Strond Street and Custom House Quay
Crosswall. Showing two towers, Clock and Compass - ereced in 1830 and Custom House Quay in background. To the left of Pickfords is also shown E Rutley Mowll, Wine and Spirit Merchants.
Photo by kind permission of Dover Library Ill/5477.
Barry Smith found and reported that this obliged customers in 1791 and the Hipgrave family were in residence
for at least forty years from 1823. It was a family and commercial hotel and
the "Gun Tap" was an appurtenance which we know was present in 1864-65.
However, Alec Hasenson found mention of it as far back as 1748. (See above).
The Pigot's directory 1840
lists it as the "Victoria and Gun Hotel, opposite the sea, Strond Street and
I never managed to connect a brewer with this one and the licence was
discontinued from 1904. The house itself had meanwhile been taken down in
Kentish Post or Canterbury News, July 27 to 30, 1748.
Kindly sent from Alec Hasenson.
Payment to the crew of a privateer at the Sign of the Gun, Dover, August
From the Kentish Post or Canterbury News-Letter,
January 17th 1750. Kindly sent from Alec Hasenson.
Advert for the sale by auction of a French Privateer at
the Sign of the Gun in Dover, on January 17th. 1750.
From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 21 January, 1865.
From the Court Sessions.
HIPGRAVE v. J S STIFF
Defendant did not appear to dispute a claim of £1 14s. 3d. for board
and lodging at the "Gun Hotel," and His Honour ordered payment
From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 15 February, 1867.
DOVER POLICE COURT
OBTAINING FALSE PRETENCES
Harriett Nowler, the woman brought up on Friday last on several
charges of obtaining by false pretences, but then erroneously described
as "Lawler," was again placed at the bar.
A charge of obtaining four pairs of children's boots, the property of
Mr. Molloway, bootmaker of Priory Street, the offence having been
committed nearly a twelve-month ago, was first investigated.
The prosecutor stated that the prisoner came to his shop on the 24th
February, 1866, and obtained from him four pairs of children's boots,
value £1. She said she was sent for the boots by Mrs. Kemp, of Trevanion
Street, for whom, she said, she occasionally worked as a charwoman.
prosecutor would not have let her take the boots away but for the last
Mrs. Hannah Kemp, wife of John Kemp, living in Trevanion Street, said
she knew something of the prisoner many years since, when living in the
country, but had not seen her for many years till a few weeks ago, when
she came to her stating that she was in great distress, and begged
witness to give her a loaf of bread. Witness gave her two loaves. She
had not seen her since until that morning. The prisoner never worked for
her, and she never authorised her to obtain any boots from Mr. Holloway
or from any other person.
On being asked if she had any questions to put to either of the
witnesses, the prisoner said, "No, I am guilty."
The usual caution having been administered to the prisoner, she said
she had nothing to state in her defence, but could only hope the Court
would be merciful to her.
Dr. Astley: You will be committed to take your trial at the next
A charge of obtaining two pairs of boots, the property of Mr. Henry
Moody, jun., Commercial Quay, was next proceeded with.
Mr. Henry Moody, jun., said he was a bootmaker carrying on business
at 3, Commercial Quay. On the 21st September the prisoner came to his
shop and said she wanted a pair of kid boots for her daughter, who was
servant of the "Gun Hotel." At her request witness allowed her to take
away two pairs of ladies' kid boots, value 14s. 6d., for her daughter's
inspection, and he did not see her or the boots afterwards. On enquiring
at the hotel a day or two after the occurrence, he found there was no
young woman living as servant there such as described. He was the more
easily thrown off his guard by the prisoner's story as he was in the
habit of working for persons in the hotel.
Maltilda, wife of John Ellender, said the prisoner came to her shop,
in St. James's Street, some time in September last, to the best of
witness's recollection, and selected two skirts. She had no money, she
said, but should quickly be in receipt of some, as she was working for a
person who would pay her in the course of a few days. In the meanwhile
she left as security a pair of boots which had been identified by the
prosecutor as her property.
Louisa Myers, cook at the "Gun Hotel," said that no daughter of the
prisoner's was living in any capacity at the Hotel. Witness had been
living at the "Gun" for a twelvemonth, and during that time there had
been no such person there.
Police-constable Raymond said he apprehended the prisoner on Thursday
morning. She had with her a round basket from which she took the pair of
boots he now produced, and witness took them from her hand. She said she
had got them from the pawnshop and was going to sell them.
This was the second of the two pairs of boots the prisoner was
charged with stealing, and both were identified by the prosecutor.
Police-sergeant Bailey deposed to receiving the pair of boots left
with Mrs. Ellender. Having ascertained that the prisoner had left them
there, he went to Mrs. Ellender's shop, and at once obtained them.
The prisoner, who had nothing to say for herself, was committed for
trial on this charge also.
The prisoner asked that she might be admitted to bail.
Superintendent Coram said he must oppose the application. The
prisoner had been carrying on nefarious practices to a considerable
extent, there being scarcely a tradesman in the town who had not been
Dr. Astley (to the prisoner): Under these circumstances, the
Magistrates cannot admit you to bail.
The prisoner said her reason for making the application was on
account of ill-health.
Dr. Astley: There is a medical officer of the gaol. He will see that
your health does not sustain injury from your incarceration, and
whatever recommendation he may make will be attended to.
From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 15 May, 1877.
Henry Gell, seaman, was charged with being drunk at the “Gun Hotel,”
Strond Street, and breaking a pane of glass and five drinking glasses,
the property of the landlord; he was also charged with being drunk in
The Superintendent said the prosecutor was not present.
The prisoner was remanded, on the charge of drunkenness, till he became
From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 2 February, 1883. 1d.
THE REMANDED APPLICATION – A CURIOUS CASE
Mr. M. Mowll applied for the transfer of the license of the “Gun Hotel,”
Commercial Quay, from Messrs. Allen and Co., brewers, to Monsieur Emile
Vincent, of the Boulogne Café, Hawksbusy Street. This application the
solicitor said had been remanded from last week on account of notice of
opposition being received from Superintendent Sanders, who had asked for
a remand that he might collect his evidence and summon his witness.
Mr. W. Knocker, the Town Clerk, said that he had received instructions
to oppose the application, as it was considered that the applicant was
not a fit and proper person to hold a license.
Mr. M. Mowll said that the application had been adjourned to enable the
Superintendent to produce evidence against Mr. Vincent’s character. He
thought it would be more convenient for the Superintendent to bring
forward the evidence, and then he would plainly show that the applicant
was a man of good character, and fit to have a licence.
The Magistrate’s Clerk said that there were several very satisfactory
testimonials handed in – in fact they were exceptionally good ones, and
any contradiction to them he thought should be brought forward at once.
Superintendent Sanders said: Since the case was last before the court I
have communicated with the Metropolitan Police, and have received the
following report about the applicant.
Mr. Mowll objected to the report being received until after the
testimonials were decided upon.
The Magistrate’s Clerk ruled that on an application being made for a
license the police references of the application were always read.
The Magistrate’s Clerk read the report as follows:-
Metropolitan Police Criminal Investigations Department, Scotland Yard,
January 24, 1883.
With reference to the attached letter from the Superintendent Borough
Police, Dover, requesting to be furnished with information as to the
antecedents of one Vincent, who had applied for a transfer of a hotel
license, I beg to report that in March, 1875, information was received
at this office that a man named Godin, a returned convict named Berthier,
and a Frenchman named Vincent, all living at No, 23, Greece Street,
Tottenham Court Road, were engaged in uttering counterfeit coins, and
were earning their livelihood by other dishonest means. Observations
were kept on the above premises by police, but before the time arrived
for a seizure to be made Vincent and Berthier were given in custody by
one Ethenni Pignot, a stove maker, charged with stealing from him a
quantity of iron value £24, and also a quantity of knives, the property
of James Monies. They were taken before R. K. Newton, Esq., Magistrate,
Marlborough Metropolitan Police Court, on the 20th of March, 1875, and
were committed to take their trial at the Central Criminal Court. They
were tried before the Recorder on the 3rd May, 1873, and found not
guilty. The man named Godin was arrested on the 7th April, 1875, on a
charge of uttering counterfeit coin, and remanded to the 15th, but as no
second spurious coin was found on him, he was discharged. He was,
however, re-arrested on a warrant charging him, in connections with
Eugene Bruncan, for having conspired under the name of Blumberg and Co.,
to defraud M. Blanchard of Paris, of clockworks, &c., to the amount 0f
15,000 francs, in 1874. he was committed to the Central Criminal Court
on 18th May, 1875, was tried on the 9th June, 1875, before Sir Thomas
Chambers, and sentenced to five years’ penal servitude. Emile Vincent at
that period (1875) was an associate of foreign thieves and swindlers. He
afterwards kept a small restaurant in Ryder’s Court, Soho, which was
frequented by foreign bullies, swindlers, and prostitutes. I have no
knowledge of his ever been convicted in this country.
(Signed) George W. Greenham, Chief Inspector, Frederick Williams, Chief
Witness continued: The applicant has lived in Hawksbury Street three
years, and there have been various doubtful reports about the house,
which is used as a French café, and called Café de Boulogne. It has been
reported to me that intoxicating liquors are sold at the same house. I
have heard people in the house late at night. Some time ago I saw an
applicant in conversation with Greenham.
By Mr. Mowll; I watched this house on one occasion in particular. From
what I have heard I communicated with the excise officers, but did not
instruct the police constables to give any special watch on the house.
Inspector Whitney, of the Metropolitan Police stationed in Dover to
carry out the Contagious Disease Act, said: I know the house kept by the
applicant in Hawksbury Street. I have not visited the house myself, but
I have no doubt that it is a brothel, and for the last two years I have
reported it as such.
By Mr. Mowll: It is merely my opinion when I say I believe the house to
be a brothel.
By Mr. Knocker: I have seen women on the Register frequenting the house
with men in the evening, but for the last month it has not been so bad.
There have also been seen women we have had our suspicions about at the
By Mr. Mowll: I have not watched the house lately, but about twelve
months ago I watched it every night.
James Adams, inspector on the South Eastern Railway, said: About two or
three months ago a French lady came down at night by the mail train and
I saw her on the Admiralty Pier platform. Two men accosted her, and one
spoke to her in French. The other one came up to me and told me that the
lady wanted to return to London, and asked the time of the next train. I
told the lady, and advised her to get into the train, and I would take
her up to the railway station, where she could stop in the waiting room,
but the two men took her away to the Café de Boulogne. I saw no more of
her until after two o’clock, when she was brought to the station by the
same two men, who followed her into the booking office. The lady was
crying and very excited. As far as I could make out she wanted to be
taken away from the two men, and I placed her into a first class waiting
room. The two men didn’t seem inclined to leave the station, and I
ordered them out with a threat that I would give them in charge if they
molested the passengers. Shortly afterwards, our interpreter came on
duty, and I took him to the waiting room, and told him to take down in
writing what the lady said. The statement produced is the same, and
reads as follows:- “Madame M. Matson, of Great Street, Soho, on the
arrival of the midnight mail train on the Admiralty Pier, was accosted
by two men. She, wishing to go back to London, asked them if they could
let her know what time the next train went back to London, and
afterwards they took her to a café in a back street and tried to make
her intoxicated, and the landlady abused her, and wished her to play
cards till two o’clock in the morning. They refused to take her back to
the station till she paid a certain sum of money, which she paid.
By Mr. Mowll: The lady did not tell me she had refreshment at the café
for which she had to pay. It is to my interest to look after the welfare
of the passengers, and I therefore asked the interpreter to take down
Police-sergeant Harman said: On the 1st of April 1880, I was on duty in
the afternoon, when a gentleman came to the Police Station and said that
he had had a bed at the Café de Boulogne, kept by Mr. Vincent, and while
there had been robbed of four sovereigns and some silver and a purse,
and the landlady he alleged had taken them. I went with the gentleman in
a cab to the house, and he gave the woman in charge, and I bought her to
the Police Station. The charge came before the Bench and was discharged
but the Magistrates made a remark about it being a disgraceful case. The
landlady said that she knew nothing of the case, and said that there
were two other women in the house at the time.
My Mr. Mowll: I don’t know whether that gentleman has since been
Mr. Knocker said that he had brought sufficient evidence to show that
the applicant was not such a person who should have a license. The house
was not a first rate character one, and the applicant had been the
friend of those who uttered counterfeit coins, and one of them had been
sent to penal servitude. Upon those grounds he would urge that the
application be not granted.
Mr. M. Mowll after referring to the great prejudice there was against
the house in question, on account the French people going to it , called
the following witness:-
Mr. Emily Vincent said: I keep a French café in Hawsbury Street, Dover.
I have conducted the house in a respectable manner ever since I have
been there. I have never allowed any immoral or indecent conduct to take
place in the house.
By Mr. Knocker. I have been in the house three years, and was previously
seven years at the “London Hotel,” Dover, where I was porter and
commissioner, I have heard the document from the Metropolitan Police
read, and it is true that I lived in Greece Street, Tottenham Court
Road. I was not engaged in uttering counterfeit coins. I know Inspector
Greenham, and saw him sometime ago at the “London Hotel.” It is quite
correct that I was found Not Guilty on a charge of stealing iron. I
never had bad women in the house. The “Gun Hotel” I am taking over from
Messrs Allen and Co., the Brewers. I know Mr. Gattell the previous
occupier of the “Gun Hotel, but I have made no arrangement for him to
have anything to do with the house. I am not married, (laughter), but
live with the person who is called my wife. I have no wife alive or
children. My house is not the resort of prostitutes. I keep it quietly
and properly, and never receive a soldier or bad woman. I don’t sell
wines or spirits, nor allow card playing. I know a big fat Belgian woman
who goes about the town, (laughter) as she lodges at my house. I did not
know that she was exiled from Belgium.
By Mr. Mowll: I never knowingly permit any bad characters to enter my
Mr. G. Ashcroft, a butcher carrying on business in Oxenden Street, said:
I live nearly opposite the applicant. I am about all hours of the night
and day, and I have never noticed any improper conduct at his house
since he has been there. The house has been kept very respectable.
By Mr. Knocker: I sit at home at night and smoke my pipe, and mind my
own business, (laughter), and can see the house in question, but have
never noticed anything improper being done.
Mr. John Mynell, grocer, Mr. J. Grundy, coal and wool merchant, Mr. W.
Burkett, baker, Mr. White, oilman, who lives close to the café, gave
evidence showing that the house had always been well conducted.
A letter was received from Mr. Walter, surgeon, stating that he had
frequently visited the house professionally, and had never seen any
Mr. Mowll contended that the evidence he had brought forward that day
was direct evidence, whilst that of his friend Mr. Knocker was indirect.
The Bench after consultation, said that in the face of the excellent
testimonials they had before them, and the evidence of the neighbours,
they could not refuse to grant the application.
From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 9 March, 1883. 1d.
THE LICENSE OF THE GUN HOTEL
Mr. M. Mowll applied for the transfer of the license of the “Gun Hotel”
to Mr. E. Vincent. He said that the case had been fully discussed on a
previous occasion, when the Superintendent was absent from the Court. On
the second occasion when the man came up the Superintendent asked for a
remand, which was granted. At the end of that remand a strong report was
presented against the applicant from Scotland Yard, but the Magistrates
granted the transfer. The general feeling of the Bench had always been
to confirm the transfers made by other Magistrates, and he anticipated
that would be the case on the present occasion. He asked that the
evidence previously given should not be gone into again.
Mr. Knocker said he was prepared to go into the evidence heard on the
last occasion again if the Magistrates desired it, but he proposed to
bring fresh evidence forward entirely to the applicant’s conduct at the
Mr. Mowll said he thought that he was entitled to refer to the
testimonials of the man’s character given on the last occasion, and
which were to the effect that the applicant had conducted the Café de
Boulogne, in Hawkesbury Street, in a very satisfactory manner.
Mr. Knocker contended that the testimonials as to the house in
Hawkesbury Street could not be taken in relation to the “Gunn Hotel.” He
thought that a man living with a woman who was not his wife could not be
expected to keep a respectable house.
On behalf of the Watch Committee he then called Sarah Reed, who said: I
have known Mr. Vincent, who is now keeping the “Gun Hotel” about three
weeks. I have often had a liquor with him, and have slept at his house.
I was introduced to his house by a woman named Brien, who first saw me
in the “Mariner’s Arms.” Brien came to me and said she wanted to see me
to introduce me to a gentleman. I went to the “Gun Hotel,” and saw a
lady whom introduced me to a gentleman there, and I slept with him,
whilst Brien slept with another man. I stayed at Vincent's house till
the morning, and saw a lady when I went out of the house. I was paid by
a foreign gentleman. I do not know whether Mr. Vincent knows that I am
on the register.
In answer to Mr. Mowll witness said that she did not see Mr. Vincent
while he was in the house, and did not know whether he knew she was
there. The gentleman that she slept with paid her 5s., and the lady gave
her and Brien 4s. between them in the morning.
Police-sergeant Nash said: On the 12th February I was sent by the
Superintendent about noon at the “Gun Hotel,” for the purpose of
ascertaining whether a woman named Rachel Ratcliff, formerly a
prostitute, was in the house. I went there and saw Mr. Vincent, who told
me he had a lady up-stairs, who came about a week previous at about
half-past one in the morning, with a gentleman, whom she said was her
husband. They gave their names as Mr. and Mrs. Clark, of St. George’s
Street, London, and shortly after she came she was confined. I asked Mr.
Vincent to go and see whether the lady had any objections to me seeing
her, and when he came down he said the lady would dress, and then I
could see her. I went up-stairs with Mr. Vincent, and there found Rachel
Ratcliff. I asked Mr. Vincent if he knew anything of her, and he said he
did not. Ratcliff told me she had married a man named Clark giving the
address previously referred to, and that as soon as she was better she
was going ton her husband’s house in London. Whilst I was in there a
woman by the name of Brien, came into the room and said she was
attending Ratcliff. I said to her, whoever would have thought of seeing
Ratcliff here? And she said, who indeed? I have reason to believe that
Mr. Vincent knew Ratcliff at the time.
Supt Sanders said: From what I have seen of the house kept by Mr.
Vincent, I have reason to believe that it had been used as a brothel. On
the 24th of February, when I was on the Admiralty Pier, my attention was
given to Vincent buy a man and women, giving the name of Degernier, who
were apparently quarrelling. Soon after Vincent left them I spoke to the
man and woman, and asked her what was the matter. She said she had been
living as cook, at Mr. Vincent’s at the “Gun Hotel,” and had left in
consequence of Madame Vincent wanting her to go upstairs with a
Frenchman from Deal. She said that Mrs. Vincent told her if she would go
she would have £2. Degernier said she was very much put out, and asked
Mrs. Vincent if she took her for a prostitute; and told her that she had
other girls upstairs, and could get one of them.
Mr. G. H. Smith, Deputy Town Clerk, said: On the 24th of February I went
to 1, York Street, to the lodgings of Madame de Gernie, saw her, asked
her to come to Court to-day, (Friday) to give evidence, but she said she
could no, as Vincent had threatened to get her husband out of his berth
if she gave any evidence against him. She also told me that she had been
called one night to go to the bedroom of a lady who was ill, and she had
asked her what was the matter, and she said she was going to be
confined. There was a gentleman in the room, who seemed anxious to get
away, and De Gernier asked if he was her husband, and she said’; “No.
but don’t be angry, I am one of those girls.”
Mr. Mowll, on behalf of the applicant, said in the year 1871 Mr. Vincent
had separated from his wife, and had lived with another woman ever
since. Mr. Vincent did not know whether his wife was dead or not, and
therefore was debarred from marrying again.
Alice Gillman said: I have lived at Mr. Vincent’s for about twelve
months, but have never seen anything to make me think the house was used
as a brothel. If I had, I should not have stopped in the house. I do not
know Rachel Ratcliff, but I know there was someone confined in the
Emily Vincent said: I keep the “Gun Hotel” in Strond Street. On the day
following the one on which I was here last time the valuation of the
house was made, and I have paid £150. I turned the cook out of the house
because she got so drunk. When I turned her out she said I was going to
have my license and she would do all she could to prevent me from
getting it. I have never threatened the cook against coming to Court
today. To the best of my ability I have kept the “Gun Hotel” in a
respectable manner, and have not kept the house as a brothel.
Josephine Vincent said: I have lived with Mr. Vincent for 12 to 14
years, and since I have been at the “Gun Hotel” I have never to my
knowledge allowed prostitutes to go into the house.
The Magistrates, after having been absent from Court for a quarter of an
hour, stated that they had decided not to grant the transfer.
STEPHENS William 1791-92+
HIPGRAVE George 1823-55+
HITCHCOCK Great 1857 ?
HART James (Gun Hotel) 1857 ?
HIPGRAVE George 1862-64 dec'd
HIPGRAVE Miss or Mrs 1865-70
WESTON Mrs Ann Elizabeth July/1871+
KITTELL William Apr/1873+
KITTELL John William 1874-Jul/80
SHEPPARD Alfred Jul/1880-82
(late of Woolhope, farmer)
ALAN & Co Brewers Feb 1883
DILLON John July/1883-1903
Dover and Deal Directory and Guide 1792
From the Pigot's Directory 1823
From Batchellor's New Dover Guide 1828
From the Pigot's Directory 1828-9
From the Pigot's Directory 1832-33-34
From the Pigot's Directory 1839
From the Pigot's Directory 1840
From Bagshaw Directory 1847
From Melville's Directory 1858
From the Post Office Directory 1862
From the Kelly's Directory 1874
From the Post Office Directory 1874
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 the Dover Express