Sort file:- Dover, November, 2023.

Page Updated:- Monday, 06 November, 2023.

PUB LIST PUBLIC HOUSES Barry Smith and Paul Skelton

Earliest 1972

(Name from)

Louis Armstrong

Open 2023+

58 Maison Dieu Road


01304 204759 21.htm

Louis Armstrong 2008 Louis Armstrong 2008

Above 2 photos 2008 kindly sent from Jeanette Harper at their Carnival day.

Louis Armstrong 2009

Above photo kindly supplied by Tosh Marshall. 2009.

Louise Armstrong with Bod and Jackie Bowles after 1972

Above photo kindly supplied by Jeanette Harper, c/o Jackie Bowles of the Louise Armstrong. This photo shows a similar pose from previous licensees of the "Grapes". Circa 1972.

Louis Armstrong circa 1987

Louis Armstrong circa 1987 (Photo by Paul Skelton)

Louis Armstrong 2990

Above photo 1990, by kind permission of the Dover Museum.

Louis Armstrong circa 1980

Photo above and below circa 1980 by Barry Smith.

Louis Armstrong circa 1980
Louis Armstrong sign 1Louis Armstrong sign 2

Above signs taken by Paul Skelton June 2011.

Louis Armstrong sign 1991Louis Armstrong sign 1991

Louis Armstrong sign above shown in better days October 1991.

Above with thanks from Brian Curtis

Louis Armstrong sign August 2012Louis Armstrong sign August 2012

New signs as of 31 August 2012, taken by Paul Skelton.


An outlet of Charrington for many years and known as "The Grapes", Robert (Bod) Bowles joined the pub in 1962 and changed the sign to "Louis Armstrong" in 1972. By 1981 he had also declared it a free house and entertained with his own band.


From the Dover Express, 7 January 1999.

Smugglers kill pub couple's festive cheer.

A CALL by the drinks industry to bring UK excise duty in line with the rest of Europe has been backed by publicans in Dover.

The call follows figures released by the Brewers and Licensed Retailers' Association showing more than one million pints of beer were smuggled into Britain every day of 1998.

They are based on undercover surveillance of vans arriving from the Continent by ferry at Dover or at Cheriton via Eurotunnel.

The BLRA survey showed 75 percent of an estimated 1.5 million pints of beer which crossed the Channel in 1997 was smuggled for illegal resale.

The association expects 1998 will have seen an increase of four percent in the number of heavily laden vans leaving Calais, to more than 91,000 compared with 87,500 in 1997.

It happens because excise duty in Britain is 32p on each pint compared with 4p in France.

Jackie Bowles, chairman of the 25-member Dover and district branch of the Licensed Victuallers Association, said only harmonisation of excise duty in Europe would stop the huge imports of cheap beer.

She said: "The duty is so incredibly high here the only answer is to bring us together with the French. Either they come up or we go down."

Mrs Bowles said smaller pubs in the Dover area were especially under pressure but the problem was hitting the trade around the country.

Louis Armstrong landlady Jackie BowlesBigger, managed pubs were more able to absorb the unfair trade, said Mrs Bowles. She and her husband Bod have run the Louis Armstrong in Dover for 36 years.

This Christmas trade at the pub, a free house. was their worst ever.

Trade in many pubs has also been hit by changing life styles, such as people buying cans of beer in supermarkets, buying or hiring a video and staying home.

Faversham brewer Shepherd Neame's legal challenge against the Chancellor's 1997 penny-on-a-pint increase is scheduled for hearing on January 25.

The Court of Appeal will also consider the company's second challenge, against this year's 1p rise from January 1, 1999.

Stuart Neame, vice-chairman of Shepherd Neame, said: "In Kent we're in the front line of an increasingly nasty trade which has seen pubs and off-licences close and crime and intimidation flourish.

"It's bizarre on the eve of the 21st century this country is devoting more and more resources to stamp out smuggling, the classic crime of the 18th century."


From the Dover Mercury, 19 September 2002.


Jackie Bowles 2002

(That's pulling pints, dear, reader!)

IT is difficult to talk about the life of Jackie Bowles without mentioning the Louis Armstrong pub once or twice, so entwined are the two.

After celebrating 40 years as landlady, Jackie invited ARWEN TURNER into her home to share her memories.


POSTERS and instruments clutter the walls of the Louis Armstrong which has been a renowned live music venue for many years.

Landlady Jackie Bowles is sitting upstairs in her front room, surrounded by more personal mementos - photos of her family and bits of her past.

In reality though, the Louis Armstrong is Jackie's past, her present and probably her future.

Born just outside Oxford in November 1939, Jackie arrived in the world two months after the war started.

She lived with her parents in Finchley for nine years before they moved further south.

Her father ran a shirt factory in Folkestone Road, supplying shirts to Bond Street shops and the aristocracy.

"He used to sell to high class shops and all the lords and ladies who still had money to spend despite the war."

Jackie attended St Ursula's convent, leaving at 16 after becoming head girl.

From there she went to board at St Mary's convent in Folkestone to study for her A Levels. Teacher training at a college in London followed and she found a job in Cavendish Square.

In August 1962 Jackie married Bod Bowles and set up home in the flat next door to the pub that would come to dominate her life.

"Bod's mum ran the post office next door so we lived in the flat above that.

"Bod was working at the engineering works and I got a job teaching maths at my old school St Mary's and we were settling into married life when Bod dropped his bombshell."

Jackie came home from the school one night in September to find the pub, then called The Grapes, dark and deserted.

The previous tenants had gone bankrupt and Bod had decided that he and Jackie could do a much better job.

"When he suggested it I was gobsmacked.

"I'd only been married for a month, just started a new job and had no idea how to even pull a pint, let alone run a whole pub."

But take over they did.

"At that time they only gave tenancies to married couples so I had to be interviewed by the brewery as well, I had to go on a Saturday because I was working and they said it was fine and then told us we should open on the following Monday."

The first hurdle completed Jackie and Bod now had to get the pub up and running.

The building was almost derelict when they moved in and Jackie had to finish her first term at the school, and then she found out she was pregnant with her first child.

"There was no central heating, not much stock, and I was working and pregnant.

"To say it was difficult is probably an understatement!"

By the late 1960s the couple were firmly ensconced in the pub.

Daughter Jane was born in May 1963 was joined by Sarah in March 1965 and the pub had become famous the live music venue for Dover. Despite the hard times Jackie has more fond memories of the pub than she can recall in one afternoon.

One that is forever in her mind however is the night they changed the pub to its current name.

"We changed it in 1971 the year after Louis Armstrong died. There was another pub in Dover called The Grapes and jazz was such an important part of what we were about we thought Louis would be much more fitting. We had a great party for our re-opening night - lots of jazz musicians came and played well into the night." In 1980 Jackie and Bod bought the pub from Charringtons and it became a free house.

Being the outright owners also meant they could knock the two bars into one open space and create a raised stage for the musicians who now occupied the pub almost every night of the week.

"Tuesday was about the only day we didn't have music.

"We had folk during the week, rock on Friday nights and on Sundays we had the jazz groups to remind us of where it all started." Jackie has also become involved with local licensing groups and was an active campaigner against bootlegging.

Away from the pub, not that she gets much time away, Jackie loves gardening and has a passion for Thames barges and boats. "I try to have one night a week off but I don't always succeed. If I do I always go out, otherwise you just get called upon anyway.

"I go to the theatre occasionally and I love eating out."

In October 2000 Bod died after a long illness. It was hard when he was ill.

"Running a pub is a two person business really, and I was trying to do it on my own and look after him as well."

Luckily Jackie has the help of her two daughters and more recently grandson Luke to keep the pub going.

Music still echoes round the pub several nights a week and the customers keep on coming.

Jackie though may be coming to the end of an era. "It's in the back of my mind to sell, but I don't know if I can face the wrench.

"This pub is my life and leaving all that behind is a scary thought."


From the Dover Mercury, 5 June, 2008.


A MUSICIAN from Dover who had a love of blues and jazz music has died aged 60.

Mick Fox, of Charlton Green, was a harmonica player.Mick Fox

He performed with bands such as the Bod Bowles Jazz Band and the City Blues Band, now called Standard Five.

He spent most of his working life at Dover Harbour Board and also enjoyed a brief spell at the Burnham House Veterinary Surgery in Castle Street.

Mr Fox died from pneumonia and C-diff after spending nine weeks at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford.

Jackie Bowles, landlady of the "Louis Armstrong" pub where Mick used to perform and socialise, said: “He was a great character.

“He used to come here virtually every day and used to play at open mike nights.”

Mick had begun to suffer health problems after being kicked in his left leg by a horse in October.

He then had an operation after he had difficulties in March but when he came round he began experiencing heart problems.

It is suspected he had a stroke and lost the use of his left arm.

His wife Pat, whom he married in 1977 but had been separated from for five years, said: “His music was his big love but he was also a real animal lover.

“We had two terriers and a lurcher and we used to take them to dog shows together.”

Mr Fox's funeral took place at Barham Crematorium on Tuesday, followed by a wake at the "Louis Armstrong" pub.


From the Dover Mercury, 11 September, 2008. By Graham Tutthill


MUSIC fans have packed a Dover pub to remember one of their friends and enjoy two weekends of “beer and bands”.

The events were held in memory of Mick Fox who was a regular at the "Louis Armstrong" in Maison Dieu Road for more than 30 years, and who entertained with his wide selection of harmonicas.

Landlady Jackie Bowles and music teacher Bert Osborne organised the festival which spanned two weekends, and attracted hundreds of people to the pub.

A wide selection of Kentish real ales were on offer and barbecues were also held.

The open mic sessions attracted a good number of performers, but entertainment was also provided by some of the area's up and coming musicians who have been learning with Bert Osborne.

Louis Armstrong musicians

Bert Osbourne (front left) and Jackie Bowles with Bert's students who played at the event. (All photos by Eddie Clapson.)

A musician of 40 years, he has played all over Kent and London and turned to teaching 12 years ago, encouraging teenagers to take up music.

Psychedelic Monks Jack Daniel

Among those performing were the Psychedelic Monks, (photo above) consisting of Merlin Mercer, Tom Robson, Charlie Lawson and Alfie Hammond, Yer Blues, which includes George and Patrick Holmes, Jake Clapson, Jack Kennett and Jimmy Dawkins, and soloists Bridie Douglas, Molly Milne and Jack Daniel.

Professional musician Joe Jones, jazz singer Sheila Collier and her partner clarinettist Lasse Karlsson from Helsingborg also took part.


Jackie Bowles 70th birthday

Above photo kindly sent by Tosh Marshall, showing Jackie Bowles at her 70th birthday.

From the Dover Mercury, 9 October, 2008. 60p


MEMBERS of the Dover Skiffle Band, who were popular from 1982 -1994, are reuniting next month.

The concert will take place at the "Louis Armstrong" pub in Dover on Saturday, November 1.

The original line-up of Chris Tophill, Paul Sherman, Dave Fairfoul, Lee Edgington and Jason Pegler will be there and guest artists will include Jack Pound and, hopefully, Charlie Skelton.


From the Dover Mercury, 23 April, 2009.

Delight over funding boost for music club

Musi club

The musicians who took part in the launch of the LA Music Club at the "Louis Armstrong" pub. Picture: Eddie CIapson.


A NEW music club for youngsters got off to a great start on Sunday when it was announced it had attracted funding from a national group.

The LA Music Club was launched at the Louis Armstrong public house giving people the chance to enjoy some great music.

As reported in last week's Mercury, the club is designed to give young musicians the chance to play with others and improve their skills.

Former Clash drummer Nick "Topper" Headon is the president of the club, and the funding has come from an organisation close to his heart.

Strummerville was set up as a foundation to promote new music in memory of Clash frontman Joe strummer after he died six years ago.

"We are delighted that we are being given funding for the club from Strummerville," said club organiser and guitar tutor Bert Osborne. "It will enable us to do so much more."

A number of groups and individuals played throughout the afternoon, much to the delight of a packed audience. The LA Music Club, which caters for those aged eight to 20 years, can be contacted on 01304 202171.


From the Dover Express, 9 April, 2009 Report by Rhys Griffiths

Ugly Ducking into beautiful homes

Let's party at the Louis

Musical reunions at birthday bash


PERFORMERS from Dover's long-established music scene will be reuniting for a special weekend next month.

Musicians and friends will be gathering at the Louis Armstrong pub in Maison Dieu Road on November 6 to kick off a weekend-long party to mark the 70th birthday of the town's longest-serving landlady on November 7.

Jackie Bowles and her late husband Bod's pub has been the hub of the Dover live music scene for decades.

Among the musicians getting involved in the party are Mick Morris and Jack Castle, who were part of cult progrock outfit Mirkwood back in the 1970s.

Mick Morris and Jack Castle

It will be a rare return to the town for Jack, who has been based in Pembrokeshire since the 1980s and describes himself as an honorary Welshman. He first played with Mick back in 1967 when he joined the band Take 5 and the Friday evening show will be the first time he has performed in his home town for more than 20 years.

Mick said: "The Louis is just such a special place for us all, and I know Jack is hoping that a lot of people who he has met and got to know over the years will come down.

"It has been a very important place for me and was a very important place for MirkWood when we started out. It is fair to say the Louis was our spiritual home.

"The pub has got a unique place in the history of live music in this area, and it's hard to know where Dover would be without it."


From the Dover Express, 13 August, 2009.60p


THE "Louis Armstrong" pub in Dover is holding a cider and beer festival on Friday, August, 28 through to Sunday, August 30.

For more information call 01304 204759.


From the Dover Mercury, 27 April, 2011.


LA Music Club

MAKING MUSIC: The Top Cats. James Curtis, Joe Young, Izzy Robinson and Austin Smith.

MEMBERS of the LA Music Club are celebrating its second anniversary this weekend with a concert at the "Louis Armstrong" pub in Dover.

It takes place on Sunday from 2 to 5pm when the young musicians will be displaying their talents individually and in bands.

The club attracts between 20 and 40 youngsters, aged eight to 18, at its sessions on alternate Friday evenings at Charlton Church Hall.

They play a variety instruments , mainly guitars and keyboards, but there are also some singers.

All are welcome to call in at the "Louis Armstrong" in Maison Dieu Road on Sunday afternoon to hear them perform.

The club's president is Nick "Topper" Headon, from Dover, the former drummer with the Clash.


From the Dover Express, Thursday, 23 August, 2012. 65p. Report by Phil Hayes


Eddie Clapson

POPULAR PRESENCE: A gig is being held in honour of former Express photographer and LA Music Academy founder Eddie Clapson

His band are among acts who will pay tribute to Eddie

THE GRANDSON of a former Express photographer is set to perform at a gig in honour of the popular local figure.

The LA Music Academy is putting on an all-day music extravaganza in tribute to founder Eddie Clapson, who died at the age of 71 after a short fight with lung cancer earlier this year.

Members of the academy - which helps young people kick-start their music careers - wanted to put on the gig to raise funds for the Pilgrim's Hospices, whose staff cared for Eddie in his final days.


Co-founder Mick Morris said: “A huge number of young people from the club have queued up to pay their respects to him.

“He was unbelievably popular with the youngsters. The kids saw him as an extra grandfather.

“Eddie was a wonderful chap who did a huge amount of good in the town over a long period."

To be honest the club can't do enough for him.”

Eddie was a good singer and was the lead vocalist in a group in the 1960s.

After a short spell as a postman in Dover Eddie was recruited by the Dover Express as a photographer.

Eventually he became the newspaper's chief snapper, taking hundreds of photographs of people and events in Dover, Deal and Sandwich.

As a child he suffered from polio, which left him with a slight limp, but that did not stop him playing a lot of sport.

He was noted as a boxer at one stage. He also managed a series of football teams.

In his retirement he formed the LA Music Academy with Mick Morris.

His grandson Jake's band, Deep Water Horizon, are among a long list of acts performing at the gig in honour of Eddie. It will be held at the "Louis Armstrong" pub in Maison Dieu Road from 2.30pm on Bank Holiday Monday, August 27.


From the Dover Express, Thursday, 30 August, 2012. 65p. Report by Phil Hayes


TRIBUTE: Hundreds honour Eddie Clapson. Pictured centre is landlady Jackie Bowles (seated) next to Eddie's widow Sandra

Photo by Phil Medgett GIPM20120827C-001_C

THE widow of a former Dover Express photographer led tributes to her late husband at a gig held in his honour and attended by hundreds this week.

Eddie Clapson, who worked for the paper for 17 years, died of cancer at the age of 71 in February. During his retirement he had set up the LA music academy for youngsters.


These budding musicians - some as young as 12 and all deeply affected by Eddie's passing - turned out in their droves to perform at the "Louis Armstrong" pub on a hot Bank Holiday Monday and help raise money for the Pilgrim's Hospices.

On an emotional day for the Clapson family, which featured a performance by Eddie's grandson Jake, his widow Sandra said: “Today has brought back so many memories.

“We are still trying to come to terms with it. It happened so quickly. They said he had months to live, but it was only six weeks.

“I think this club has done an amazing job. Eddie would have been chuffed to bits. He did it for the kids. He would have been just so proud of them all.”

LA Music volunteer Alan Loader, who lives round the corner from where Eddie used to live in River, said: “We talk about Eddie as if he is still here with us. He was like the engine room of the academy.

“Whenever Eddie was around he just lit the place up. He had an effect on an awful lot of people.

“All the youngsters took his death very badly.”

The owner of the Louis Armstrong, Jackie Bowles, 72, currently recovering from a fractured spine, also took time to pay tribute to Eddie.

The landlady of nearly 50 years at the Maison Dieu Road pub said: “The musicians have done a wonderful job. Eddie would have been over the moon.

“He was one of the most genuine guys I've ever met. I'd like to think we've done him proud.”

While the youngsters showed off their skills inside the pub, some old friends took the chance to catch up in the beer garden, as the party ran from 2pm until after 11pm.

The atmosphere was summed up by reveller Andy Dryden, of London Road. He said: “I've been very impressed with the young talent. I haven't seen an unhappy face here today.”


From the Dover Express, Thursday, 20 September, 2012. 65p. Report by Phil Hayes and Terry Sutton


Jackie Bowles 2012

TIME, PLEASE, TO CELEBRATE: Jackie Bowles toasted 50 years of pulling pints at the Louis Armstrong at the weekend.

Epic jam session marks landlady's 50 years at the Louis

JACKIE Bowles remembers when two shillings and threepence could buy you a pint of mild and bitter at her pub.

The "Louis Armstrong" landlady celebrated 50 years at the Maison Dieu Road establishment last weekend as regulars and old friends jammed from Friday through to Sunday night.

Mrs Bowles, 72, said: “I've gone from being the youngest landlady in town to the oldest.

“Everyone was saying last night, ‘You'll be here for another 50 years'. I've no plans to pack up at the moment.”


The widow of musician Bod Bowles, who died of organ failure in 2000, took over the pub with her husband in 1962 when it was known as The "Grapes."

Bod persuaded the brewers to change the name to "Louis Armstrong" in memory of the famous trumpeter because so many customers gathered there to listen to the music.

One of the visitors on Sunday was Bill Barnacle, who used to be a member of Bod Bowles Jazz Band. Bill said: “Jackie has continued the tradition of jazz nights at the Louis every Sunday night.

“Scores of musicians have played there, going back to the days when members of the Staffordshire Regiment, then based in Dover, attracted jazz lovers.”

Mrs Bowles, who lives at the Louis with her daughter Jane and grandson Luke, said her husband would have loved to see so many friends and fellow musicians at the pub's 50th anniversary.

“He was in my thoughts a lot over the weekend,” she said.

The former maths teacher was pleased to see her pub packed over the weekend, something she says is becoming all too rare.

“When we have something special on it's good but on weekdays it's really poor,” she said. “Prices have gone up, you can't smoke indoors and you can't drive. I can understand why people stay away.”

Mrs Bowles is currently recovering from a fractured back. The mother-of-two and grandmother-of-three suffers from osteoporosis.

“I can cough and break a bone,” she said.

Asked whether she has given up cigarettes as a result, Mrs Bowles said: “No. I'm too old to worry about smoking problems.”


From the By Sam Lennon, 20 March 2019.

Jackie Bowles, landlady of the Louis Armstrong pub in Dover since 1962, dies.

Customers, musicians and fans have been plunged into mourning following the death of a town's longest-serving publican.

Jackie Bowles died last Friday morning, aged 79, after a short illness.

Her family has described her as an "irreplacable jewel in Dover's crown."

Jackie Bowles 2002

Jackie Bowles celebrating 40 years at the Louis Armstrong in 2002. Picture: Mike Waterman.

She had run the Louis Armstrong, originally with her late husband Robert "Bod" Bowles, for 57 years.

The pub, in Maison Dieu Road, is one of the best-known live music venues in the town.

The family now says it will continue as that in her honour.

Grandson Luke Jordan, 34, told KentOnline: "We kept the pub open even on the day Jackie passed away as a gesture for her.

"It is what she would have wanted.

"The family intend to keep running the pub in the same manner as Jackie had, also as a live venue.

"Customers will not expect to see a lot of change.

"The family will not sell the pub or close it."

Also carrying on in her memory is the monthly Good Vibrations acoustic evening, which was scheduled to take place as usual yesterday.

Organiser Paul Dagys said: "I am very glad I got to know Jackie in the few years I've been in Dover.

"She was always very encouraging of musicians, even the humble musical gathering called Good Vibrations that I am part of.

"Of course, this is the end of an era, but I am confident that Jane and the family will keep a great tradition going."

Good Vibrations is for folk, blues and pop acoustic music with an open mic session for audience members to take part.

It is held on the third Tuesday of every month with the follow-up on April 16 from 8pm to 10pm.

The Louis Armstrong has been a hotspot for music fans for generations, since the time the Bowles took it over in 1962.

Mr Bowles even had his own band playing there.

It has the unique feature of a mirrored wall facing bands on stage so customers around the corner of the bar can also see them.

The couple first ran the pub in September 1962 when it was The Grapes.

They renamed it the Louis Armstrong in 1972, a year after the jazz legend died.

Jackie Bowlles & Mick Morris 2009

Mrs Bowles on her 70th birthday in 2009 with musician Mick Morris. Picture provided by Mick Morris.

Jazz musician Mick Morris had known Mrs Bowles since 1962 and during the Sixties was a teenager playing in jazz jam sessions.

In the 1970s his band Mirkwood played on Friday nights at Louis and he and co-founder Jack Castle played at her 70th birthday party in 2009.

Mr Morris said: "She was a wonderful lady - very kind and generous.

"When Mirkwood played Jackie would always look after us and make us some food.

"The Louis was probably the first pub this side of London to feature regular live music, and over the years has played host to some world-famous musicians.

"It must surely be one of the few pubs anywhere in the UK that has featured live music every week, continuously for over 50 years. It may well be the only one.

"Jackie will be greatly missed by musicians all over the UK and elsewhere."

The most famous musicians at the Louis included Nick "Topper" Headon, who lives in River and was a Mirkwood drummer before he joined The Clash.

Another was Monty Sunshine, clarinet player for the Chris Barber Jazz Band.

Jazz musican Ian Shawcross, of Deal, said: "I first met Jackie and Bod in the Sixties when The Grapes was a major jazz venue and the Bod Bowles Jazz Band was a sensation every Sunday evenings.

"I feel privileged to have known Jackie for so many years and to have been given the opportunity to play with my own band, (the Ian Shawcross Band) in such a welcoming environment and friendly place."

Mrs Bowles' funeral is on Friday, April 26. The procession starts from the Louis Armstrong at 10.30am and goes to to St Paul's RC Church where a service takes place at 11am.

The committal is at Barham Crematorium at 12.40pm.

The wake will be from midday at the pub with bands playing throughout the day representing its different eras.

The family of cancer teenager Kelly Turner had continually been supported by the pub in the fundraising campaign to save her life.

The pub hosted live music shows and discos during her lifetime and after she died to save others with her rare condition.

Events had included a multi-band show in September 2016.

Kelly's father Martin Turner told the Mercury: "Jackie and the pub provided absolutely wonderful support for Kelly when she was alive and for the continuing fundraising after she passed away.

"Jacky was a wonderful lady, easy to talk to and easy to get on with. She will be greatly missed and we offer our condolences to our family."

Kelly's mum Linda Turner also paid tribute on Facebook saying: "So sad. Our condolences to Jackie's family. Wonderful lady."

Kelly Turner, of Dover, had an extremely teenage cancer called desmoplastic small round cell tumours and needed 1 million for specialist treatment in America.

Mrs Bowles had been one of the mass of people who helped in the fundraising for this.

Kelly died in November 2017, aged 17, before the target was reached but fundraising continues to save other children with her condition.

Jackie & Bod Bowles 1998

Jackie and Bod Bowles, 1998.

Jackie Bowles was born just outside Oxford on November 7, 1939.

She lived with her parents in Finchley, north London, for nine years before moving to Dover.

Mrs Bowles attended St Ursula's Convent School, leaving at 16 after becoming head girl.

From then she went to board at St Mary's Convent in Folkestone for her A Levels.

She married Bod Bowles in August 1962 and they lived in a flat next to the then Grapes.

Mr Bowles worked across the road at Dover Engineering Works and Mrs Bowles taught maths at her old school, St Mary's.

When the previous tenants left The Grapes the couple decided to take it over, with Mrs Bowles, at 22, becoming the town's youngest landlady.

It was a time when a pint of mild or bitter cost just two shillings and threepence (just over 11p)

The couple's first child Jane was born in May 1963 and their second, Sarah, in March 1965.

By this time the pub had become famous for live music in Dover.

It was rechristened the Louis Armstrong because both the couple were big jazz fans.

In 1980 the couple bought the pub from Charringtons and it became a free house.

They then knocked the two bars into one open space and created a raised stage for music to be played every night of the week except Tuesday.

Folk was played during the week, rock on Friday nights and jazz on Sundays.

Over the decades the pub was a magnet local bands from both Dover and east Kent.

Dover regulars, in the 1980s for instance, were Uncle Lumpy and the Fish Doctors, the Bill Barnacle Jazz Band and the Dover Skiffle Band.

Others playing there at the time included the Maroondogs from Folkestone and the Sleazybeats from Whitstable,

Groups using the venue in recent years have included the Dover ska band Hey Rudi and User Friendly, also from the town.

Mrs Bowles also became involved with local licensing groups and campaigned against bootlegging.

By January 1999 she was chairman of the Dover and district branch of the Licensed Victuallers Association.

She then joined a call by the drinks industry to bring UK excise duty in line with the rest of Europe to tackle a rise in beer smuggling.

Mrs Bowles argued that UK duty was too high and so encouraged the illegal resale of alcohol brought from Calais.

Mr Bowles died in October 2000 after a long illness and his widow had to carry on alone.

By September 2002 she clocked her 40th year at the Louis and at the time told the Mercury: "It's in the back of my mind to sell but I don't know if I can face the wrench.

"The pub is my life and leaving it all behind is a scary thought."

The pub continued to thrive under Mrs Bowles with the formation in April 2009 of the LA Music Club especially for eight to 20-years.

It was to encourage young people to take up music and Topper Headon became its president.

Many of these youngsters are now professional musicians.

In August 2012 the Louis held a multi-band show in memory of former local photographer Eddie Clapson, who regularly supplied the Mercury, following his death six months earlier from cancer.

The show was set up by the LA Music Club, which Mr Clapson had helped found.

Louis Armstrong mirrored wall 2012

The Louis with its distinct mirrored wall, 2012.

Family members had announced Mrs Bowles' death on Facebook on Friday afternoon.

The posting, from her children Jane and Sarah Bowles, sister Ticcy Colling and grandchildren Lucy, Rebecca and Luke Jordan, was on the Louis Armstrong page.

It said: "It is with a heavy heart that we announce our beautiful mother, sister, grandma - the legend that is Jackie Bowles passed away this morning. We hope you all know how much you meant to her

"Please raise a glass to her tonight."

By Monday afternoon a total 133 tributes had been paid.

Barbara French said on the page: "Please accept my sincere condolences. I will always have lovely memories of Jackie, beautiful lady with a big heart."

Laurence Huntley said: "Our sincerest condolences a special lady and she was always smiling. Our thoughts are with you."

Ray Newsam wrote: "So sorry to hear this, sad news about a wonderful lady who with Bod gave so much support to so many."

Karen Sheppard posted: "I can't believe it. This has made me feel very sad. Jackie and the pub were a huge part of our adolescence and she will be very very missed."

Kaz Jordan said: "I'm very sad to hear this, I will certainly be raising a glass to the lady who played such a huge part in the local music scene."

Zoe Menday commented: "Jackie was a true legend and I have so very many happy memories.

"She absolutely influenced my love of music and created such a wonderful environment where we were all free to be ourselves and create our own little community.

" A truly sad day for everyone who knew her and Dover in general."

Mick Morris posted: "Jackie was not only a wonderful person but, with Bod, made a unique contribution to our town.

"Like hundreds of other musicians I have many happy memories of the numerous occasions when we played at the Louis Armstrong.

"Some of them stretching back to the very first live music that Dover pubs had ever seen, and none of which would have been possible without Jackie."

Jackie Bowles 2012

Landlady Jackie Bowles inher 50th year at the pub, in 2012.

A written family tribute to Jackie Bowles.

"Jackie Bowles, loved by many, adored by her family and missed by all.

"She lived a full and varied life, finishing her schooling as head girl, moving on to a career she revisited several times as a maths teacher before she and Bod took on the pub.

"They transformed IT in to Dover’s premiere Jazz and live music venue, The Louis Armstrong.

From 1962 until 2019 Jackie has touched the lives of many people spanning several generations.

"Her kind words, wise counsel and passionate support given to the people she considered family has enabled countless patrons to be part of a community, many musicians to start or advance their careers and all of her loved ones to live a little more securely knowing Jackie was there for us all.

"It takes more than a successful career spanning decades to become a legend.

"Throughout all the hard work and organization Jackie still carried out all her endeavours with a style, extravagance and grace that is rare to see and hard not to admire.

"Whether it was the high fashion of her earlier years, the parties she threw that were remembered for a lifetime or the exquisite cooking that left people craving more she combined love, talent and tenacity to become an irreplaceable jewel in Dover’s crown."


From the By Beth Robson, 26 April 2019.

Funeral of Jackie Bowles, landlady of the Louis Armstrong pub in Maison Dieu Road, Dover.

Musicians from across Kent have gathered to pay their respects to a renowned land lady today.

In their tributes to Jackie Bowles, 79, singers and instramentalists remembered her for always encouraging the talents and careers of musicians who came to play at her pub, the Louis Armstrong in Dover.

Her tenure at the Maison Dieu Road venue lasted almost 57 years, and some who played there believe hers was the first pub in Kent to hold regular music nights.

She died on March 15 after fighting a short illness.

Her family has described her as an "irreplaceable jewel in Dover's crown."

Known among locals as The Louis, the Maison Dieu Road venue has been a hotspot for music fans for generations, since the time Mrs Bowles and husband Bod took it over in 1962.

It has the unique feature of a mirrored wall facing bands on stage so customers around the corner of the bar can also see them.

The couple first ran the pub in September 1962 when it was The Grapes.

They renamed it the Louis Armstrong in 1972, a year after the jazz legend died.

Mr Bowles even had his own band playing there. The family say they will continue to run the Louis in the same manner Mrs Bowles had and customers should "not expected to see much change there."

Jazz musician Ian Shawcross of Deal said: "I first met Jackie and Bod in the Sixties when The Grapes was a major jazz venue and the Bod Bowles Jazz Band was a sensation every Sunday evenings.

"I feel privileged to have known Jackie for so many years and to have been given the opportunity to play with my own band, (the Ian Shawcross Band) in such a welcoming environment and friendly place."

The procession at Mrs Bowles' funeral started from the Louis Armstrong at 10.30am and went to St Paul's RC Church for the service at 11am.

The committal was at Barham Crematorium at 12.40pm.

The wake was from midday at the pub with bands playing throughout the day representing its different eras.


From the By John James, 21 September 2019.

We visited 5 of Kent's best pubs according to CAMRA in one evening: Here's what we thought:-

We headed for Dover and visited five accredited real ale good time pubs in and around the town centre.

The beer lover’s manual of all the haunts in the country, the 2020 CAMRA guide, has been published.

It’s no surprise that Kent features heavily among the selections, with entries from across the county.

In the interests of journalism, we thought we’d try out a few.

But rather than re-visiting the usual suspects (your Canterburys, your Sevenoaks, your Tonbridges), we thought we’d go somewhere you might not normally associate with real ale.

Join me on this journey as I literally drink on the job.

Louis Armstrong, Mason Dieu Rd.

It's never to early to start if the editor demands it, so at 5pm I found myself ordering a reasonably priced (3.20) Dover Pale Ale in the Louis Armstrong.

The pub is something of a Dover institution, and is very popular on its live music nights. The interior is modelled on the pubs namesake with pictures of Louis Armstrong and other jazz icons plastered all over the walls.

Louis Armstrong stage 2019

The Music Stage.

I was getting some cool vibes. These were to get even cooler when I started talking to the regulars, some of whom have been drinking here since the 1960s.

I asked one man - who preferred not to be named - why he has kept coming back since the 60s.

"It's simple really", said the mysterious man, "the atmosphere, the music, the people and the beer."

Louis Armstrong barmaid Anita

Anita, bar lady at the Louis Armstrong.

The pub has been managed by Jane Bowles since March when her mother Jackie Bowles, one of the longest serving landlords in the country, sadly died.

They serve a modest selection of food in large portions for the reasonable price of 6.00.

To next pub on tour.



Last pub licensee had BOWLES Robert William (Bod) 1972-90

BOWLES Jackie (widow) 1990-2019 dec'd

BOWLES Jane (daughter) 19/Mar/2019-22+


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