Page Updated Chilham:- Thursday, 04 April, 2024.


Earliest 1856-


Closed 1996

Ashford Road/Canterbury Road (Bagham Road 1871Census)


Alma 1954

Above photo circa 1954 kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Old Alma Hotel 2009 Old Alma Hotel 2009 Old Alma Hotel 2009

All pictures above taken from Google Maps, 2009.

Alma sign 1991Alma sign 1991

Alma sign left October 1991, sign right July 1991.

Above with thanks from Brian Curtis

Former Alma 2019

Above photo October 2019, kindly taken and sent by Rory Kehoe.


Situated just outside the railway station, I have found conflicting information regarding this house. One source states that it was built in 1854 as the Chatham Railway Hotel, and also says that it had substantial alterations during 1995 and is now the home of Paula and Eric Silbermayr. Another source states that the house was built in 1864 and is now being run as a bed and breakfast.

It was certainly open in 1858. I am informed that it finally closed about 1996, and is now (2015) a Bed and breakfast known as the "Old Alma Hotel."

A passage from the "North Downs Way, Lost Landscapes, heratage Trails" makes mention as follows:- "Jim Smith of Bagham Farm also remembers a thriving pub here called the "Alma" (now a private house). Although I have heard that it has been used as a tea room.

Further details hopefully to follow.


From the Kentish Express, 9 February, 1856.

Ashfotd Petty Sessions. Saturday, February 2nd.

Before J. B. Wildman. Esq (chairman) Sir N. Knatchball, H. W. Carter, E. K. Hugesson., H. B. Walker, G. E. Sayer, W. Burra, Esqs., and the Revs. J. Dufton and N. Toke.

John Giles was charged with stealing a quantity at linen, value 3, the property of Mr. Wildash, at Chilham, it being at that time, in the possession of Frederick Spinney, who said — On the 11th at January, I was taking the linen in question, which was house and body linen, from Mr. Wildash's to be washed. It was in a donkey cart, and I left the cart standing outside the "Alma;" I went in and got a pot of beer, and put it into a bottle. When I missed the clothes I came on towards Ashford and met the prisoner, who said he had met two men with a bundle like I had lost, going on towards Ashford. I however, could not overtake them, and I came back, and met the prisoner, who told me it was only one man he saw. I searched and found the bundle in a hedge. I then laid au beside it, and shortly afterward the prisoner came up and took the bundle, and then began to overhaul it. I then gave him into custody.

Goldup, the Chilham constable, and Allard the keeper of the "Alma" corroborated the above evidence.

The Chairman said that this was not the only case against the prisoner, and committed him to Maidstone for trial.


South Eastern Gazette, 25 December, 1860.

Petty Sessions, Tuesday. Before G. H. Sayer, Esq., and Captain Groves.


William Reynolds, a labourer, and Charloytte, his wife, at Godmersham, were charged with stealing a pair of leggings, the property of Mr. Pittock. The prosecutor who is son to Mr. Pittock, butcher, Eastry, on the 5th last went to the "Alma" public house at Chilham. with his brother, and stayed there all night, before going to bed he pulled off his leggings and put them in the parlour, and in the morning found the leggings had been stolen. No other person besides the prisoners having been in the room that evening, they were suspected, and P.C. Foreman, who lodges at the prisoners' house, found the leggings in their possession. The male prisoner, it appeared merely called for his wife on the evening in question, and did not stay in the room. He was, therefore, discharged, but his wife was committed for a month's hard labour.


South Eastern Gazette, 9 September, 1862.


This was the annual licensing day.

The following spirit licenses were granted to beer houses. For the "Black Dog," Wye, kept by William Haycock.

The "Locomotive," Beaver, kept by Edward Quested.

The "Old Flying Horse," kept by John Alan.

The "Foresters Arms," kept by Edward Marshall.

The "South Eastern Railway Tavern," kept by William Thursday.

The "Olive Branch," Westwell, kept by Thomas Highsted.

The "British Flag," on the old British school ground; prospect place, Ashford, kept by William James Terry.

The "Eight Bells," New Rents, Ashford, kept by Richard James.

The "Alma," Chilham, kept by William Miller.

Mr. Tassel, solicitor, supported the applications for the "Black Dog," the "Foresters Arms," the "British Flag," the "Olive Branch," and opposed those for the "Old Flying Horse" and the "Locomotive."

Mr. Carnell supported the applications on behalf of the "Locomotive," the "Old Flying Horse," the "South Eastern Tavern," and the "Eight Bells."

Mr. Fraser, Ashford, supported the application for the "Alma," Chillham.


From the Kentish Chronicle, Saturday, 17 September, 1859. Price 1d.


The whole of the licences in this division have been renewed by the Magistrates.

There were two applications for new licenses, namely by Mr. Wightwick, in behalf of Mr. Richardson, for the “Alma,” at Chilham, and by Mr. Delasaux, for a house at Kennington occupied by Mr. Cutbush. The magistrates decided to withhold the licence for the “Alma” until the house is put the unobjectionable distance from the railway which is contemplated in the proposed alteration. The other licenses were granted.


From the Kentish Chronicle, 29 September, 1860.


At the last licensing day, Mr. William Miller, landlord of the "Alma," at Chilham, attended at the Ashford sitting, in support of his application for a spirit license for his house, having done so unsuccessfully on several former occasions. He was informed that his application could not be entertained as it was not made upon one of the new forms. Mr. Miller considers himself hardly dealt with.


From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 16 February, 1872. Price 1d.

Charles Spanner was charged with stealing from the stables of Francis Packham, in Trevanion Street, on the 20th inst, a black coat; and also with stealing from the office adjoining the stables, a curb chain, and a pair of leather breeches, the property of the same gentleman.

Thomas Andrews said: I am Inspector of Police at Canterbury. Fro information I received I went to Chilham, and found the prisoner at the "Alma" public-house. Mr. Packham was with me, and he pointed out the prisoner to me. The curb-chain I produced was found on the prisoner, and identified by Mr. Packham as his property. Mr. Packham had lost a coat and a pair of breeches. I believe they have been sold by the prisoner.

Sergeant Stevens then asked for a remand in order that the stolen property might be found.

The Magistrates remanded the case till the following Monday.


Charles Spooner, a stableman who had been remanded from the previous Thursday, was again brought up in the custody of police-detective Hemmings, charged with stealing from the stables of Mr. Francis Packham, in Trevanion Street, on the 27th inst., a black coat, value 24s., an overcoat value 12s., the property of a groom in the employ of Mr. Packham; and also with stealing from the office adjoining the stable yard a curb-chain, a pair of hooks, and a pair of leather breeches, of the value of 10s. 6d., the property of Francis Packham.

The charges having been read to the prisoner, he was further charged with stealing from Mr. Packham's stable a comb and a pair of scissors.

Mr. Edwin Packham deposed: I carry on business at the Marine Livery Yard, Trevanion Street. The prisoner came into my employ on the 8th Jan. I employed him as a stableman. The pair of breeches, the curb-chain, and the two hooks are my father's property. I believe the comb and the pair of scissors produced belong to a groom, whose master's horse was put in our stables. The coat produced belongs to one of the men working in our yard. When I last saw the leather breeches, the curb chain, and the hooks, they were lying in the office adjoining the stable-yard. I missed them on Tuesday evening last. The prisoner received his wages on the evening of Saturday week; and he has not attended since. In consequence of something I heard, I went to Canterbury on Wednesday last. I gave information to the police as to the loss of the property. Inspector Andrews accompanied me to Chilham, where the prisoner was found, at the "Alma" public-house. Inspector Andrews' charged him with stealing the breeches, the curb-chain, and the hooks. The prisoner was taken to St. Augustine's, and on searching him there the curb-chain and hooks were found on him. The hooks are odd ones, and the property of my father. The leather breeches are also his property. The value of them altogether is 10s. 6d.

Thomas Godsmark deposed: I am a horse dealer and reside at Sturry. In consequence of something that had been told me, I went to the canteen at the Canterbury barracks. I there saw the prisoner. I told him I had heard that he was going to enlist, and had a pair of leather breeches to sell. He said he had, and he showed them me saying that he wanted 4s. for them. He was wearing them underneath a new pair of trousers. I offered the prisoner half-a-crown for them; but I finally gave him 3s. In consequence of something I heard after I had brought the breeches, I went to the police-station at Canterbury, and I told the police that I had brought the breeches off the prisoner. He told me before I brought them of him that the breeches were his property. I had sold the breeches to Mr. Wratham, of Broad Street, before I gave information to the police.

Thomas Andrews, Inspector of police at Canterbury deposed: In consequence of something Mr. Packham told me on Wednesday last, I immediately proceeded to Chilham, where I found the prisoner, sitting in the tap-room of a public-house, I told him he was charged with stealing a number of articles from Mr. Packham's stables at Dover. He made no reply. I took him to St. Augustine's, at Canterbury, and on his being searched, the curb-chain and hooks produced were found on him. I afterwards went to Mr. Wratham's in Broad Street, where the breeches were handed over to me.

The Bench determined, before proceeding further, to deal with the prisoner on the charge of stealing the leather breeches, the curb-chain, and the hooks, the property of Mr. Packham, and committed him to take his trial at the Spring Quarter Session on these charges.

The charge of stealing a black cloth coat, value 2s. and an overcoat value 12s. the property of James Lewis, a groom in the employ of Mr. Packham, on the 27th inst., was then read over to the prisoner, and the following evidence was given in support of it:-

James Lewis deposed: I am in the employ of Mr. Packham, and I reside in Townwall Street. The coat produced is my property. I last saw it on the 27th inst., hanging up in the harness room at Mr. Packham's stable yard. The prisoner came to me on that evening and wanted me to lend him the coat he now has on. I lent it to him, telling him not to keep me waiting long without it, as my other coat was wet. I did not lend him the black cloth coat produced; I only lent him the overcoat he is wearing now. I missed the black cloth coat on Sunday morning. The value of it is 2s. I intended the prisoner to return me the overcoat the same evening that I lent it him. He only borrowed it to go into the town. I did not think he intended to keep it for a week. I saw the prisoner in the town on the evening of the 27th ult. He was wearing my overcoat, which he now has on, at the time. He then told me he was going home. I did not see him after that evening until he was brought up here in custody last week. The prisoner did not say anything to me about the overcoat or the black cloth coat when I last saw him on the evening of the 27th ult., neither did he tell me that he intended leaving Mr. Packham's service. The value of the overcoat is 12s.

By the prisoner: I am certain I did not lend you the black cloth coat produced.

Thomas Andrews deposed: When I took the prisoner into custody, on Wednesday morning last, he was wearing the black coat produced, as well as the overcoat he now has on. The cloth coat was worn underneath the overcoat.

The prisoner, having been cautioned in the usual manner, said he did not take either of the coats with the intention of stealing them.

Major Crookes told the prisoner he would be committed to take his trial at the next Quarter Sessions on this charge also.

The charge of stealing the comb and the pair of scissors was not pressed against the prisoner, the owner not being present.


From the By Joe Wright, 6 July 2021.

Old Alma in Chilham, outside Canterbury, to be converted into flats after developers scrap demolition plans.

A historic former pub has been saved from demolition - but will still be converted into flats.

Developers had hoped to knock down the 19th century Old Alma in Chilham, near Canterbury, and build the new homes in its place.

But after ditching their original plans in the face of a public backlash, they have now been given the go-ahead to transform the building into flats.

Two more apartments will also be constructed on the site, with outbuildings making way.

The former pub, which stands facing the A28 and is driven past by thousands each day, was built in the mid-1800s.

It was turned into a B&B 25 years ago but business is now said to have dried up.

Owner Anthony McNamara, who took over the reins of the site in 2019, devised plans to flatten the Victorian inn and replace it with eight flats.

Proposals were submitted to Ashford Borough Council but withdrawn following objections from villagers wanting to protect the premises.

A revised scheme was then put forward at the end of last year after developers conceded they could not demolish the pub - which was originally built by the London, Chatham and Dover Railway company.

In submitting the second bid, planners said: "The existing Old Alma building has no architectural merit but, during the consultation period of the previous submission, it became apparent residents felt it had significant historical interest and should be retained."

While the decision to ditch the demolition plans was welcomed by Chilham parish council and other residents, objections were lodged against the scheme for being "completely out of place in the area".

But the council's planning department has rubber-stamped the proposals.

They said: "The Alma is not a listed building but is of historic interest in so far as its function on a historic routeway.

"The scheme would result in the demolition of some outbuildings and development within an area of archaeological interest. "Subject to conditions however, it is considered this would be acceptable and this view is in line with that of Kent County Council Heritage."

The nearby A28 and A252 junction is an accident blackspot, yet in making its decision on the project, the borough council said it will "not result in a significant impact on the local highway network".




ALLARD Daniel retailer of beer 1856-58+ Melville's 1858

MILLER William 1860-62+ Next pub licensee had (age 31 in 1861Census)

WILLS Rachel Catherine 1871-74+ (age 36 in 1871Census)

HOLMAN Thomas 1881-82+ (age 46 in 1881Census) Post Office Directory 1882

HILLS Frederick Thomas 1891+ (age 42 in 1891Census) Post Office Directory 1891

RAINS William 1901-30+ (age 32 in 1901Census) Post Office Directory 1903Post Office Directory 1903Kelly's 1903Post Office Directory 1922 (Son of Thomas from the "Honest Millar.")

PHILPOTT Cecil G 1938+ Post Office Directory 1938


Melville's 1858From Melville's Directory 1858

Post Office Directory 1882From the Post Office Directory 1882

Post Office Directory 1891From the Post Office Directory 1891

Post Office Directory 1903From the Post Office Directory 1903

Kelly's 1903From the Kelly's Directory 1903

Post Office Directory 1913From the Post Office Directory 1913

Post Office Directory 1922From the Post Office Directory 1922

Post Office Directory 1938From the Post Office Directory 1938



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