29 Snargate Street and Northampton Street
Photo by kind permission of Dover Library. ILL/759. Date unknown.
In 1839, J. Dickenson opened a gothic fronted house on
this site in order to retail coffee, spice and cigars. I do not know how
long he reigned but he stated at the time that he did not intend to sell
goods at tremendous sacrifice, or greatly below prime cost, or twenty five
per cent cheaper than any other house in the trade.
From the Dover Telegraph and Cinque Ports General
Advertiser, Saturday 18 May, 1839. Price 5d
GOTHIC TEA SHOP
J Dickson begs to inform his Friends in Dover, and the Public, that
he has opened that Gothic-fronted House, 29, Snargate Street, as a TEA,
COFFEE, SPICE, and CIGAR SHOP, and hopes by his mode of doing business
to obtain a share of public favour.
J. D. does not pretend to sell Goods at "Tremendous Sacrifices," or
"Greatly below Prime Cost," or "25 per Cent. Cheaper than any other
House in the Trade," - neither does he intend to cope with that class of
Tradesman who compete with each other, who can produce the worst
Article, (for the lowest priced means nothing else); but hopes by
selling a good Article at a fair price, and for a moderate profit, to
secure and retain the approbation of hose who may be kind enough to give
him a trial.
The Stock of CIGARS will be found extensive and curious, and worthy
the attention of those who indulge in those narcotic luxuries.
29, Snargate Street, April 19, 1839.
From the Dover Telegraph and Cinque Ports General
Advertiser, Saturday 24 August, 1839.
On Wednesday, some person entered the shop of Mr. Dickson, at the
"Gothic Tea Shop," and took away the contents of the till, amounting
upwards of four pounds. Other depredations have also taken place during
Originally just a tea shop but became a fully licensed house of George Beer and Rigden, open in
1868 when I suggest it would have belonged to Kingsford.
From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer,
11 September, 1868.
THE ANNUAL LICENSING DAY
THE GOTHIC INN
In the case of the "Gothic Inn," Snargate Street, there had been a
conviction against the landlord of the "Star," and the Magistrates
administered a similar admonition.
From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday,
15 May, 1868.
INFRINGEMENT OF LICENSE.
John Foord, the keeper of the "Gothic Inn," Snargate Street, pleaded
guilty to having his house open at half-past eight last Sunday morning,
contrary to the statute.
Police-sergeant Stevens proved the facts, from which it appeared the
landlord was not up at the time, and his barmaid, who did not know much
about the business, served beer at the time the front was being cleaned.
Fined 10s, and 9s. 6d. costs.
From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 16
INFRINGEMENT OF PUBLIC HOUSE LICENSES
John Ford, the landlord of the "Gothic Inn," Snargate, was charged
with having his house open contrary to the statute on Sunday last.
It appeared from the statement of police-sergeant Barton that he
visited the defendant's house at twenty minutes to nine o'clock on
Sunday morning, accompanied by another constable , and found two men
drinking at the bar.
The defendant did not deny the offence, but pleaded in extenuation
that one of the men he had served had been looking after his horses and
needed refreshment and that the other was a sailor under orders to go to
sea, who had asked to be supplied with some beer and a biscuit and
cheese as he (the defendant) was sweeping out his bar, with the door
This being defendant's second offence, the magistrates fined the
defendant 10s. and 9s. 6d. costs, which he paid.
From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer,
21 April, 1870.
John Foord, landlord of the "Gothic Arms," was fined 10s. 6d. and
10s. 6d. costs, for having his house open on Sunday morning, contrary
to the terms of his license.
From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 16 September, 1870. Price 1d.
THE ANNUAL LICENSING DAY
The Borough Magistrates held their annual licensing meeting on Monday
last at the Sessions House. The Magistrates on the bench were E. F.
Astley (in the Chair), J. F. Crookes, T. E. Back, C. Stein, J. G.
Churchward, J. G. Smith, and W. R. Mowll Esqs. Most of the licenses were
renewed pro forma. The exceptional cases were the following.
THE GOTHIC INN
In the case of John Ford, the landlord of the “Gothic Inn,” it appeared
that he had during the year been three times convicted of keeping his
house open on Sunday, and there was some question therefore whether his
licence should be removed.
Mr. Fox, who appeared on Foord’s behalf, could only admit the force of
the objection, but promised for applicant, that nothing of the kind
should occur again. He also presented a testimonial, very well signed,
in Foord’s favour, and said he hoped, under these circumstances that the
Magistrates would not think it imperative to withhold the licence.
The Magistrates said there had been great irregularity in the conduct of
the house since the last licensing meeting, and they had determined not
to renew the licence.
Mr. Clara who appeared on behalf of the owners of the house, Messrs.
Kingsford, hoped the Bench would so far review their decision as to
adjourn the case to Broadstairs, in order to give the owners the
opportunity of providing themselves with a new tenant. The effect of
withholding the licence unconditionally would be to close the house, and
they would not only punish the landlord, but inflict considerable loss
on Messrs. Kingsford, who had gone to great expense in fitting the house
The Magistrates said they saw no reason whatsoever for altering their
decision. Owners of public houses were in some measure responsible for
the kind of tenants they procured, and if they permitted a tenant to
remain in occupation of a house after repeated infringements of the law,
they must expect to share the consequences when application was made for
the renewal of the licence.
Apparently it was closed prior to Mr. Allen of the "Three King's," Union
Street's application due to the way the previous tenant had conducted the
house, after his public house was bought by the Harbour Board in 1871 for
demolition. Eventually he was granted permission to have his license
transferred, but not after the original decision not to allow the transfer
by the Broadstairs licensing meeting was overturned.
From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 24 January, 1902. Price 1d.
John Richardson, a seaman on the schooner Standard, was charged with
stealing from the bar of the “Gothic Inn” in a bottle of whisky, value
1s. 6d., and about 12s. in money from the till.
Arthur Roberts, landlord of the “Gothic” public house, Snargate Street,
said the house runs through on to the quay in Northampton Street, and
there is a bar on each side. On the evening of the 21st, about twenty
minutes to eleven, he went through into the Northampton Street bar,
which was usually closed after working hours. He found the door leading
into Northampton Street open. His impression was that it had been
carelessly left undone. On looking in the bar witness found the till had
been cleared, and a bottle of whisky also taken. There were several
other bottles, which had been emptied. The till was usually emptied, but
it had not been done that night. A barmaid attended to the bar that
evening, witness having been out from eight to ten. Previous to his
going out the bar in Northampton Street was closed.
The Magistrates remarked they thought it was a bad plan to have two
entrances to a public house. Police were in at one and out of the other
Witness continuing said: The whisky was in a pint bottle in a shelf, and
the bottle produced I believe to be the same. It was about half full,
and the value of the contents was about 1s. 6d. From something I heard
the next day from Mr. Dixon, landlord of the “Barley Mow,” I
communicated with the Police. Last night a Constable and Mr. Dixon came
to my house, and as they went out they arrested prisoner.
Mary Hooker, in the employ of the last witness, said: The night before
last I was in charge of the Northampton Street bar. It was closed at
half-past seven. I left 12s. 6d. in the till. In saw the prisoner in the
Northampton Street bar on Wednesday morning and also on Tuesday morning.
Mrs. Mary Dixon, landlady of the “Barley Mow,” said on Tuesday evening
about 10.20 the prisoner came into the house with another young man.
They had some drink and stood treat to two soldiers. The prisoner’s
companion then produced the spirit bottle (produced), and put some of it
into the beer and porter. They then gave the soldiers the bottle, and
told them to take it. They had some lemonade, and put the rest of the
whisky into it. Neither the prisoner nor his companion had any of it.
The Mayor remarked that there appeared to have been a queer mixture of
whisky, lemonade, porter and beer. (Laughter.)
Witness, continuing, said that when the bottle was emptied it was stood
on the counter, and witness took it. The men also treated some Norwegian
sailors to some stout. They spent about 2s. 6d. The prisoner had six
lemonades. Next morning she heard that some money and a bottle of whisky
had been stolen from the “Gothic,” and her husband informed the landlord
of that house and showed him the bottle.
Police Constable Roberts said about eleven o’clock last night, from
information I received from the prosecutor, I went to the “Barley Mow,”
public-house and saw Mr. Dixon. He accompanied me to the “Gothic,” in
Northampton Street, and whilst there the prisoner, who was drunk, went
by. He was pointed out by Mr. Dixon as the man who had the whisky and
spent money freely in his house the previous night. I stopped him, and
asked him where he got the bottle of whisky from which he had on Tuesday
night. He said he never had any. He was then given into custody by Mr.
Roberts. He made no answer to the charge.
The prisoner, who pleaded not guilty, said that he went to the circus on
Monday night. He had half a sovereign that evening from the skipper. He
never went to the “Gothic.” He did not have any whisky, and the other
man who had it at the “Barley Mow” was not his companion.
Thomas Newton, captain of the Standard, brigantine, lying in the
harbour, said the prisoner was one of his crew. The prisoner was a
Whitby man, and of excellent character. He gave the prisoner half a
sovereign on Tuesday afternoon.
The Magistrates dismissed the case.
From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 14 February, 1902. Price 1d.
A BONAFIDE VICTUALLER
Arthur John Roberts, licensed victualler, was summoned for keeping open
the “Gothic Inn” during prohibited hours for sale on intoxicating liquor
to persons not being bonafide travellers of lodgers.
For the defendant, Mr. Rutley Mowll attended, and entered a plea of Not
Mr. Vernon Knocker, who appeared for the prosecution, remarked that
although it was not a very strong case the authorities were bound to
He called, Police Constable Roberts, who stated that at midnight on
Sunday, the 26th ult., he was passing the Northampton Street entrance to
the “Gothic Inn” when he heard a door latch rattle. Finding the door
fastened he turned his lamp on to the glass and peered in. By the aid of
the light he distinguished a man standing at the door leading to the
Snargate Street bar, whilst two other men and the landlady were crouched
down just behind the door. It was not before he had knocked four times
that a woman admitted him. She said she was rather frightened, and did
not like to open the door when first requested. The men gave their names
as Bomb, Buchanan, R.G.A., Fort Burgoyne; Edward Harrall, 8, Bench
Street; and Philo Harrall, who was stated to be a lodger. The landlord
came downstairs, and expressed himself as sorry, saying that if he had
known it would not have happened. Supper was laid in a room at the back
of the bar. The landlady said that the men were friends.
Mr. Mowll: What induced you to enter the room where the supper was laid?
In wanted to see if there was any drink about.
What did you fine?
On the table was a joint, beside some knives and forks.
And no signs of drink at all?
For the defence, Mr. Mowll called evidence to prove that it was a
perfectly genuine bonafide entertainment to friends. The landlady said
that she was naturally frightened on finding the constable knocking at
The Magistrates dismissed the case, but said that they considered the
Constable acted properly in reporting the facts.
From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer,
6 June, 1902. Price 1d.
TROUBLE AT THE GOTHIC
William Durban was charged with being drunk and refusing to quit the
Police Constable Mark Taylor said he was called to the "Gothic"
public house on Monday afternoon about 2 o'clock, and was asked by the
landlady to eject the prisoner, who was sitting on a form drunk. He
refused to go, saying he should not till he had had a pint of beer.
Witness had to drag the man into the street, and then he would not go
away, so witness took him into custody.
The barmaid said the prisoner came to their house in the state he
Prisoner was discharged with a caution.
Redundancy was avoided by the pub in 1915 when the back
bar in Northampton Street was said to average eight and a half barrels a
From the Dover Express and East Kent News, 5 February, 1915.
ANNUAL LICENSING METING
The license of the "Gothic Inn," Snargate Street, was next
Mr. Mowll appeared in support of the renewal of the licence.
The Chief Constable said that this was a fully licensed house
situated in Snargate Street, and the owners were Messrs. Beer and Co.,
Canterbury. The present tenant was Mr. W. G. White, and it was
transferred to him on April 1st, 1910, and the previous changes
were in 1907, 1906, 1903 and 1901. There was a back bar in Northampton
Street, which was used occasionally when vessels were unloaded in the
docks. This entrance was closed about 6 o'clock in the evenings. The
Committee of Justices who had visited the area instructed him to oppose
By Mr. Mowll: I do not know that the house has a very large trade but
i should say the house does more since the troops have been in the town
Inspector Lockwood said that he visited the house at 10.00 a.m. on
Friday, the 22nd, and there were three customers. On Saturday, the 23rd,
at 3.10 p.m., there were five customers. On Monday, the 25th, at 4.10
p.m., there were eight customers, and on Thursday, the 28th, at 7.45
p.m. there were 18 customers.
Mr. Mowll said there was no use addressing and arguments in this case
because the trade absolutely spoke for itself.
Mr. Oliver handed to the Justices a paper with the trade of the house
up to the end of the year.
The Chairman said that the average for three years was 8½
barrels a week. He supposed it was doing more now.
Mr. Oliver said that it probably was, it always
did a big trade.
The Chairman: We do not want to hear anything more
THE MAGISTRATES DECISION
The Magistrates then retired to consider their decision, and on
returning the Chairman said that the Magistrates had decided to give a
licence to the "Town Hall" for both music and singing on condition that
free admission was given. The licence of the "Gothic" and "White
Lion" would be renewed. The "Silver Lion,"
the "Black Horse," and the
"Grand Sultan" would have to go to
In 1938, Dover Harbour Board the owners, were anxious to
remove the house but considered they might be saved the expense and
embarrassment if it was dealt with by the Compensation Authority. The
brewers naturally took exception to that interpretation of the Act but the
claim was pressed nevertheless. Within four hundred yards were another forty
one licensed premises as well as six clubs. What more could be said? Another
pub ended its days and compensation was paid on 24 December 1938. It proved
to be March 1949 before the building was taken down.
From the Dover Express and East Kent News, 19 February, 1937.
DOVER LICENSEE'S FAILURE
The public examination in bankruptcy of Mrs. Eva Phillips, a widow,
recently trading at "The Gothic" Inn, Snargate Street, Dover, took place
at Canterbury Bankruptcy Court on Tuesday.
Her statement of affairs disclosed assets of £184 19s. 6d. and
liabilities of £141 9s. 11d., giving a surplus of £43 9s. 3d.
Debtor explained that the surplus depended on the value of a house in
Hertfordshire, which was twice mortgaged. When her husband died in 1932
she invested £300 in a grocery business, which she had brought her to
the position she was in. She had no experience, and regretted that she
did not seek expert advice. She had lost all her capital and had since
found that the business had been "on the books" for twelve months.
The examination was closed.
From the Dover Express and East Kent News, 17 June, 1938.
CLOSING DOWN PUBLIC HOUSES
The East Kent Licensing Authority met at Canterbury on Friday last,
when the four Dover houses referred to by the licensing Justices came
THE "GOTHIC," SNARGATE STREET
The "Gothic," Snargate Street had also been referred.
Mr. Waddy, for the Renewal Authority, said that the "Gothic" was a
fully licensed house.
Colonel F. G. Hayward, giving evidence as Surveyor to the Dover
Harbour Board, said that the house was in a very good state of repair,
having recently been done up.
Replying to Mr. Doughty, witness said that he did not know that the
brewers had spent £450 on the premises in the last nine years. The
locality was going to be considerably changed in the near future. He
knew that one scheme was that Snargate Street should be widened.
To other questions, witness said that the Harbour Board were the
owners of the premises, and if the premises were pulled downthe Board
would have to compensate the tenant. It would save the board a lot of
money if they could get Compensation Authority to pay the tenant.
In reply to a point raised by Mr. Waddy, Mr Doughty said that the
terms of the lease provided for a year's notice being given, and
compensation must be paid - such sum as the lessors considered to be
Replying to Mr. Waddy, Colonel Harward said that the Harbour Board
has statutory powers. If the Harbour Board did as suggested, the tenant
would be entitled to apply for special removal.
After further evidence of the same nature as had been heard for the "Wheatsheaf,"
Mr. Doughty, for the brewers, said that the Authority had used its
discretion in deciding whether a licence should be renewed or not.
Referring to the proposed scheme called "The Re-Development Scheme,"
particulars of which he said were given with a map in the Dover
Express," Mr. Doughty said that if the "Gothic" was pulled down the
Harbour Board would have to pay compensation to the tenant. How nice it
would be to get someone else to pay that compensation. If the
re-development scheme could be carried out through more cheaply, how
convenient for the Harbour Board. He asked the Authority to say that the
Compensation Fund should not be used for this purpose.
Mr. Waddy suggested that Mr. Doughty should call evidence to prove
what he said about the re-development scheme.
Mr. Doughty: It is felt that the Compensation Fund is being
victimised by the Harbour Board, and that is why it has been felt
necessary to come here and object so strongly.
The Chairman, after further evidence, announced that the Authority
refuse to renew the licence.
From the Dover Express and East Kent News, 20 October 1939.
Snargate Street demolition work between the old Wellington Hall and
the "Gothic" public house is now practically finished, and only the
remains of the dilapidated shop fronts intervene to prevent the
Wellington Dock from being completely open to view from Snargate Street.
The work which was held up at the outbreak of war was recommended at the
beginning of October.
DICKENSON J 1839+
FOORD John 1868-69
ALLEN Mr to Nov/1871
LAMBERTON James Charles Nov/1871-Jan/73
PARKER Frederick 1873-74
BREWER Samuel 1875 (Gothic Tap)
GURRY John Mark 1875-78+
BROWNING Edward 1882+
LUNNUNS William 1891+
SWAIN Ralph 1895+
MILLINGTON Arthur John 1901
CHAPMAN John 1899-Aug/1901
ROBERTS Arthur A Aug/1901-03+
(Former Canteen steward)
BENGE/BENN C N 1903-Mar/1906
CLARK Albert or Andrew R Mar/1906-07 end (Of Sittingbourne, who had kept
the "Rendevous" for some time.)
GOLDSWAIN Henry 1907-Mar/10
WHITE William G Mar/1910-21 end
PENNOCK Nelson E 1922-Jan/25
SIMMONDS William Jan/1925-Feb/31
RIGDEN Frederick Feb/1931-33 end
SAPWELL Harry Vincent 1933-35 end
MIDDLETON Bernard Herbert 1935-Jan/36
PHILLIPS Mrs Eva Jane 1936-Mar/37
MARTIN Wilfred Mar/1937+
MILLS Mrs Emily Mary 1937-38 end
From the Post Office Directory 1874
From the Post Office Directory 1878
From the Post Office Directory 1882
From the Post Office Directory 1891
From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1895
From the Kelly's Directory 1899
From the Post Office Directory 1901
From the Post Office Directory 1903
From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1909
From the Post Office Directory 1913
From the Post Office Directory 1922
From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1924
From the Post Office Directory 1930
From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1932-33
From the Post Office Directory 1938
From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1938-39
From the Dover Express