Sort file:- Chatham, November, 2022.

Page Updated:- Thursday, 17 November, 2022.


Earliest 1770-

Golden Lion (Lyon)

Latest 1891+

7 Brook Street / Smithfield Bank



Wright's Topography of 1838 says the premises was situated on the Corner of Brook and Military Road.

In 1869-70 the pub was part of a consortium who were advertising their goods of selling tea in response to grocers' selling beer and wine. (Click for further details.)

The Licensing Records of 1872 stated the premises was operating a Full License and was owned by Edward Winch of Chatham.


Kentish Gazette 03 March 1770.

To be Sold by Auction, By John Hopkins.

By Order of the EXECUTRIX, the latter End of this Month, at the "Golden Lyon," near the Brook, at Chatham.

The following Estate, late the Property of Mr. Edward Wood, deceased, In Two Lots.

Lot 1. Consists of Seven New Brick Messuages or Tenements; one of which is that reputable and well-accustomed Public-house the "Golden Lyon" as above, and Six other adjoining, pleasantly situated on Smithfield Bank, near the Brook at Chatham, held by Lease from the Dean and Chapter of Rochester for a Term of Twenty-one Years, renewable every Seven Years at Ten Shillings per Annum, of which Lease Fourteen Years are unexpired at Lady-day, and Let to good Tenants, at Fifty Pounds per Year.

LOT 2. Consists of a Messuage or Tenement situate in that remarkable pleasant Spot, called St. Margaret's Bank, at Chatham, and commands a delightful Prospect of the River Medway, and the adjacent Villages. The said Messuage is held by Lease for 999 Years, at a Pepper-corn per Year, 800 Years and Upwards unexpired; it is in substantial Repair, and Let to a good Tenant at 3. per Annum.

The Time of Sale and when particulars may be had, will be made public in a short Time.


Kentish Gazette, 5 September 1820.


Last week on the Brook, Chatham, Mm. Bishop, wife of Mr. Bishop of the "Golden Lion."


Kentish Chronicle, 21 July, 1829.


July 12, on the brook, Chatham, Mr. Bishop, of the "Golden Lion."


From the Kentish Gazette, 8 August 1843.


July 25, at his residence, "Golden Lion Inn," Brook, Chatham, Mr. James Butcher, aged 77.


Kentish Gazette, 7 December 1847.


At the County Magistrates’ Office, Rochester, on Wednesday, the 24th ult. John Prophet and Peter Robinson, both privates belonging to the 63d Regiment, stationed at Chatham Barracks, were charged with stealing a 5 Bank of England note, from a box belonging to Lance-Sergeant John Prophey, of the same corps, which note had been entrusted to him by Lieut. L. V. Reynolds, the officer who commands his company, to pay the soldiers of the company with. The Sergeant said that at seven o'clock on Saturday evening the Bank-note was safe in his box which stood at the head of his cot in the Barrack-room; that at eight o’clock he went to the box to get his pay list out, and he then missed the little bag which contained the note. The two prisoners occupied quarters in the same room with him; and at half-past seven o’clock the prisoner Prophet asked him if he should make his bed down, which he allowed the prisoner to do. The box at that time stood with the lid up, and when he missed the money both prisoners were gone, and as they were absent at tattoo suspicion fell upon them that they had stolen it. He went in search of them; they were however taken by the picquets during the evening and lodged in the guard-house; and on searching the prisoner Prophet the bag that contained the 5 note was found in his trowsers pocket. Evidence was also given that the prisoners were together that night at the "White Hart" public-house, in the Brook, at Chatham, and there offered a 5 note in payment for some beer, but the landlady, Mrs. Chambers, could not give change, and she gave the note back again to one of the prisoners, who sent the waiter out to get change elsewhere, and the waiter procured five sovereigns from Mrs. Butcher, at the "Golden Lion Inn," as the waiter said for his master. The waiter did not return with the change, and he has not been seen since. Mrs. Butcher produced the 5 note, but the sergeant could not identify it as the one he had lost. The prisoner Prophet confessed to the robbery, and Robinson said he was led into the scrape. Both the prisoners were committed for trial at the Quarter Sessions at Maidstone.


Kentish Gazette, 15 January 1850.

Illustrated London News, Saturday 19 January 1850.


On Saturday evening last, an inquest was held at the "Golden Lion Inn," Chatham, before J. Hind, Esq., coroner for West Kent, touching the death of Ellen Bright, a young girl, aged 17 years, who was killed on the previous evening by a tiger, in the establishment of Mr. George Wombwell, which had arrived in that town for exhibition on the preceding day. The deceased, who was denominated "the Lion Queen" had the honour of performing before her Majesty some time since, at Windsor Castle; and, as will be seen from the evidence, was going through the usual evolutions with a lion and tiger at the time she met with her melancholy death.

Stephen King, the first witness examined, said he had been in the employ of Mr. Wombwell, as keeper, for the last six years. The deceased was a niece of Mr. Wombwell, and daughter of John Bright, a bugle-player in the band. It was the business of the deceased to go into the dens and perform with the beasts, which she had been in the habit of doing several times daily for the last twelve months. On Friday evening, shortly after nine o’clock, she went into the den in which a lion and tiger were kept, for the purpose of performing as usual—the tricks played by her being principally with the former animal. She had only been in two or three minutes, but had gone through the main part of the performance, excepting that of making the lion sit down in a particular part of the cage, when—the tiger being in her way—the deceased struck it lightly with a small whip which she carried in her hand. The beast growled, as if in anger, and, crouching close to the bottom of the den, stretched out its paw, as if at her leg or dress, causing the deceased to fall sideways against the cage; the animal at the same moment sprang at her, and, seizing her ferociously by the neck, inserted the teeth of the upper jaw in her chin, and, in closing his mouth, inflicted frightful injury in the throat with his fangs, he then appeared to change his position, making a second gripe across the throat of his victim. A keeper, who was standing on the step of the den, armed with a whip, immediately rushed to her assistance, but the animal did not loose its hold until struck over the nose violently with an iron bar; and whilst King held the tiger, the poor woman was removed from the cage, bleeding profusely, and life all but extinct. She was taken into one of the caravans, where she was immediately attended by two medical gentlemen, who happened to be present at the time of the occurrence.

By the Jury:- The animal had never exhibited symptoms of animosity before. All the animals appeared very fond of deceased, and she of them. Witness had frequently heard Mr. Wombwell say he wished there was no Lion Queen. Witness thought, if she had kept the whip from the animal, it would not have attacked her. Deceased had never exhibited any symptoms of fear, and had frequently gone into the den to the animals when there had been no company present, for practice and amusement. It had been said that, perhaps, it happened because the beasts had not been fed, and it was a few minutes past their time. In answer to that, witness could only say, he had frequently seen her go amongst the animals on a Monday, when they had not been fed on the previous day.

Richard Cooper Todd, surgeon, attached to the Royal Artillery, stationed in Brompton Barracks, said he was witnessing the exhibition at the time of the occurrence, and was standing quite close to the rope in front of the den. He saw the deceased enter, and on going in the tiger did not appear to be very friendly with her; she struck him on entering, and he lay down. She then proceeded to her performances with the lion, and afterwards turned round, and again struck the tiger. It appeared angry, and immediately seemed to turn upon the deceased, rearing upon his hind legs, and seizing her by the neck. She fell on her back, and the tiger crouched over her. He saw no more of her until removed from the den, when he hastened to her assistance. She was perfectly insensible, and had lost a great deal of blood, and her face and lips were very pale. She was still alive; the heart was beating; but she was perfectly unconscious. Witness placed his hand on the wound in the neck to stop the bleeding, and administered some brandy to deceased, but she was unable to swallow it, and in a very few minutes her heart ceased to beat. There were four wounds on the left side of the neck, a slight wound on the right leg, and another on the chin, caused by the teeth of the tiger, whose jaw had caused a very large wound under the chin, which, aided by the shock her system had sustained, produced death.

The Jury returned a verdict to the effect that deceased was killed by a male tiger whilst exhibiting in its den, and expressed a strong opinion against the practice of allowing persons to perform in a den with animals.

The occurrence excited very painful interest, and a great number of persons were present during the inquiry.

The alarm and confusion among the spectators at the moment of the frightful scene baffles description, most of those present pressing on each other in their efforts to escape. Fortunately, however, none were seriously injured.


Kentish Gazette, 15 January 1850.

JAN. 12. Dreadful Death or Miss Bright.

A most frightful and fatal occurrence took place last night in Wombwell’s Menagerie, which arrived at Chatham about two days ago, and now exhibiting at the east end of the Military Road. This was the second night of submitting to the public inspection his unrivalled collection. Shortly after nine o'clock the public were witnessing in the area of the building the various animals, when their attention was directed to the exciting scene of a young woman entering the den containing a lion and also a male tiger, and then commenced displaying her usual feats, thus showing the sovereignty and control exercised by her over these animals, in which it is said she far excelled Van Amburgh and she was designated the "Lion Queen." Both animals appeared to be perfectly mild, and she exercised her authority over them so effectively, that they rendered to her a willing obedience; when, in a moment, the tiger suddenly sprang forward and seized the lady (Miss Bright), by the throat, with such a degree of force that the teeth and claws of the animal rendered her a lifeless corpse in less than two minutes, although the assistants were without loss of time at the door, and forcibly dragged the unfortunate creature out of the den covered in of blood. The jugular vein is separated, and the neck is shockingly lacerated. The attack caused the greatest horror to all present. Some of the military medical gentlemen were present witnessing the animals, and they rendered every assistance. The deceased was about 19 years of age, and niece to Mr. Wombwell. The body was removed to the "Golden Lion," to await a coroner’s inquest, which was held this afternoon by J. Hinde, Esq., one of the coroners for the divisions of the county. The painful event has caused very great sensation.


South Eastern Gazette, Tuesday 23 October 1860.


On Wednesday last an inquest was held at the "Golden Lion," Brook, before T. Hills, Esq., coroner, on the body of an illegitimate child of a woman named Caroline Saunders, which was found dead under somewhat suspicious circumstances.

It appeared that the mother of the child resided in Fairrow, Chatham, and on the 25th of last month was delivered of a child in the house of her sister, a woman named Macdermot, there being no person in the room with her at the time.

On the sister going in she found the dead body of a newly-born child in a crock under the bed, the mother at the time being insensible. Mr. J. J. Ely, surgeon, was shortly afterwards called in to attend the mother, and made an examination of the child, which was a full grown and very healthy one. The cord was torn and separated, which was the cause of death. A careful examination of the body showed that there were no bruised or marks of violence upon it.

The jury returned an open verdict that the child was found dead, but how it came by its death there was no evidence to show.


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.



BISHOP John 1820-12/July/29 dec'd Pigot's Directory 1828-29

HUGHES Thomas 1832+ Pigot's Directory 1832-34

BUTCHER James 1838-July/25/43 dec'd age 77 Wright's Topography 1838

BUTCHER Mrs 1847+

MOSS George 1858-81+ (also solicitors managing clerk age 65 in 1881Census) Licensing Records 1872

DUDMAN William 1891+ (age 54 in 1891Census)


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

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

Wright's Topography 1838Wright's Topography 1838

Licensing Records 1872Licensing Records 1872



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