceased with myself arrived at head quartets at a quarter past three o'clock, having first delivered the prisoner over to the main guard at Chatham barracks. The deceased and myself belong to the 5th room. We both entered by the back way, being the nearest. The deceased and myself were both sober. The charge of my gun was not drawn, as the deceased would not give me time to do it, and I took it into my room with me, which was contrary to general orders. The first thing we did on entering our room was to take off our accoutrements. The deceased put his firelock down by the side of the door-post, on the right hand side, and I put my fire-lock down against the window; there were several other firelocks in the room at the time out of the arm rack. The prisoner came into the room, and spoke to me for throwing about my bed on the floor. The prisoner afterwards went towards the door, and said to the deceased, "Where have you been?" The deceased answered him by saying, to "Maidstone, for a prisoner from gaol, and I'm off for Dublin to-morrow morning." The prisoner said. "Ah, it is you that has the luck, and not me.'' The prisoner then took up the firelock that stood behind the door, saying, "I have a great mind to shoot you, Donelly;" and putting the musket up to his right shoulder in the usual way, and pointed it towards the deceased, who was sitting at his dinner, instantly discharged it. The head of the deceased immediately fell on the plate. I directly went to the deceased, who, on lifting up his head, in a faint voice said, "I am dead;" and died instantly. The prisoner Lowrie after he fired the gun lowered the piece, and said, "Dear me, I did not think it was loaded," and appeared much affected, staggering against the wall of the room. I thought he would have fainted. The prisoner is a good natured man, and was on good terms with the deceased. It is against the regulations of the service for firelocks to be loaded in the soldiers' rooms. It is a custom with the young soldiers to snap off the caps with their muskets at candles when the non commissioned officers are not present. I firmly believe the prisoner did not know the musket was loaded when he took it up. The prisoner, ever since I have known him, has conducted himself in a quiet and friendly manner with his comrades.

By a Juror:— It is not usual for caps to be on the firelocks when not loaded; a cap might remain on if a man, on drawing the charge, forgot to take it off. I knew the deceased's firelock was loaded, but the instant the prisoner took up the gun he fired it off. There was not time for me to speak out.

The prisoner, notwithstanding he was cautioned by the coroner, said that the witness had said that he took the firelock from behind the door, which was not the truth; when he look up the gun he saw a cap on it, but he did not think it was loaded when he presented it.
The Jury found that the deceased was accidentally shot by the prisoner, who did not know that the gun was loaded; and they added that due caution had not been taken by the proper authorities on the arrival of the escort.

The Coroner trusted that the present inquiry would act as a warning to the prisoner for the remainder of his life; and also that all soldiers would take warning and not play with the firearms entrusted to their care.

The prisoner, who was much affected during the four hours’ inquiry, was released from custody.

The deceased had been four years in the regiment, and was 22 years of age.


From the Kentish Gazette, 21 April 1846.

April 18th. An Alleged Murder of a Wife by her Husband.

A coroner’s inquisition has been sitting at the "Golden Lion Inn," Brompton, for two days, on the body of Mrs. Ann Allpress, a married woman, and whose death, it is alleged, has been caused by her husband, William Allpress, alias Butcher. The jury first assembled on Tuesday, the 14th instant, when the evidence was sufficient to warrant an adjournment to Friday the 17th; and the coroner, J. Hinde, Esq., ordered Tyler, the policeman, to take the husband of the deceased into custody, and keep him confined until the jury assembled again. The inquisition was resumed at ten o'clock on Friday morning, and owing to the number of witnesses, the Court was occupied nine hours. It appeared that the deceased and her husband lived in Broad-alley, Brompton; that about twelve o’clock on Saturday night the 4th instant, the deceased went to the "Dolphin" Public-house, a short distance from her home, to fetch her husband, who was in the tap-room drinking; the room was full of men and women; the husband refused to go home, and drove the deceased out of the tap-room, giving her several blows, and kicking her; that on the deceased’s arrival at her lodgings she was insensible, and appeared as if she was tipsy, and with the assistance of the landlady’s daughter the deceased was put to bed. The husband of the deceased came home shortly after, and the inmates were roused by the deceased’s running from the room covered with blood. She died in the landlady’s bed in a few hours.

A verdict of Manslaughter was returned, and the prisoner, who is 28 years of age, was committed to Maidstone gaol for trial. Deceased was a native of Chatteris, Cambridgeshire, and the prisoner of Warwick.


From the Chatham and Rochester News, 12th July, 1902.




One of the most disastrous fires that has taken place at Old Brompton for years past occurred in the early hours of Wednesday morning last, by which the "Two Sawyers Hotel" was totally destroyed by fire, while surrounding property had a very narrow escape of being involved.

The outbreak was discovered at about half-past two by the police, who lost no time in raising an alarm. The police were ably assisted by Corpl. Jones, R. E., Mr. Baldwin (newsagent), Mr. B. Burrell, and others in taking the information to Admiral-Superintendent Holland and to the Royal Engineer Barracks, while Mr. A. E. Farrow cycled to the Waterworks. There was a quick response from the barracks, Colonel M. H. Purcell, R.E. (Assistant Commandant), Lieut.-Colonel J. A. Ferrier, D.S.O., R.E. (Commanding the Training Battalion), Captain H. W. Weekes, and other officers, were present to direct the military. There was an alarming and regrettable delay in securing a source of water – more than an hour elapsed before the water was turned on, and by that time the hotel was a mass of flames. Rarely, indeed, has there been a local fire attended by such enormous flames and such intense heat.

While waiting for the water to be turned on the brigades were not idle, the Chatham and Gillingham Brigades, the Royal Engineers, several representatives of the Royal Marines, the Dockyard Police (in charge of their Superintendent), and the men of the Kent County Constabulary (in charge of Inspector Foreman), all working well, but their efforts were practically useless. Water had to be got from the Royal Engineer Barracks and from the reservoir at the top of Barrack-hill, but proved such a lingering and laborious process as to be of very little value. Twenty buckets of water, if procured at the discovery of the outbreak, would have readily extinguished the fire, but although a collection of the precious liquid was made in the High-street, the total secured did not amount to the quantity named.

When the water arrived the brigades devoted their whole energy to saving adjoining property, realising that it was hopeless to try and save the hotel, which was now a roaring mass of flame. Fortunately there was very little breeze, or the consequences must have been very serious. As it was, people in the High-street were quite prepared to see the fire spread much more than it did, and many of the residents in adjoining houses were preparing to save their valuables. The alarm was given sufficiently early for the adults to hurriedly dress, but the children had to be removed in their night clothes.

The "Two Sawyers" is completely gutted, only an engine house at the back of the premises remaining. The Gordon Coffee Palace, kept by Mr. Partridge, which adjoins the hotel, is almost a wreck, the bedroom furniture and bedding being suspended in mid-air, only being kept from collapse by the charred and rotten timber. On the other side the premises occupied by Messrs. Robins and Day, cycle agents, is much damaged by fire and water; the premises of Messrs. Sutton and Co., outfitters have been damaged by water, and the roof has also been damaged, while the roof of some outhouses of Mr. Pullen, grocer, is crushed in, where the firemen were at work. On the opposite side of the road unmistakable proof of the great heat is provided by the blistered paint and broken windows of the various business establishments. Mr. J. Brooke, grocer and provision merchant, is perhaps the greatest sufferer. The front of his premises is much scorched and blistered, the plate glass broken, and the stock in the window damaged. Mrs. Canning, hairdresser, also had the plate glass of her shop smashed. Mr. G. Burrell, of the "Red Lion," at the corner of Westcourt-street, also experienced considerable anxiety owing to the fact that a large amount of wood is included in the structure of his house. The windows here were broken and the woodwork much scorched. Mr. A. E. Farrow, chemist, also had his windows broken, and much damage was done to the whole business front. Indeed, when the fire was at its height, so intense was the height that is was thought that the whole of the houses on the opposite side – most of which are very old, and largely composed of wood – would be involved.

The whole of the plate glass of the various business establishments named broke at one time, with a terrible noise, following an explosion at the "Two Sawyers" – said by some to be an explosion of gas, and by others the explosion of a barrel of proof spirits.

Fortunately for the poor people living in the cottages in the court at the back of the "Two Sawyers" the fire did not extend in that direction. An aged couple, named Barrington, and a Mrs. Keefe and her family, who reside in the two cottages named Sawyer's Cottages, adjoining the hotel, had, however, to clear out all their belongings, and the dawn of Wednesday found the homeless families bivouacking at the top of Manor-street.

During the progress of the fire Brompton High-street was thronged with a dense crowd of many hundreds, even at the early hour of three a.m., and the whole town was a scene of commotion and excitement. The police, in charge of Inspector Foreman, worked exceedingly well in keeping the onlookers away from danger. There was a very strong force present, for in addition to the inspector there were present Inspector Hoare, Sergeants Townshend, Tilley, Reader, Police-constables Nash, Clout, Langridge, Masters, Hoare, H. Wood, Piddock, Atkins, and Moon.

In course of conversation with our representative Mr. S. R. Sutton, who was one of the first on the scene, remarked, I was aroused by hearing the smashing of glass, and on looking out of the window I saw that Police-sergeant Tilley was breaking one of the glass panels of the door of the "Two Sawyers." He told me to dress immediately. I did so, and on going into the street I saw Mr. Brooke and Mr. Burrell, who were raising an alarm of fire. I took a police whistle and went to the Royal Engineer gate and aroused the fire brigade. When I was first around the flame I saw in the saloon bar was not larger than a foot square. When the brigade came they fixed their hose and stood in readiness for over an hour, waiting for the water to come. By the time the water arrived the place was enveloped in flames.

The Gillingham Fire Brigade was in charge of Lieut. G. H. Peddle.

On Wednesday evening the Brigade was again called up at about nine o'clock, when it was discovered that a fire had broken out in the cellar of the premises of Messrs. Sutton and Co. Mr. and Mrs. Sutton had to remove their children for safety to Mr. Pye's, in Westcourt-street. The fire was got under again in about two hours. A large crowd assembled, and the tram traffic had to be temporarily suspended. The Brigade on Wednesday was in charge of Foreman H. W. Bines.

Owing to the fire, the trams were unable to run for several hours on Wednesday morning, the heat having damaged the apparatus at the corner of Westcourt-street.

The origin of the fire is shrouded in mystery, The damage, in each instance, is covered by insurance.

The "Two Sawyers" belongs to Mr. W. J. Palmer, of Sheerness, the leases being Messrs. Frederick Leney and Sons, Limited. The occupier, Mr. H. Gaunt, was on the point of relinquishing the tenancy.


East Kent Gazette, Friday 26 July 1957.

Publican’s car ride cost him 80. INVOLVED IN TWO ACCIDENTS.

A BROMPTON publican, who was involved in two accidents between Rainham and Gillingham within a few minutes of each other on 20 May, was fined a total of 61 with 19 7s. 9d costs, by Chatham magistrates on Wednesday last week.

He was 65-year-old Beunos Ayres, of the "Golden Lion," public house, High Street, Brompton, and he was convicted on two summonses alleging careless driving and was disqualified from driving until he passed a driving test.

He was fined 20 for driving without due care and attention at High Street, Rainham, at about 3.20 p.m. on 20 May; 5 for failing to report an accident; 5 for failing to stop after an accident and 1 for failing to notify the change of ownership of a motor vehicle, and ordered to pay 15 11s. 9d. costs.

He was also fined 20 for careless driving at Watling Street, Gillingham, at about 3.25 p.m. on the same day; 5 for failing to report an accident and 5 for failing to stop after an accident, with 3 10s. costs.

Outlining the cause for the prosecution in the first case, in which Ayres pleaded not guilty to careless driving and to failing to report or stop after the accident, and guilty to the notification of ownership offence. Mr. John Newey said the summonses arose out of an accident at Rainham High Street.

A Mr. White had parked his car on the near side of the road facing towards Gillingham. Another car, driven by Ayres, came from the direction of Sittingbourne and struck White's car a glancing blow as it passed.

Ayres did not stop, not did he report the accident. The parked car had damage to its off side mudguard and door.

Evidence in support of Mr. Newey's opening statement was given by Peter White, of Palmerston Road, Chatham: Mrs. Dorothy Sutton, of Weston Road, Strood; Mark Henry Shepherd, of Beatty Avenue, Gillingham; Gerald Field Marshall, of Stanton Road, Wigmore; Frank Horace Fuller, of Coronation Crescent, Margate; and P.C. Arthur Brayley.

Remembered slight accident.

P.C. Brayley said he saw Ayres in Brompton High Street on 4 June and Ayres made a statement to him. In it he said he remembered being involved in a slight accident soon after leaving Key Street.

Evidence was also given by Anthony John Jenkins, of the motor vehicle registration department of Kent County Council.

In evidence Ayres, who was defended by Mr. David Knight said he had been driving for 16 years without an accident or conviction. he had no recollection of hitting a car in Rainham High Street.

Some weeks before the accident he had had a nervous breakdown, but felt all right on the day of the accident. He was practically a teetollar and had not had anything intoxicating to drink that day.

Ayres pleaded guilty to all three summonses relating to the second accident.

Mr. Newey said it occurred some minutes after the first one, at the junction of Watling Street and Eastcourt Lane. In passing a vehicle in front of him. Ayres crossed the white line and was involved in a slight collision with a car going towards Sittingbourne.

He did not stop, nor did he report the accident to the police.

For Ayres, Mr. Knight said it was clear he thought there was room for him top pass the vehicle in front of him when there was not. When he realised his error it was too late.


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.



PALMER William 1766-69

PALMER Mrs (wife) 1769+

PALMER Susannah 1828-32+ Pigot's Directory 1828-29Pigot's Directory 1832-34

KENNETT William Gilbert 1840-48+

DEATH William Richard 1855+

TAYLOR Henry 1858-61+ (age 30 in 1861Census)

WRAITH Charles Albert 1872+

TOWN Henry Town 1874-82 (also Job & Postmaster age 55 in 1881Census)

BURRELL George Alfred 1891-1913+ (also Hair Dresser at High Street age 26 in 1891Census) Kelly's 1903

BURRELL Mercy Mary Ann 1911-22  (also Hair Dresser & Draper at 3 High Street widow age 45 in 1911Census)

BOORMAN Arthur 1930-38+

AYRES Beunos 1957+


Pigot's Directory 1828-29From the Pigot's Directory 1828-29

Pigot's Directory 1832-34From the Pigot's Directory 1832-33-34


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:-