Page Updated:- Tuesday, 29 November, 2022.


Earliest 1766-

Old Tigers Head

Open 2019+

351 High Road


020 3489 8701

Old Tiger's Head

Above photo, date unknown.

Old Tiger's Head

Above photo, date unknown.

Old Tiger's Head 2008

Above photo, 2008.

Old Tiger's head 2015

Above Google image, June 2015.

Old Tiger's Head 2018

Above photo, 2018.


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.)


It is thought that the original "Old Tiger’s Head" was built on the site that currently occupied by the "New Tiger’s Head." The original pub is thought to have been built before 1730. It was rebuilt on its present site, the north-west quadrant, in 1750-1770 and then rebuilt (in its third incarnation) in 1896 - the date carried on its frontage and it becomes an important mail and coaching inn.

In the early 19th Century boxing matches take place at the "Old Tiger’s Head." Horse racing and (human) foot racing take place in the 1840s but the police put a stop to these events, probably under pressure from respectable local citizens.

In the south-west quadrant the "Prince Arthur" pub is built at 422 Lee High Road in 1870 (closed 2005) It was originally one of a row of early 19C cottages of which three - nos 424-428 - survive behind modern shop fronts.

In 1898 No 345 Lee High Road is built in front of former "Old Tiger’s Head" stables.


Canterbury Weekly, 29 July, 1837.

The inquest.

An inquest was held on Wednesday, at the "Tigers Head," Lee, before Mr. Carttar, the Coroner for the district. The following is the only part of the evidence which contains anything of additional interest.

John Chamberlain, shepherd to Mr. Richard Norman, of Burnt Ash farm in the parish of Lee, said that on Monday last, about a quarter past 9 o'clock, he saw a balloon and something hanging from it, which presently fell. At first it came down like thunder, that is with respect to the noise; it frighten all the sheep. It appeared to come down in a lump together, and he thought it turned over and came down on the slant. By the time it reached the ground he had got over the hedge, so that he could see it full. The basket, or car, touch the ground first, and the other part of the parachute fell partly upon it. The machinery was broken to pieces, and covered a large space of ground. The deceased was in the basket up to his chest, with his head of course out; he was lying on his back, and the basket appeared to protect the body from any weight. He could not say whether the basket came down on the edge, or the bottom, he ran and lifted up the parachute but on see the deceased there he became frightened and let it down upon him again. He heard a grown when he first went up to him. The deceased did not move his eyes or any part of his body; his wig lay at a short distance from his head. There was no hat. Soon after this, Mr. Norman came up, and he informed that gentleman that there was a man underneath. His master (Mr. Norman) presently directed him to get two hurdles, which he did. He should say that 2 or 3 minutes elapsed between the time the parachute left the balloon and when it touched the ground. A great many persons quickly came up.

By the Jury:- Heard no expression made by the deceased. The parachute was a great height when it left the balloon, which went out of site instantly.

Thomas Grisdall, servant to Mr. Norman, was going to Lee when he saw the parachute falling. The parachute appeared to turn over and over, and there was a great cracking issued from it. It came down in a lump altogether. He assisted in taking the deceased out of the basket, to do which they were obliged to unloose various ropes and some pullies. The deceased groaned, and breathed for about two minutes after he got up to him. There was no rope attached to the body that he noticed. He was insensible, and his master said he was dead, and was about to bleed him, when a surgeon came up and endeavour to do so, but without effect. He, in the end, cut him in the temple, from which gash a few drops of blood flowed. He heard no noise, except that which was occasioned by the fall of the machine. The parachute was extended at first, but when the cracking took place it closed, and then it came down more rapidly. The deceased had both eyes open, but they did not move.
Mr. F. C. Finch, surgeon of Greenwich, stated that while waiting for his father, his attention was directed to the balloon at a distance of half a mile. He saw the parachute detached and fall to the ground, where he thought he and his father arrived about 2 minutes after the descent. He ran up to the man, who was on the ground with his coat taken off, and a gentleman was in the act of bleeding him. He himself then attempted to bleed the deceased, but could not, the vein was not sufficiently tumid. He however cut the arm, but no blood flowed and less it worth about half a drop. He next places hand over the region of the heart, but life was extinct. In consequence of not being able to find blood in the arm, and being anxious if possible to do so, he's separated the arterial branches of the temporal artery over the eye, but with little or no effect. He then made an incision in the neck with a view of bleeding the deceased in the jugular vein, but from the peculiar formation of the neck, and the position of the arteries, that he discovered to be impossible. He did this more for the purpose of satisfying the deceased's friends and the public than with an expectation of restoring life. He was perfectly convinced that life had fled. When he first saw the parachute it was descending very steadily, but it presently began to change its position, and assumed that of an oyster shell diving through the water. It was coming down in a shelving manner, and made several gyrations, and then appeared to collapse, the circumference having giving way. He should say that it turned over. He should think that the balloon, at the time of the detachment, was about a mile and a half high. The air appeared to afford resistance to the car in which the deceased was than to the margin of the parachute itself. A very few seconds had elapsed from the time it was detached before it collapsed. It appeared, on an examination of the car, that the deceased pitched on his feet. The deceased had a wound on the right eyebrow of about one inch in length; but that wound did not occasion death. The wounds might have been caused by the machine falling upon him. Nearly all the ribs were either fractured or displaced. The sternum seemed to have been broken and fractured the ribs. He should say this was done by the weight of the deceased, the body doubling over the car. The right collar bone was also broken, and there seemed to be something the matter with one of the legs, but that he had been informed was an old complaint. The cause of death he should say was the internal injuries to the chest, and the general shock to the nervous system. He had no doubt that there was lacerations in the interior. The injuries were received when he reached the ground. Indeed, he did did not see what was to kill him before. His moral life might have been gone, but not his physical life. They knew causes on a railroad where there were an enormous speed without loss of life. The railroad at Manchester, for instance. There it had been no uncommon thing for persons to travel at the rate of 60 mph without loss of life. Now according to the statements, it was clear that the deceased descended only at the rate of 30, and therefore it must be perfectly apparent that the velocity of the journey could not have caused death.

By the Jury:- Was of opinion that the velocity with which the deceased came down could not kill him. It had been stopped in the same ratio as that with which he was descending, he had no doubt of the deceased's coming down with safety.

Mr. Finch senior and Mr. Price, two medical mean, corroborated the whole of this statement, and the former added, that when his son was cutting for the vein, the deceased gave a gasp. The ribs were crushed and probably the brain had sustained an injury, but the fact could not be ascertained without a post-mortem examination.

Mr. Green was examined; but there was nothing in his evidence beyond what is contained in the preceding account by him. Previous to be examined, the Coroner observed, that as it was impossible to foretell what turn the investigation might take with respect to the extent the jury might conceive him to have been implicated in being accessory to the cause of death of the deceased, he felt himself bound to caution him in regard to answering any questions which might be put to him. Under the circumstances he was at perfect liberty to decline replying to any interrogatories which were submitted.

In the course of his evidence, he said, "neither he nor Mr. Spencer (the gentleman who accompanied him in the balloon) had assisted in any way to detach the parachute from the balloon; that was alone the work of Mr. Cocking. In fact, no amount of money could have induced him to release or cast off the parachute.

At 11 o'clock at night, the Coroner adjourned the further hearing until Friday (yesterday,) when Mr. Green and Mr. Guy was requested to bring down various models to which reference has been made.


Canterbury Weekly, 5 August, 1837.

The fatal Parachute Descent.

Adjourned inquest.

Friday morning, at 9 o'clock, the coroners inquest resumed their enquiry into the causes which led to the melancholy death of the late Mr. Robert Cocking.

The Coroner, having intimated to the jury that since the last meeting a post-mortem examination had been made, at the request of the relatives of the deceased, on the body, called Mr. F. C. Finch, who said that he in company with four other surgeons, had examined the body of the deceased. The following is the post-mortem examination.

On the right side the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th ribs broken near the junction, with their cartilages. The 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 6th broken also near the junction with the vertebrae. The 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 6th ribs also broken at their greatest convexity.

On the left side. The 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 6th ribs broken near their cartilages, and also near their angles.

The clavicle on the right side fractured at the junction of the external with the middle Third.

The second lumbar vertebrae fractured through its body; the transverse processes of several of the lumbar vertebrae broken.

Comminute fracture and separations of the bones of the pelvis at the sacro-illiac symphyses.

The ossa nasi fractured.

The right ankle dislocated inward; the astrangelus and os calcia fractured.

The viscera of the head, chest and abdomen free from any morbid appearance.

F. C. Finch, G. Machwain, W. Maughan, T. Greenwood, W. Thomas. Surgeons.

Mr. Finch:- The other surgeons with himself agreed on opinion as to the cause of the deceased death namely, the injuries he received in the concussion by the fall of the Earth. He had no doubt but that the spinal marrow was likewise very greatly damaged. He also was of opinion, from the nature of some of the injuries, that the deceased had fallen on his feet. In addition to the ribs mentioned as having been broken there was another, the 11th rib on the left side, which by some mistake had been left out of the paper he had just read. The hip joint appeared not to have suffered any injury. In all concussion of this kind the spine was usually affected. The brain, one examination, proved not been not to have suffered in any respect. When he saw the parachute in the air his impression was that it turned over; it might, however, be an optical illusion, and at the best it was but an opinion.

The examination of the other witnesses, Mr. Gye, Professor Airy, Mr. Minck Mason, &c., was then proceeded with.

The Coroner having summed up, the jury retired, and after an absence of three quarters of an hour, returned with a verdict to the following effect:- We find that the deceased, Robert Cocking, came to his death casually and by misfortune, in consequence of severe injuries received by a fall out of a parachute of his own invention and contrivance, which had been appended to a balloon; and we further find that the parachute did move to his death, and therefore that such parachute or to become a deodand, and forfeited to the Queen.

The announcement of the verdict was received with marks of approval.

The Coroner, in the name of the jury, tendered their thanks and strong approval of the conduct of Messrs. Gye, Green and Finch, and also to Professor Airy, and the other scientific gentleman who have favoured them with their valuable assistance.

The Coroner then in the most powerful language depreciated the conduct of the landlord in having exhibited the body of the deceased and the parachute to the public.


Bell's Life in London and Sporting Chronicle, Sunday 7 February 1841.

Gazley, we are informed, won his mach of 17 miles in two hours, on Monday last, at the "Tiger's Head," Lee. Gazley wishes to inform Cook, of Greenwich, that he is prepared to make a match to run six miles for 10 or 25. The money will be ready at Mr. Plummer's, the "Horse and Groom," Blackheath Hill, on Wednesday next.


From a book written in 1882:

The present Tiger's Head inn (in 1882) was built by one Roger Roberts, on a lease of ninety years, from 1766, granted by Lord Sondes.

The Tiger's Head, was the first stage out of London and was a favourite resort and house of call.

The pub was famous for its bowling green, and for providing entertainment for companies from London, after the cricket matches on the green.

The large open space in front of the Tiger’s Head was often the scene of processions and meetings and in the early part of the present century (19th), a great deal of drinking and licentiousness was carried on at the various roadside inns near London, especially if there were any open spaces nearby.

Horse races were also held at the rear of the Tigers Head and attended by many of the lower classes from London. There were many accidents at these races, to both to man and horse. One year a Greenwich pensioner was killed on the course, near the grand stand, at the back of the Tiger's Head garden, and this event put an end to them being again held there.


From between 10 August 2015 and 17 December 2018, part of the premises operated under the name of "McLoughlin's Bar," having an Irish theme and its own entrance in Lee Road.



SEARS Thomas 1840+

HAMMOND William 1852+

MORTON Caroline Mrs 1855-58+

OVENDEN Thomas Aug/1866-74+

PORTER Walter 1881+ (age 27 in 1881Census)


HAYES William 1891+

DEDMAN William Dedman 1891+ (also wine & spirit merchant age 49 in 1891Census)

HASSALL Robert 1896+

FROST George 1901+

CARPENTER George 1905+

HIRST J F to Sept/1906 Kentish Independent

GLANZER Henry August Sept/1906-19+ Kentish Independent

COLLINS William C 1944+



Kentish IndependentKentish Independent


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