Sort file:- Canterbury, May, 2021.

Page Updated:- Tuesday, 25 May, 2021.


Earliest 1769-

Red Pump

Latest 1851+

Palace Street


Red Pump 2017

Rory Kehoe says the following:- Picture of the "Red Pump." For years (30+) I've thought 27, Palace Street/corner of Orange St as the site of the "Red Pump." In part, this is due to the old red pump attached to the wall above the door, as well as info from pub goers gleaned in the late 1970s/early 80s. 100% correct? Dunno but worth sticking the pic/comment up on the site, just to see if anyone can prove otherwise!


I also have reference to a "Red Pump" situated in Dover, but on neither occasion can I tie any of them up to a public or beer-house at present.

The research continues, as I have no idea why they were given this name.


From Kentish Gazette 09 August 1769.


To be sold cheap, A very genteel Glass Coach, fit for Town or Country, together with a Pair of Harnesses.

Also a genteel Single horse Italian Chair, very little used, and a good Harness.

To be seen at Mr. Smith's, Coach-Maker, near the "Red Pump," in Canterbury.


Kentish Gazette. Friday 05 October 1787.

Soap Warehouse.

High Street, near the "Red Pump," Canterbury.

William Ansell returns thanks to his customers and the public, and takes the liberty to re-establish of the favours to the above Warehouse, he has now undertaken on his own account, where all attempt will be sold upon the same terms as before.

If supplied with any quantity of the same terms.


Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal, Friday 18 April 1794.

Selling off, under prime cost,

A large part of the stock in trade of Keen and Son, "Red Pump," Canterbury, consisting of linen, drapery, as Irishes of all sorts, sheetings, downlass and other shirtings; a large assortment of printed cottons, shawls, handkerchiefs, muslins, dimites, muslinets, checks, &c.

Stuffs and Hosiery.

Quilted coats, stays, gowns, cloaks, and bonnets; woollen clothes, coatings, Manchester goods, waistcoat pieces, flannel, baize, and linsey.


A very large assortment of mens and boys coats, furtouts, waistcoats, breeches, and hats. Children suits and dresses. Black lace, edging, gloves and ribbons.

G. Keen. Sen., after the disposal of the above stock, intends leaving the business to his sons, G. and W. Keen, at the same time he acknowledges the repeated obligations for many years of all his customers, which demands his grateful return of thanks to each individual, and further begs leave to solicit a continuance therefore to his sons, whose (he hopes) steady attention to business, their customers interests, their capability of purchasing goods equal to any, and buy a low fair profit, fixed at a word, will be a means of continuing to engage the public favour to them.

Clothes made to order as usual.


Red Pump Well, Canterbury.

The name "Red Well" or "Red Pump Well" has been around for a long time, and there's a local story that it sometimes produced red coloured water. This was conveniently linked to the martyrdom of Thomas A'Becket but as the area is well-known for its chalybeate springs I suggest that the latter explanation might be closer to the truth.

A very informative website contains a number of useful references:
"...and in April, 1870, a well, no doubt the "Old Red Pump Well," was discovered in the middle of Palace Street, opposite Mr. Mummery's. It was 4 feet wide, and compactly made of flint work - a very ancient well."

"The Rush Market, where rushes were sold, was held at the Red Well; a red pump as a sign on a house in Palace Street still indicates the locality. The demand for rushes arose from the almost universal practice of strewing them upon the floors of houses before the use of carpets became general."

The Kentish Gazette 13-17 Aug 1790 advertises "W. Ansell, Canterbury - Wholesale and retail business, soap, candles, grocer etc. Warehouse near the Red Pump, Palace Street."

"1838 Mrs. Mary Keen, The Red Pump, Tailor & Clothier, 27 Palace Street."

The 1851 census lists: 27, Palace St (Red Pump) - Jack Holloway - Leather Seller/Foreman (employing 1 boy).


From the above I don't think this was a pub, but just the name of a house.





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