Sort file:- Dover, January, 2023.

Page Updated:- Sunday, 22 January, 2023.

PUB LIST PUBLIC HOUSES Barry Smith and Paul Skelton

Earliest Oct 1896

Metropole Hotel

Latest 1974

(Name to)

19-21 Cannon Street and 24 New Street


Metropole Hotel

Above shows a drawing of the newly built Metropole Hotel, circa 1900.

Metropole Hotel

Above shows Cannon Street and the Metropole Hotel, date unknown. By kind permission of the Dover Library. ILL/3589. Originals belong to Mrs Dunford.

Commercial Room of Metropole Hotel

Above photo of the Commercial Room inside the Metropole Hotel, date unknown. By kind permission of the Dover Library. ILL/3588. Originals belong to Mrs Dunford.

Cannon Street and Metropole

Metropole Hotel in Cannon Street is shown on the left. Date unknown. By kind permission of Dover Library.

Tram No 3 in Canon Street

MEMENTOES of Dover Tramway: One of the first Dover trams, car No 3, with open top deck heads for Buckland from the Pier terminus near the Crosswall quay and is about to overtake a cart hauled by two horses standing outside the Metropole Restaurant which was opposite St Mary's Church. In the background can be seen the Duchess of Kent and Walmer Castle public houses standing side by side near the King Street corner of the Market Square. Behind the tram is believed to Waterloo House, the very distinctive shop of Hart & Co Incorporating a very useful public clock.


Built at a cost, including furnishings, of £17,000, following the road widening of 1893. The opening was on 18 October 1896, but failed as a successor to the "Royal oak."


Dover Express, Friday 10 May 1895.


The plans for the new hotel in Cannon Street have been prepared, and we understand it is to be called the "Hotel Metropole."


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 12 January, 1900.


William Garrett, was charged with wilfully breaking a plate glass window at 21, Cannon Street, value £8 5s., the property of Mr. Herbert Walter Alston.

Mr. D. Houlden said: At a quarter past 11 at night I was walking down Cannon Street, and when in front of Mr. Mount's shop I heard a crash of glass in front of me. Walking on I saw prisoner stand looking into the window of Mr. Alston's tailor shop under the “Metropole Hotel.” The window was then broken – a large piece crack near the bottom, but still in place. Then when I got up to prisoner he twice deliberately kicked the window, extending the cracks. After this the man stood there looking at the window not saying a word or moving. He stood quite straight, and did not seem drunk. Then somebody said, “You had better clear off from here,” and prisoner walked off, keeping straight enough. Word was sent down to the Police in the Market Square, and two came and arrested prisoner near Worthington Street. There was nothing to show the that prisoner was drunk except the vacant way in which he did it.

Prisoner said he had no question to ask.

Mr. Alston said he carried on business as tailor and outfitter at 21, Cannon Street, but lived at No. 17. They closed No. 21 soon after 8 p.m. on Monday, when all was sound with the window. There were no shutters , nor was there any blind down. About twenty past eleven the same night he was called by the Police , and went to No. 21, and there found the window broken, the piece produced (almost a semi-circle) lying back in the shop window , and the bottom part of the window was cracked. The window was insured.

Mr. F. W. Hadlow, glazier, of 1, Cranbrook Villas, London Road, said that the window was 119 inches by 80 inches, and about three-eights of an inch thick. The value of the square plate glass was £8 5s. Although the glass was not all broken, no one would undertake the replacing of the window for less than £5, as the risk of not getting the old glass out whole was very great.

Police Constable R. J. Prescott said that about 11.15 p.m. on Monday he was called to Mr. Aston's shop, where he found the plate glass window broken. Prisoner was standing in Worthington Street, and on Mr. Houlden pointing him out witness arrested him. He was suffering from the effects of drink, but could walk and speak properly. On the way to the station prisoner said that he had broken the window, and said that it was all through drink.

Prisoner made no statement.

Prisoner was committed for trial at the next Quarter Sessions, which will probably take place on February 27th.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 10 May, 1901. Price 1d.


An extension till 3 a.m. was granted to the "Metropole Hotel" for to-night, the occasion being a subscription dance organised by Mr. L. B. Watson.


From the Whitstable Times, 15 June, 1901.


In the High Court on Thursday, Mr. T. A. Terson was appointed Receiver and Manager of the "Metropole Hotel," Dover, on the application of the Debenture holders. On Friday an implication made on behalf of a body of shareholders in the Metropole Company to restrain the transfer of the hotel to Mr. Morris, of the "Shakespeare Hotel" was dismissed with costs.


From the Whitstable Times, 2 August, 1902.


The “Metropole Hotel,” Dover, was transferred for sale by auction at Tokenhouse yard, London, by Messrs. Terson and Son, on Thursday, when the bidding ran up to £9,000, at which figure the hotel was withdrawn, the reserve not having been reached.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 18 January, 1907. Price 1d.


The management of the “Metropole Hotel” was granted an extension for Thursday, January 17th, on the occasion of the Post Office annual dinner.


Dover Express 30th July 1909.


The manageress of the "Hotel Metropole" was granted an extension of an hour for the Yeomanary dinner.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 1 March, 1912. Price 1d.


The management of the "Metropole Hotel" were granted an extension from 11 p.m. on the 1st March to 2 a.m. the next day, on the occasion of a subscription dance.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 5 December, 1913. Price 1d.


An hours extension was allowed to the "Metropole Hotel," for the Dover Amateur Operatic Society to have a dance after the conclusion of "Iolanthe" on saturday.


The bars for some years were in the front of the building but in 1927 they were moved back and were replaced with a shop.


Plans for a new "Metropole Theatre" were produced in December 1905, they no doubt being the forerunner of the hall which materialised in the rear. It was a family and commercial hotel in 1911-12 but the whole passed to the Dover Motor Company in 1915 and it was then used as a garage, offices and showrooms.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 9 April, 1915. Price 1d.


At the Dover Police Court this (Friday) morning, an application for the following licence transfers were made:-

The “Metropole Hotel” from Mr. Dew, to Mr. Wraith, managing director of the Dover Motor Company. Mr. Chitty, who appeared, said that the company had acquired the place to make the hotel portion a garage and offices, the residential portion will remain the residential portion, to be occupied by Mr. Wraith and the licensed portion will have no increased drinking facilities, and there would be no new entrance.

The plans for the alterations were submitted to the bench, and passed.

Metropole Hotel Motor Co Ltd 1915

Above picture taken from the Dover Express 2 July 1915.


The Plaza picture house later utilised that hall and first opened on 1 July 1929, the upper portion became flats, at the rear, its main entrance was the former hotel one. In the years following world war two it developed as a leisure amenity for the bingo enthusiast and the bars only operated then as part of a club. It had always been a free house previously.


Dover Express 30 November 1934.


The death occurred on November 26th, at 1a, Metropole Flats, of Mr. Thomas James Selth, at the age of 56 years. The deceased was licensee of the "Metropole," Cannon Street, and was ill for only a few days. The funeral took place on Thursday, at St. Mary's Cemetery, the Rev. B. A. Whitehead officiating.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, 27 December, 1935.



At the Dover Police Court on Monday, before Messrs. W. J. Palmer and W. L. Law.

Violet Mabel Selth, licensee of the Metropole Bars, Cannon Street, was summoned for selling on 7th November at the Metropole Bars certain beer for which she was required to take out a licence.

Mr. E. Wright, Surveyor of Customs and Excise, Dover, prosecuting.

William Middlemass, an alderman of the Customs and Excise, said that at about 11 a.m. on 7th November he went to the Metropole Bars. They were open, and he paid for and consumed a retail quantity of beer, which was served to him by a young lady, whom he thought was a barmaid. The previous licence expired on 30th September. The amount of licence required up to the 1st February next was £31 5s. plus 5s. 3d. for tobacco. Witness took the usual steps in cases of this kind. He sent out the usual note on 28th September and a formal note reminder on 28th October and a subsequent letter on 7th November.

Defendant said she wrote to Mr. Middleton asking him if he could let it go until 20th December, when she hoped to be able to pay it. She had been unable to pay it before owing to bad trade and heavy expenses, and had hoped to be able to pay it with her Christmas trade. Her landlord, Mr. Solly, issued a High Court writ, and had now taken possession of the bars and of her home, and she had got nothing at all. She was not aware that the licence had gone, and she would definitely have been able to pay it before the end of the year if Mr. Solly had let her stay there. Her husband died last year, and she had had to pay ten guineas a week on his lease.

The magistrates' Clerk: You took on the premises? - When my husband died Mr. Solly and Mr. Hebden Phillips told me that the lease automatically came to me and that I must carry on. Later, I asked for a reduction in the rent, and Mr. Phillips told me that if I would cancel he lease they would reduce it. I asked how much they would reduce it. Mr. Phillips said they would tell me that after I had cancelled the lease, so I said that I would not do it.

The Chairman: What do you get for the ten guineas? - The bars and the flat upstairs. Mr. Solly took possession of the bars this morning, and my home, and I am left with nothing.

The Magistrates' Clerk said that if the landlord took over he would get the benefit of the excise licence.

Mr. E. Wright said that if the Bench made an order and the licence was transferred, the proportion of the licence money would have to be decided between the outgoing tenant and her successor in the business, but he thought his friend would not mind him saying that if the £31 10s. 3d. was paid that day my Mrs. Selth, or on her behalf, she would be credited with the value of the licence from that day.

Mr. Hebden Phillips said that was not the position, and asked to be allowed to explain how things stood.

Defendant said that if she was to transfer the licence, it meant that she still held it, yet she was charged with serving without a licence.

The Magistrates' Clerk said that charge was for selling without an excise licence. The transfer referred to the magistrates' licence.

Mr. H. J. Wright, valuer to the licensed trade, said he would like to explain the position on behalf of he defendant. There would be no money passing at the transfer. The stock had had to be handed over under the High Court writ. The rent included the fixtures and fittings, and Mr. Solly had taken possession of the furniture in the flat.

The Magistrates' Clerk: And this woman has got nothing? - No, sir.

The Magistrates' Clerk said it was manifest if they were taking over the licence they were getting the benefit of it from then until the end of the first half of the year. It was rather a said position for the defendant. She had lost her husband and had carried on for a year. Supposing the made an order that she should pay up until that day? She was going out with nothing.

Mr. E. Wright: I should have to accept it.

The Magistrates' Clerk said that if they made an order for the full amount he did not see where it was coming from.

Mr. Hebden Phillips said he would explain the position, which was really very simple. He had had to do with the Metropole for a good number of years, and knew the position immediately. When the late Mr. Selth first took over the premises he purchased only the unexpired licence duty and stock-in-trade which amounted to between three and four hundred pounds. But, whereas previous occupiers of the Metropole had paid three or four thousand pounds for the lease, Mr. Selth, in fact, paid nothing for it. Mr. Solly and Mr. Selth made an arrangement whereby they agreed on a furnished rental and no capital sum was paid for the lease. Unfortunately, when her husband died, all Mrs. Selth took over were some debts from him and she struggled hard against adverse circumstances, and had been unable to meet that liability. If the Court made an order that day that she should pay the licence duty, she had used it for three months, and in view of the amount of money she owed Mr. Solly for dilapidations and rent, she would not be receiving back from Mr. Solly anything at all. But Mr. Solly was in Court, and would give an undertaking that if the licence were transferred to him he would, within an hour, take over and pay off the first half of the licence from 1st October, and defendant would not have to pay anything at all, and if defendant could be let off he would be intensely pleased. They had got possession that morning, and what was done with the furniture Mrs. Selth had left was entirely Mr. Solly's business. He had an order for it, but they could rest assured he would treat her perfectly fairly, and nobody would have a grouse.

Defendant: Has Mr. Solly got an order for my furniture?

Mr. Hebden Phillips said there was an order by default. There was a big sum owing for dilapidations and for rent, but they desired to be perfectly fair to Mrs. Selth in all the circumstances, and they would give an undertaking to pay the licence from the 1st October. She had agreed in writing to the transfer.

The Magistrates' Clerk: Do you agree to this transfer?

Defendant: Yes, I cannot do anything else.

The Magristrates' Clerk (to Mr. Wright): If the magistrates make no order on this summons, and agree to the transfer of the licence to Mr. Solly, will that satisfy you on Mr. Phillips undertaking that the excise will be paid?

Mr. E. Wright: I am instructed to take for a penalty to cover the amount so that the money will be paid to you and we shall feel secure.

The Magistrates' Clerk: It seems a very unfortunate position for her.

Mr. E. Wright said that he recognised that, but they would like some small penalty to mark the case.

The Chairman said there would be a penalty of £32, of which £31 10s. 3d. would be for the excise, so the defendant would have to find 9s. 9d.

Mr. Hebden Phillips: I will pay that/

Defendant: No you won't.

Mr. E. Wright: I will report to my Commissioners that the penalty is £32, and the licence is to be issued from that £32.

The Chairman: Yes.

The Magistrates' Clerk: The licence is transferred to Mr. Solly.

Mr. Hebden Phillips paid the £31 10s. 3d. into court.



A description of the property in 1962, when it was offered to the highest bidder with an unexpired lease of twenty five years, gave fifteen flats, show rooms, offices, bars and a shop. Nobody was attracted. The reserve price of £14,000 was not reached. Very dilapidated looking as I type this in March 1990 and to the best of my knowledge awaiting demolition.


Demolition never happened and it has now been bought by J W Wetherspoon and reopened as the "Eight Bells" in April 1997.


When the flats above the "Eight Bells" were left empty, passers-by claimed to hear the sounds of a woman singing coming from them.

It is believed that the singing was a young woman named Adele. Adele was said to meet her lover at the Metropole Hotel before he married his fiancée during the Second World War.

Adele later volunteered as a nurse where she was killed at the front line. Later, her best friend claims to her seen her in her hotel room. When she went to greet her with a hug, Adele disappeared.


From the Dover Express, 14 September 2006.

Metropole Hotel

New lease of life for historic former hotel.

Metropole before renovation

Above picture shows the place before renovation.

THE first tenants are expected to move into the refurbished Metropole building in Dover town centre by the end of this year.

The renovation of the former hotel - which had been empty and derelict for more than 15 years - is being highlighted as a good example of what can be done under the No Use Empty initiative, which aims to bring empty properties back into use.

Metropole entrance 2006 The building, in Cannon Street, had become an eyesore, attracting squatters and vandals.

But due to the efforts of Dover District Council's empty property officer John Day the dilapidated building has been granted a new lease of life.

The building was purchased with the intention of conversion, but the new owners were unable to meet the necessary costs required to transform the large former hotel into new flats.

The council made a significant contribution to meet the renovation costs and work is currently under way on the property to convert it into 28 one and two-bedroom flats.

The new accommodation will be managed by a local housing association.

Dover, along with three other district councils in East Kent - Thanet, Shepway and Swale - has signed up to the No Use Empty campaign, which is supported by Kent County Council.

Metropole before renovation

Metropole stairs before renovation.

It was launched in November 2005 with the aim of bringing back into use some of the 9,000 empty properties across the region.

Empty properties can cause significant problems in communities, by attracting antisocial behaviour, and can devalue surrounding properties. They are also a waste of a valuable housing resource and deprive people of a much needed home.

Leaving a property empty is a drain on the financial resources of the owner and the cost of bringing empty properties back into use is often less than owners might think.

Metropole room after revovation

One of the Metropole rooms after renovation.


From the Dover Mercury, 9 November 2006.

HERITAGE: Conversion into flats preserves historic building.

New lease of life.

A FORMER historic hotel in the heart of Dover has been converted to flats to rent after a £1.5million urban renewal project.

The former Metropole Hotel, in Cannon Street, has been converted into 29 flats.

Built in 1895, the Metropole has had a number of uses over the years, including a cinema and a bar. The top three storeys had been empty for more than 15 years until the renovation project, which was boosted by an Empty Properties Grant of more than £200,000 from Dover District Council.

The ground floor is used as a pub, the "Eight Bells", and shops, but these are entirely separate from the flats, which have their own entrance to the building.

The project, by Lillydale Properties and Town and Country Housing Group, has retained one of Dover's landmark buildings and revitalised the town centre as a place to live.

Town and Country spokeswoman Wendy Bishop said it was fitting that a hotel where excited travellers would once spend their last night before departing for the continent was now providing a place where people could build their futures.

"The Metropole has enjoyed a very varied existence and the new use is one which will really benefit the people of the town by providing quality flats in a very central location," said Mrs Bishop.

"Towns should treasure their architectural heritage and this project has ensured that part of Dover's distinctive past is preserved."

The monthly rents for the one and two bedroom unfurnished flats range from £350 to £480.

The flats are being marketed through the Accommodation Shop, Dover, telephone 0845 408 3411 (low call rate).


Metropole Bar side entrance

Notice the painted sign for the Metropole Bars still showing and advertising Mackinson Stout, above the side entrance. The doorway being their side door to the bars.

Metropole sign

Paul Wells kindly sent me this better photograph of the above painted sign and says that he "shot up some scaffolding a couple of years ago to get a better look." So glad he did.

Metropole Bar side entrance

Today the large white doors are the fire exit for the "Eight Bells" near their toilets.

Above two photos by Paul Skelton, 12 August 2009


Metropole Hotel 2015

Above photo 2015.

Metropole artists studio 1935

Above photo showing a studio inside the hotel. Roger Hurst says the following:- My family lived in the building in the 1930’s and the first part of WW2. My grandfather, John William Bendall Searles (known as ‘Jack’), had a commercial artists business studio in the large room which later became an auction room. The photo of his studio probably taken about 1935/6. The business was “East Kent Poster Services”. Amongst other commercial work he made advertising for films and cinemas in the area.

My Great-grandmother, Lucy Matson, ran a billiard hall in the rear of the building in the years after WW2.


I am informed by Graham Mills whose uncle was licensee between 1964 and 1974. There was a bar upstairs named "Harry's bar" where my uncle held out of hours late night lock-ins!. Also, inside what is now the "Eight Bells" there is still a panelled wall of which the old lift was still behind it, but obviously no longer in operation.



MARSH Mr A E to Aug/1901 Dover Express (Secretary of Company)

Last pub licensee had MORRIS Mr Wayman John or Joseph Aug/1901+ Dover Express (Metropole Bars)

TERSON Herbert William to June/1905 Dover Express

DEW Frederick Charles June/1905+ Dover Express (Of Dover Theatre)

BLANCHETTE WaIter Ernest previous to 1907


HIGGINS Miss S 1910

SMITH 1913

SMITH Miss F 1914

DEW 1915 end

WRAIGH Percy George 1915-22 Post Office Directory 1922

HARLAND B 1916 ?

STEFF H E 1917 ?

GORE James Leonard 1921-23 end Pikes 1923

WOOLRIDGE Arthur 1923-Jan/26 Dover ExpressPikes 1924

Last pub licensee had SOLLEY Albert Edward Jan/1926-Oct/31 Dover ExpressPost Office Directory 1930

SELTH Thomas James dec'd Oct/1931-Nov/34 Pikes 1932-33

SELTH Mrs Violet Mabel (widow) Nov/1934-Jan/36 end Dover Express

SOLLEY Albert Edward Jan/1936-46 end Dover ExpressPost Office Directory 1938Pikes 1938-39 (Former Caterer)

RICHARDS B early 1946 Dover Express

SPOONER T W to Jun/1946 Dover Express

PEEK A H Jun/1946-56+ Dover ExpressKelly's Directory 1950Kelly's Directory 1953Kelly's Directory 1956

DENNIS Edward George 1953 end ?

WHITE Graham R 1959

WHITE Mrs E 1961

MILLS Harry J 1964-74 Library archives 1974 Owned by Central Commercial Properties

JEFFERIES Michael and Diane 1974 (Metropole Hotel)


Post Office Directory 1922From the Post Office Directory 1922

Pikes 1923From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1923

Pikes 1924From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1924

Post Office Directory 1930From the Post Office Directory 1930

Pikes 1932-33From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1932-33

Post Office Directory 1938From the Post Office Directory 1938

Pikes 1938-39From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1938-39

Kelly's Directory 1950From the Kelly's Directory 1950

Kelly's Directory 1953From the Kelly's Directory 1953

Kelly's Directory 1956From the Kelly's Directory 1956

Library archives 1974Library archives 1974

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:-