Page Updated:- Friday, 28 July, 2023.


Earliest 1853-

(Name from)

Railway Hotel

Latest Jan 1944

(Name to)

Maidstone Road

Paddock Wood

Above postcard, date unknown.

Railway Hotel saloon bar 1947

Above photos showing the saloon bar 1947. Kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.


The train station at Paddock Wood opened on 31 August 1842 and also serves Brenchley which does not have a station of its own.

I have found reference to a "Railway Hotel" addressed as Paddock Wood in 1919, when it was announced in the Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser or Friday 27 June 1919, that a Mr. and Mrs. Gregory, who used to run the above named establishment had moved to the "Bull Hotel" in Tonbridge. Further research identifies this as early as 1853.

However, I have also seen this same premises addressed as being in Brenchley.

It is suggested and probably confirmed by the fact that John H Baldwin is licensee of both that this pub is in fact the same as the "Maidstone Road Inn."

In January 1944 the property was destroyed when a German Junkers 88 bomber was shot down and crashed in the area, causing a major explosion.

The pub was eventually rebuilt on the same site and reopened in 1955 this time under the name of the "Hop Pocket."


Southeastern Gazette, 18 January 1853.

Death my Drowning.

On Friday last, an inquest was held at the "Railway Inn," before W. T. Neve, Esq., deputy coroner, to enquire as to the death of Wm. Eagles.

Thomas Underwood deposed:— I am a porter at the Paddock Wood station. On Wednesday last, the 12th inst., about twenty minutes after eight o’clock in the evening, I went, as is my usual custom, to shut the gate that crosses the road leading to the station, when I heard a rustling in the hedge near the gate, and immediately afterwards a splash in the water. I ran to the spot and turned my light on, when I saw a man in the water; he cried loudly for help and tried to get out; the water is from 4 to 5 feet deep in a space from where the earth was excavated at the time the railway was laid down; at some places it is 3 or 4 feet, while at others it is 8, 9, and 10 feet deep. I called out for help, but before any one arrived he was drowned. In struggling he got further out in the water, and at the time I first saw him he was nearly a rod out in the water. It was a very dark night and the water was very rough. With assistance I got deceased out with ropes, and brought him to the stable of this inn. I knew him. He was married, and a very sober, steady man. He had been unwell with rheumatism, and was on our benefit club. The road to the station was not his way from this house to his home; he should have gone over the railway bridge on the other side of the water. Two persons have been drowned in the same place before. There was no other person with deceased. It was an hour and a half before we succeeded in getting him out of the water.

John Fairman deposed:— I am ostler at this inn, and have known the deceased as long as I can remember, he was in this house last Wednesday evening, at about seven o’clock. I asked him how he was; he replied he was bad with rheumatics, and was on the club, but excepting that, he was very well he said he didn’t dare drink beer, and asked me to get him 3d. of gin in a large glass, and to bring him some warm water; he drank that and had a pipe. He then had another glass of gin in warm water, and while he was drinking this I went out to the stable. In about a quarter of an hour I returned, when deceased had left the house. As I was returning I heard Underdown calling for help, and I went and assisted in getting him out. I was present when his pockets were searched. He had thirty sovereigns and some silver in two purses.

Geo. Ellis, of East Peckliam, deposed:— I know the deceased very intimately. Last Wednesday he came to my sister-in-law’s, in East Peckham, by her request, to receive some money, and she gave him 80 in gold to keep for her. She said she was very ill, and she wished him to have the money to pay her funeral expenses and to pay the doctor. I never heard the deceased threaten to make off with himself; he was a very steady, sober man, and not at all likely to commit suicide.

The jury, after consulting for some time, returned a verdict of "Accidentally drowned," at the same time recommending that as several persons had been drowned in this piece of water, the railway company be requested to put a more effectual fence around it, or adopt some other means of preventing a recurrence of such accidents in future.


Kent & Sussex Courier, Friday 3 October 1913.

Inquest Paddock Wood. Death in a train.

On Saturday evening last, at the Assembly Rooms, "Railway Hotel," Paddock Wood, Mr. Eric Clarke, Deputy Coroner, held an inquiry respecting the death of Matilda Raffe, who was found dead in the train at Paddock Wood station on Friday evening last. Mr. W. J. Kinnell was chosen Foreman of the Jury.

Henry James Raffe, 6, Salter Street, Limehouse, a dustman, in the employ of the Stepney Borough Council, identify deceased as his wife. She was about 53 years of age. He saw her last on Tuesday, the 16th inst., when she left London to go hop picking. She was quite well then, and had never had a doctor; she had never complained of illness, but occasionally suffered from shortness of breath.

Mary Townley, 5, Brook Street, Poplar, said deceased was her mother. Witnessed came down to Marden hopfields the Sunday after her mother, and they had since been living together, and working on Spitbrook Farm. Her mother appeared to be quite well until Wednesday last, when she said she did not feel very well. Her feet were swollen and witness advised not to go to work, and she did not go. On Thursday her breath was a bit short, and on Friday her legs were so weak that she could not stand. Deceased was conveyed in a cart from Spitbrook Farm to the Railway Station. Witness got her into the train and placed a bundle at the back of her head. About 10 minutes after deceased asked her to put a shawl at the back of her head, and she never spoke again. Witness called a porter on their arrival at Paddock Wood, as she thought her mother was in a fit.

Deceased ate very little since Wednesday, but she only complained of shortness of breath. On those days she did not work. On Wednesday she had a little brandy and milk. Witnessed did not call a doctor, as she did not think her mother was seriously ill, and deceased never asked to see a doctor.

In reply to the Forman, witness said they left Marden station between 4.50 and 5 p.m., and they were about 20 minutes get into Paddock Wood.

William James Gilbert, Hither Green, said he was a guard in the employ of the S.E. & C. Railway, and helped to load passengers at Marden. Seeing that this was not well, he assisted the daughter in making her comfortable. The train took 19 minutes to get from Marden to Paddock Wood. On arrival at Paddock Wood he found the
woman was dead. The daughter called witness as he passed down the train, who did not know what was really the matter; neither did he at the time.

Dr. Simpson, in general practice at Brenchley, said he was summoned to see the deceased in the absence of Dr. Sealey, who was away from home. Witness arrived about 6:50 p.m.. Death had taken place apparently 2 or 3 hours before. The body was that of a stout woman. Swollen legs were noticeable, but there was nothing noticeable outwardly to indicate anything beyond natural causes of death. In conjunction with Dr. Sealey they had made a post-mortem examination, and found the heart considerably enlarged and dilated, especially on the right side. There was an abnormal amount of fat on the surface of the heart, and a degenerative condition of the mitral valve, and to a certain extent of the aorta; the liver and kidneys were slightly enlarged, and the lungs congested. They came to the conclusion that deceased died from heart failure. The railway journey might have slightly affected her, but in any case death would most likely have taken place in a comparatively short time.

The jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."


From Barclay, Perkins' Anchor Magazine. Volume XX, No. 4 - October 1947.

The "Railway Hotel," Paddock Wood.

In these post-war days of shortages, restrictions and austerity, it is a tonic to meet Mr H L Blundell, of the "Railway Hotel," Paddock Wood, for he will soon convince you that "things can be done" and difficulties overcome if one possesses, as he does, boundless enthusiasm and the will to attain a seemingly unobtainable goal.

Serving as a Steward in the Royal Navy he was invalided out in 1930, then followed stewardship of the Knebworth Golf Club and the Bushey Hotel and Golf Club. During the War years he was engaged in essential work at Shorts Aircraft Works at Rochester. In March, 1945, he became tenant of the "Railway Hotel," which was then what might be described as an ordinary country "Pub" but the description was not to fit it for long.

Not content with the Saloon possessing no Bar, Mr Blundell at once proceeded to build one himself and with the aid of a few stalwart customers produced a modern bar in attractive red and gold, thus giving a much-needed addition to the room.

Adjoining the house was a disused British Restaurant and Mr Blundell now turned his energies in this direction. Although the House was doing catering on a very small scale, he visualised the day when the old Restaurant would become a smart Dining Room, catering for large numbers. This vision is now a reality: almost unrecognisable, the Restaurant has been transformed into an attractive and comfortable Dining Room, catering for an average of 100 diners a day. Catering for Masonic functions, wedding receptions etc is now a regular feature of the service of the "Railway Hotel" and has provided a long-needed facility for these affairs in Paddock Wood.

"Operation Garden" was the next major event and a large lawn very soon took the place of a maze of saplings and brambles. Furnished as it is now with rustic furniture and gay borders of flowers, it takes a well-merited place in the general scheme to put the "Railway Hotel" on the map. The large kitchen garden was meanwhile making the Dining Room self-supporting for vegetables and fruit.

The popularity of the "Railway Hotel" attracted the BBC to make recordings on two occasions during last season's hop-picking season, at which time Mr Blundell is called upon to dispense liquid and solid refreshment to hundreds of hop-pickers, a no mean task in these days of quotas and short supplies.

If you are in Paddock Wood at Christmas time, you are likely to hear a well-trained choir of voices rendering "Noel" or some other Christmas carol, this will be Mr Blundell and his customers singing once again on behalf of Kent's Blind. This entails rehearsals and much work but the reward of having created a record in subscribing 80 to this Charity by their efforts last Christmas was sufficient recompense for their vocal labour and they are looking forward to an even greater amount this year.

Mr Blundell has many more schemes in his fertile imagination and we can only say "good luck" to this enterprising and go ahead tenant.



BALDWIN J H 1890-91+ (age 33 in 1891Census) Maidstone and Kentish Journal

CHURCHILL Thomas Godwin 1911+ (age 28 in 1911Census)

GREGORY Mr & Mrs to 1919 Next pub licensee had Sevenoaks Chronicle

BLUNDELL H L Mr Mar/1945+


Sevenoaks ChronicleSevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser

Maidstone and Kentish JournalMaidstone and Kentish Journal


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