Sort file:- Herne, May, 2023.

Page Updated:- Tuesday, 09 May, 2023.


Earliest 1828-

Ship Hotel

Open 2023+

17 Central (Marine) Parade

Herne Bay

01227 366636

Ship 1896

Above photo, circa 1896, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Ship 1897

Above postcard, circa 1897, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Ship 1899

Above postcard, circa 1899, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Ship Hotel

Above postcard, date unknown, kindly sent by Mark Jennings.

Ship 1900

Above postcard circa 1900, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Ship Hotel 1900

Above postcard, circa 1900, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Ship 1902

Above postcard, circa 1902, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Ship Inn circa 1905

Above photo circa 1905.

Ship Hotel 1905

Above postcard 1905.

Shipm postcard 1906

Above postcard, 1906.

Ship Hotel

Above postcard, date unknown, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Ship Inn 1912

Above photo, date 1912.

Ship Hotel

Above photo, date unknown.

Ship Hotel 1913

Above postcard, 1913, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Ship 1921

Above postcard, 1921, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Ship 1922

Above postcard circa 1922, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Ship 1929

Above postcard, circa 1929, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Ship 1937

Above postcard, circa 1937, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Ship 1960

Above photo, circa 1960, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Ship 1962

Above photo 1962.

Ship 2015

Above photo 2015.

Ship 2021

Above photo 2021.

Ship sign 1991

Above sign, July 1991.

With thanks from Brian Curtis

Ship Hotel beermat

Above beer-mat kindly sent by Mike Lyon.


From the Kentish Chronicle, 31 March, 1860.


T. T. Delasaux, Esq., coroner held an inquest at the "Ship Inn," last week touching the death of a woman named Ann Fuller, aged 59, who, it was believed, had committed suicide by hanging herself. The following evidence was given:- Thomas Rogers, pork butcher, of Herne, deposed to going to the deceased’s house on the day in question, and finding it fastened. He, however, effected an entrance through the kitchen window, and in the passage found the deceased suspended by a piece of rope from two hooks, fastened to a beam. Witness at once cut her down, She was then quite dead, and appeared to have been so a day or two. He had frequently seen deceased, and he observed that she had been recently low and melancholy.

Elizabeth Greenland and Augustine Bird gave corroborative evidence, as to the deceased's state of mind, the former having seen her on the previous Sunday, and the latter at the post-office, on the following morning.

Verdict, "Temporary insanity."


From the Kentish Chronicle, 26 September, 1863.


At midnight on Saturday, a gentleman named Parker, who had been staying at the “Ship Hotel,” Herne Bay, was found dead on the highway in the parish of Seasalter. About three hours previous he had been seen by a coast guardsman walking on the beach towards the sea, and had been desired to go back. There were no marks of violence on the body, and valuable property was still in the pockets of the deceased.

On Tuesday an inquest was held on the body before T. T. Delasaux, Esq., when, after the examination of several witnesses, it was adjourned till Monday next, in order that in the meantime a post mortem examination might take place.


Kentish Chronicle Saturday 14th November 1863.

The ship Charles, belonging to this place, was on her passage up from the North, when she encountered the heavy gales. On Mouday, as the hands were reefing, a young man named George Hall, son of Mr. Hall, landlord of the "Ship Inn," Herne Bay, fell from the rigging, and was drowned. He was highly respected.


Victorian Ship snuff bos 1880

Above photo showing a snuff-box, circa 1880 probably given away to regulars, says Rory Kehoe who kindly supplied this.

From the Canterbury Journal, Kentish Times and Farmers' Gazette, Saturday 23 April 1892.

Albery, the dramatist, wrote his graceful comedy, "The Two Roses," at the "Ship Inn," Herne Bay, the quaint outside staircase of which old hostelry has attracted the attention of many an artist, as well as the low Gothic house close by, with its arched doorways. One of these has unfortunately been recently fitted with a modern door - all new varnish and brass furniture - which looks curiously out of place.


From the Whitstable Times, 28 July, 1900.


The East Kent Coroner (R. M. Mercer, Esq.) held an inquest at the "Ship" Herne Bay, on Saturday, on the body of Charles Edward Collins, aged 18, a plumber's assistant.

It appeared that deceased was bathing along the coast after seven o'clock in the evening, when a cane was thrown into the sea. Arthur Coppin, jun., who was also bathing, and the deceased both went for the cane and the latter got to it first, when he went under. He opened his mouth and the water ran in and he sank.

The jury returned a verdict of "Accidentally drowned whilst bathing."


From the Whitstable Times, 10 November, 1900.


The East Kent Coroner (R. M. Mercer, Esq.) held an inquest on Saturday, at the "Ship," Herne Bay, touching the death of John Daniels, a bricklayers labourer, living at 10, Salt's Lane, Herne Bay. It appeared that on November 2nd a Mrs. Peacock went to a house, 40, Douglas Road, which she had just had built, for the purpose of looking over it. On going into the scullery she found the deceased lying in the sink apparently dead. She called in assistance, and the police were sent for. There was no evidence as to how deceased got in the house. Dr. Senior made a post-mortem, and found deceased had been suffering from heart disease. The cause of death was (1) disease of the valves of the heart, (2) chronic Bright's disease. The jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.


From the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald. 2 February 1901. Price 1d.


The East Kent Coroner (Mr. B. M. Mercer) held an inquest on Monday last, at the “Ship Inn,” Herne Bay, on the body of David Bean, aged 52, an agricultural labourer, working for Mr. E. J. Pout, at Swalecliffe. It appeared that deceased was, on Saturday last, engaged in taking some straw from Swalecliffe to Canterbury, and on returning in the evening called at the “Share and Coulter Inn,” Herne, and had a pint of beer. He then lit the lamp and went off. He was perfectly sober.

George March, a labourer, living at Herne, was returning from work when he met two horses quietly dragging an empty waggon. He stopped them, and took them to a farm close by, and on going down the road found deceased lying on his back. He was unconscious. He obtained assistance and took deceased to the Cottage Hospital, Herne Bay, but on arrival Dr. Fenculhet, who was called, pronounced life extinct. He examined him and found his right arm and six or eight ribs broken, besides other injuries.

The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental Death.”


From the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald. 16 February 1901. Price 1d.


The East Kent Coroner (Mr. R. M. Mercer) held an inquest at the “Ship Inn,” Herne Bay, on Friday, touching the death of Thomas Garrett, master mariner, of Conahs Quay, Flint, aged 37.

It appeared that deceased was on the schooner Mary Elizabeth, of Chester, laying on the Garrison Point, outside Sheerness. Deceased was her master. Deceased was last seen alive about 7 or 7.30 on the evening of the 14th December, 1900, on board his ship. He was missed the next morning. As he had not gone ashore it was generally thought on board that he must have gone over the side. On Thursday, the 7th February, at 10 o'clock, Charles Mount, a mariner, of Herne Bay, found the body of deceased washed ashore at a spot about 1 miles from there in the parish of Reculvers.

The jury returned a verdict to the effect that deceased was found at Herne Bay washed up by the sea, but as to the cause of death there was not sufficient evidence to show.


Said to be Herne Bay's oldest pub and probably built in the mid 1600s.

It was supplied by Cobbs brewery of Margate in the 1800s.


From the By Ruth Cassidy, 14 March 2023.

Owners insist 'Herne Bay's oldest pub' the Ship Inn will reopen amid housing fears.

The owner of Herne Bay’s oldest pub is bidding to re-assure residents it will reopen - amid concerns it could be transformed into homes.

Punters were left surprised after the Ship Inn in Central Parade was suddenly shut at the beginning of the year.

A notice later appeared in the boozer’s window announcing owner Stonegate “entered the premises for the purposes of making them safe and not to bring the lease to an end”.

But with the recent demises of the "Plough Inn," "Bun Penny," "Queen Victoria" and "Rodney’s Sports Bar" fresh in their minds, activists joined forces to prevent the “iconic landmark” from being lost.

In a statement issued by the Save the Ship group, members explained: “Local pub users and town councillors have come together to protect the much-loved pub after it recently closed its doors.

“This historic tavern – the oldest in Herne Bay, dating back hundreds of years – is a popular and iconic landmark overlooking the beach.

“Residents fear the pub may suffer the same fate as other pubs in recent years, being converted into flats.”

Ship savers 2023

The Save the Ship campaign outside the Herne Bay pub.

The Save the Ship group is spearheaded by Conservative councillors Dan Watkins and David Thomas.

In December the business submitted a plan to refresh its exterior by installing 16 new signs along with decorative lighting.

The proposals were green-lit by the city council, just two days after the site was secured by Stonegate.

Responding to the concerns, Stonegate bosses insist they do not intend on keeping the premises locked to locals.

“We would like to reassure the Herne Bay community and Cllr Watkins that we will be reopening the pub as soon as possible,” a spokesman for the firm said.

“We are looking to invest in the external decorations, lighting and signage in the coming months to further enhance this property as we provide a pub the community can enjoy.”

Further along the seafront the plot that used to be home to the "Bun Penny" has been transformed into a block of flats.

The "Plough Inn" site in Margate Road has been turned into a five-property development, while the apartments at the "Queen Victoria" - which dates back to 1864 - are set to go on the market in May.

"Rodney’s Sports Bar" has remained closed since the start of the pandemic, as owners hope to turn it into homes.

It was put forward for inclusion in the city council’s next Local Plan, which will act as its house-building blueprint until 2040, last year.


From the By Chantal Weller, 8 April 2023.

Owners of Chestfield Barn in Whitstable take on Ship Inn in Herne Bay.

A husband and wife team have taken on their second pub and are aiming to put it "back on the map".

Alan and Michele Clarke have just taken over the Ship Inn on Herne Bay seafront after a campaign from residents to show how important it is and discourage it from being redeveloped into housing.

Alan and Michelle Clarke 2023

The husband and wife team also own "Chestfield Barn" in Whitstable. Picture: Alan Clarke.

The couple, who also own Chestfield Barn in Chestfield are hoping to open the Ship Inn later this month.

"The right pub in the right area is always key," Alan said.

"We were lucky enough to get the opportunity to go for Chestfield Barn and it is the same situation.

"After several conversations with Stonegate, the brewery, they asked us if we would like to take it on.

"It ticks lots of boxes for us."

Ship Hotel 2023

They say they are hoping to reopen the pub later this month. Picture: Alan Clarke.

The 47-year-old says he and his wife will be doing their best to put the pub back on the map "like we did at the Barn".

He said: "It is a real shame because about three or four years ago and it was receiving fantastic reviews on Tripadvisor so it is just a real shame.

"I was really surprised to see the amount of support the pub has on Facebook.

"There is a Ship Inn support club it seems.

"The locals love it so we are going to work really hard at getting it back open and on the map.

Chestfield Barn team 2023

A lot of the team from Chestfield Barn will also be working at the Ship Inn. Picture: Alan Clarke.

The couple has run Chestfield Barn for about six years and Alan believes "standards are key" to any pub's success.

"What we do in the Barn is what we are going to replicate at the Ship Inn. It is going to be the same standards.

"We are looking at a wine bar, gastro-style pub with decent ales, good quality beer and great food.

"It is good having Chestfield Barn because people know us."

The Ship Inn has been closed for just over a month and the new owners are hoping to reopen in April.

'For us, the biggest challenge is getting the Ship Inn open, giving it back to locals and putting it back on the map...'

Support for the waterfront boozer – which dates back in its current guise to the 1600s and is believed to be the town's oldest inn – was evident when residents and councillors came together to set up the Save the Ship campaign at the start of the year when the former landlords left.

The pub was a renowned smugglers' haunt and is thought to have stood there in some form since the late 14th century.

It is recorded as a rendezvous point for many heavily armed gangs preparing to fight for their illegally-gained wares of tobacco, lace, tea, gin and brandy among others.

Lights from vessels would twinkle across the bay reacting to signals coming from the beach.

The pub, which has in recent years been extended to include a terrace overlooking the sea, once also doubled up as a mortuary.

Alan added: "We are going to give it a real good going over inside as it is not in an amazing condition.

"The brewery has also given the go ahead for lots of work to be done outside including new signs and lighting.

"It is in such a bad condition that we are going to give it a spruce up outside as soon as we get the keys. We want to give it a bit of TLC.

"I think when you open the doors to an establishment like that, everyone will come in because they love it.

"Whatever we can go to it going forward will only help it."

Alan said the cost of living crisis has had a "massive knock-on effect" on their businesses.

"You have a couple of good weeks and you think you have earned a good couple of quid," he said.

"But your VAT is at 20% and your electricity bills are probably three times as much as they used to be.

"Unfortunately the brewery puts their beers up every year but everyone is in the same boat.

"Last year at the Barn we put a really big chunk of money into it and we were not expecting the cost of living to go through the roof but you have to invest in your businesses.

"For us, the biggest challenge is getting the Ship Inn open, giving it back to locals and putting it back on the map.

"We are not going to be here for five minutes, we are here for the long term so we have got to make it work."

"We are all in this to have a business but it is lovely to have a pub that is wanted by the community. It makes us all go the extra mile.

"We are always open to suggestions from the community.

"This pub is key to the area, I know the locals were worried about it being turned into a dwelling."


From the By Ruth Cassidy, 1 May 2023.

Order protecting The Ship Inn, Herne Bay from development granted.

A town’s oldest pub, which dates back to the 1600s, has been listed as a community asset to protect it from being developed.

The Ship Inn in Central Parade, Herne Bay, mysteriously shut at the beginning of the year, sparking fears among locals it would be transformed into flats.

Pub owners Stonegate quickly clarified the pub would be reopening, and earlier this month fulfilled their commitment when Chestfield Barn publicans, Alan and Michele Clarke, stepped in to run the boozer.

Now, a campaign set in motion by the Save the Ship group following the original closure has met its goal to have the historic tavern listed as an asset of community value.

This will make it more difficult for developers to change the venue's use or close its doors permanently in future.

While the risk to the heritage of The Ship Inn seems to have eased, the threat of redevelopment is very real, with the closures of several nearby establishments including the "Plough Inn," "Bun Penny," "Queen Victoria" and "Rodney’s Sports Bar" in recent years.

Responding to the protection order, the Clarkes said: “Everyone at The Ship Inn is thrilled with the news.

“As a community of staff and a family-led business, our main goal is that our customers feel part of our community too.

“This listing is recognition of that. We're so looking forward to welcoming more of the community and being at the heart of Herne Bay as we move forward.”

The Ship Inn officially reopened on April 12, with the venue’s first two weeks being met with a positive response from locals.

On Friday, the Clarkes plan to take the next step for the pub by reinstating its restaurant.

Following the success of his Save the Ship campaign, Cllr Dan Watkins said: “Ten years ago the government gave local communities the right to register community assets to give them additional planning protection.

“We have used the ACV status to retain other pubs in Herne Bay, and it's brilliant news that we have done the same for The Ship.

“The pub recently reopened and we wish the new publicans every success in returning The Ship to its former glory, safe in the knowledge that its community status has been recognised.”

The seafront site has a rich history, which likely helped it gain its new asset of community value status.

Once a renowned smugglers' haunt, the pub is thought to have stood there in some form since the late 14th century.

It is recorded as a rendezvous point for many heavily armed gangs preparing to fight for their illegally-gained wares of tobacco, lace, tea, gin and brandy among others.

Lights from vessels would twinkle across the bay reacting to signals coming from the beach.

The pub, which has in recent years been extended to include a terrace overlooking the sea, once also doubled up as a mortuary.

Further along the seafront, the plot that used to be home to the Bun Penny has been transformed into a block of flats and The Plough Inn site in Margate Road has been turned into a five-property development.

Following his involvement in the campaign, which will hopefully protect The Ship Inn from a similar fate, Cllr David Thomas said: “That we were quickly able to get several times the number of signatures from local residents to qualify for ACV status is testament to the Ship's popularity.

“I'm delighted that the council recognised the amazing history of this pub and the community it serves to help us keep it as a pub.”



NORRIS Thomas 1795-1839+ Pigot's Directory 1828-29Pigot's Directory 1832-34

TAYLOR William 1847+

HALL Charles 1855-74+

HALL Charles J 1881-82+ (age 37 in 1881Census)

FARROW Tony Dec/2011+

CLARKE Alan & Michele 2023+


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

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



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