Page Updated:- Monday, 29 May, 2023.


Earliest 1934+

(Name from)


Open 2023+

The Street


01227 830581

Mermaid 1941

Above photo, 1941, from Historic England, kindly sent by Tim Timpson.

Marmaid 1960

Above photo 25 August 1960, kindly sent by Clive Bowley.

Mermaid 2001

Above photo showing the floods in February 2001. Kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Mermaid at Bishopsbourne Mermaid at Bishopsbourne Mermaid sign at BishopsbourneMermaid sign 1986

Photos left by Paul Skelton, 22 Aug 2008.

Mermaid Inn sign right August 1986 with thanks from Brian Curtis

Mermais Inn sign 1960sMermaid signature

Above inn sign kindly sent by Elaine Bagnall, the black area at the top has been painted over and used to say Flowers. Although I haven't seen this pub under that franchise before. The top right also shown this identification mark. I am not totally convinced this was from this pub though. Now Sheps, I assume it was previously Fremlins, who were taken over by Whitbread who also took over Flowers (and intentions of every brewery in the world apparently).

Mermaid 2018

Above photo, April 2018, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Bichopsbourne map 1900

Above map 1900.

Bishopsbourne map 1913

Above map 1913.


The pub was built in 1861 as a tap house for estate workers and was originally known as the "Lions Head".

When Sir John Prestige acquired the estate, the name was changed to the Mermaid because a mermaid featured on Sir John's coat of arms.

An entry in Fremlin's 1950s publication called "Where shall we go," indicated the following:- Parking accommodation - Pull-in for 2 coaches, Lunch - 10 (2 days notice) Remarks - Piano available. Where Joseph Conrad lived and died.

The pub was extended in 1968.

While Jack Creed was licensee the beer was still drawn from  the wood down in the cellar.


Kent Gazette, 14 June 1974.

Solicitor Restored.

Bishopsbourne licensee, Mr. Tony Aldington, had his name restored to the solicitor's roll at the Law Socoety's Disciplinarian Committee meeting in London on Wednesday.

Mr. Aldington, licensee of the "Mermaid Inn," was struck off in May, 1965, for misusing client's funds.

He told the committee that in 1964 he had a brain tumour and subsequently suffered a series of slight strokes and which had made a slow recovery.

Mr. Aldington said that, with increasing age and failing health he doubted whether he could carry on at the "Mermaid Inn" and wished to return to the law.

The committee said they would restore his name to the role because no client had suffered any loss and also because of his age and state of health.


From an email received 13 June 2012

Regarding your list of licensees for the "Mermaid" at Bishopsbourne, one long-standing one was Tony Aldington, landlord until around 1976.

He was the brother of the writer Richard Aldington ('Death of a Hero'), and this was not the only literary connexion the pub has enjoyed: the Folkestone wine-merchant family of Jocelyn Brooke ('The Orchid Trilogy') had a weekend cottage in Bishopsbourne, and Brooke describes this pub (as well as a thinly-disguised "Jolly Sailor" at Capel-le-Ferne in his novel 'Image of a Drawn Sword'). And then of course there is Joseph Conrad, who lived the last years of his life in Bishopsbourne, and certainly echoes the snug bar of the "Mermaid" in several pieces.

Andrew Heritage.

Joseph Conrad was a Polish-British writer regarded as one of the greatest novelists to write in the English language. Though he did not speak English fluently until his twenties, he became a master prose stylist who brought a non-English sensibility into English literature.


From the By KentOnline reporter, 29 February 2016.

Kent residents celebrating Leap Year birthdays.

When Jackie Archer celebrates her 15th birthday today, she will look back on a surprisingly full life for one of such apparent tender years.

Despite being three years short of the legal drinking age, the grandmother ran a village pub for 10 years and works behind the bar at Canterbury Rugby Club.

But what makes this ‘teenager’ special is that she is one of a rare group of people born in a leap year, who celebrate their birthdays on February 29. So while friends will send her joke happy 15th birthday cards, she will actually be marking her 60th.

Jackie Archer 2016

Jackie, who lives in Barham, is the former landlady of the Mermaid Inn at Bishopsbourne and was Brown Owl of Barham Brownies for 20 years.

She said: “It’s been fun being born on February 29 – people find it quite amusing and it’s nice to be a bit different.

“I usually celebrate on the 28th, even though I had one aunt who insisted sending me a card just once every four years.

“I am the youngest and only girl of six children, so I was always made a bit more of a fuss of when I was growing up.

“My husband Steve gets a bit of stick about being married to a teenager, but there are practical difficulties – like when you fill in a form online and it doesn’t give the option to select February 29 for my birthday.”


Renowned for its real ale, The Mermaid has appeared in the Campaign for Real Ale's (CAMRA's) Good Beer Guide for 18 successive years.



PEACOCK Mrs H to Sept/1946 Dover Express

SCOTT Douglas L Sept/1946+ Dover Express

CREED Jack early 60s to (Aldington)

Last pub licensee had ALDINGTON Tony Dec/1970-74+

RELF Colin & Bunty to (Archer)

ARCHER Steve & Jackie 2008-13+


Dover ExpressFrom the Dover Express


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