Sort file:- Whitstable, August, 2021.

Page Updated:- Thursday, 05 August, 2021.

PUB LIST PUBLIC HOUSES Paul Skelton & Stuart Axford

Earliest 1858-


19 July 1911

2 Middle Wall (Island Wall)



One time Flints tied house and ceased trading on 19th July 1911 when the license was revoked.

The building was compulsorily purchased in 1937 by Whitstable Urban District Council and demolished in 1940 in order to widen the junction with Island Wall.

Research done by Stuart Axford says the following:- The earliest reference I have found to this pub is in Melville & Co's Directory & Gazetteer of Kent from 1858. Since it is almost inconceivable that a Whitstable pub would have been named after this formerly obscure river with its source in the Crimean mountains prior to the victory of the Anglo-French forces against the Russians there in the first Crimean War on 20th September 1854, one has to assume that it was named somewhat after that date. In 1858, the landlord was a William Solly who in the 1851 census had been recorded as the deputy harbour master.

After William Solly’s death, the pub was run by his widow Amelia, when it seems to have acquired something of a reputation for after-hours drinking for which she was charged in 1862 and 1863. By the early 1900s it seems to have been a fairly unsuccessful ale house, owned by Canterbury brewers Flint & Co., with a rapid turnover of landlords, almost all of whom were retired mariners or men associated with the maritime trade. Its future came under serious question in the license renewal process in both 1903 and 1911. In 1903 it succeeded in its appeal against the refusal to renew its licence largely on the grounds that it was not a cause of trouble, and the landlord had invested a not insignificant amount of his own money in refurbishments. Its luck ran out in 1911, when on 19th July that year it lost its appeal against the refusal to renew its license. In October that year, owners Flint & Co. were compensated 485, and landlord John Faram 60 for the loss of the license.

By 1917 it was listed as a private house, called “Alma”, and it is similarly referred to in a 1924 newspaper report of an assault at the premises. In 1926, when it was offered for sale by auction by Flint & Co., the Alma was a private house described as “the brick-built Corner Premises situated at the junction of Island Wall and Middle Wall, Whitstable, used as private dwellings and known as Alma House and Alma Cottage”.


1861. Amelia Solly Kentish Chronicle 14-12-1861 Man charged with obtaining money by false pretences from Amelia Solly, landlady of the Alma beer house.

1861. Amelia Solly 1861 Census Widow, Publican’s wife, aged 45, born Seasalter Kent. Also at the address, Martha Solly, daughter aged 9 (born Whitstable, Kent); Martha Rigden, servant aged 17 (born Seasalter, Kent); John Brat, lodger aged 35, labourer (born Woodnesborough, Kent).

1862. Amelia Solly Kentish Gazette 26-08-1862; East Kent Times 30-08-1862; Maidstone & Kentish Journal 02-09-1862 Landlady Amelia Solly charged with serving after hours.

1863. Amelia Solly Kentish Chronicle 07-03-1863; Kentish Gazette 03-03-1862 Amelia Solly, keeper of the Alma, fined for serving after hours.

1865. Richard Charles Beal Kentish Chronicle 09-09-1865 Application for new license by Richard Charles Beal.

1867. Mr. Rigden Whitstable Times 31-08-1867; Kentish Chronicle 07-09-1867 Accident involving Emmeline, daughter of Mr. Rigden of the Alma Tavern, Wall.

[1871. James Foad 1871 Census Oyster Dredger, aged 41, born Seasalter, Kent. The recorder of this section of the 1871 census unfortunately did not record the names of public houses. However, the section is described “Part of the Parish of Whitstable from and including the Alma Public House ….” Meaning that the Alma should be the first property listed.]

1874. William Friars Post Office Directory 1874.

1878. William Fryer Whitstable Times 06-04-1878 Landlord William Fryer convicted of selling beer during prohibited hours (fined 5 and costs).

1878. William Fryer Whitstable Times 13-04-1878 Subsequent charge against customers (Edward Rigden, Robert Bright, Thomas Pushby, James Marsh, George Strood, Edward Roberts, William Warman, George Putwain, Thomas Sheppard and Emma Warner).

1878. Whitstable Times 20-04-1878 Subsequent charge against customer Thomas Pashby.

1880. Valentine Ellen Whitstable Times 11-12-1880 Landlord Valentine Ellen summoned for tearing the coat of customer Henry Solsby, who Ellen alleged owed him money, in a fracas. Case dismissed.

1881. Valentine Ellen 1881 Census Publican, aged 49, b. Bishopbourn, Kent.

1882. Valentine Ellen Kelly’s Directory 1882 Address: Middlewall.

1891. Alfred Samuel Rogers Kelly’s Directory 1891 Address: Middle Wall.

1891. Thomas Newing 1891 Census Licensed Victualler, aged 53, b. Whitstable, Kent.

1892. George Attmore Whitstable Times 02-07-1892 George Attmore named as the landlord of the Alma and also owner of a store implicated in a theft of oysters from the oyster beds of the Ham and Seasalter Oyster Fishery Company.

1892. Whitstable Times 09-07-1892 Judas Maccabeus Olive, mariner, Allen Rigden, fisherman and Heighmore Charles Newing, fisherman, found guilty of stealing oysters from the oyster beds of the Ham and Seasalter Oyster Fishery Company, later concealed in the storehouse of the Alma.

1893 George Attmore Whitstable Times 30-12-1893 John Thomas Knowles Iddenden charged with breaking a pane of glass belonging to George Attmore, landlord of the Alma Inn.

1899. James Hawkett Pike’s Blue Book 1899 Address: 2 Middle Wall.

1903. William Down Kelly’s Directory 1903 Address: Island Wall.

1903. William Down Whitstable Times 21-02-1903 Licensing appeal hearing – owned by Flint & Sons, landlord a former shipwright, licence transferred in 02-1902. Customers mostly sailors. Tied for beer, but free for spirits, did not sell tea, coffee or food.

1903. William Down Whitstable Times 25-04-1903; Canterbury Journal, Kentish Times and Farmers' Gazette 25-04-1903 Hearing of an appeal for the non-renewal of license. Appeal allowed due to the fact this was a well kept house with no police problems and the landlord would suffer unfair loss if the license was revoked.

1903. William Down Whitstable Times 02-05-1903 Hearing of an appeal for the non-renewal of license. A committee of Justices convened in 11-1902 had determined that there were 20 too many licensed premises in Whitstable (out of 46 in total – 33 ale houses, 8 beer houses, 5 grocers and off licenses). Alma described as a cottage turned into a public house, selling 3 barrels a week as at 11-1902. Police evidence that not a disreputable house. Current landlord had spent 120 on a new bar, new windows and general alterations. Landlord formerly a shipwright in Ramsgate. Licensing appeal allowed – magistrates thought there would be an injustice if license take away.

1904. William Down/ James Philpott Whitstable Times 17-12-1904 Temporary transfer of license from William Down to James Philpott on Saturday 11-12-1904.

1906. James Philpott / Richard John Foreman Whitstable Times 27-10-1906 License transferred last Saturday from James Philpott to Richard John Foreman.

1907. Richard John Foreman/ Edward White Whitstable Times 30-03-1907 License transferred last Saturday from Richard John Foreman to Edward White.

1911. Whitstable Times 18-02-1911 Justices to consider the renewal of 5 licenses in Whitstable: The Alma, the King’s Head, the Brewery Tap, the Star and the Golden Lion. Hearing set for 11-03-1911.

1911. John Farem (sic) Whitstable Times 18-03-1911; Canterbury Journal, Kentish Times and Farmers' Gazette 25-04-1903 Application for renewal of license. Licensee John Farem (sic) had held the license since 11-1909 and there had been 4 previous transfers since 1901. Owners Flint & Co. of Canterbury. Comprises a beer department divided into 3 and a public parlour. “Used by tradespeople and the labouring class”. Noted that there were 8 other licensed premises within 118 yards (Pearson’s, 66; King’s Head, 69; Duke of Cumberland, 73, Bear & Key, 76; Prince Albert, 111; Smack, 112; Prince of Wales, 115; Naval Reserve, 118. No complaint about the conduct. Total trade: 1907-8 – 64 barrels 31 gallons, 1908-9 – 37 barrels 4.5 gallons, 1909-10 – 145 barrels. Landlord formerly a ship’s carpenter who had moved from London, so he did business with the sailors and fishermen.

1911. John Faram Dover Express 04-08-1911 Notice for application for compensation following failure to renew license.

1911. John Faram 1911 Census Publican, aged 58, b. Blackwall, London.

1911. John Faram Whitstable Times 21-10-1911; Canterbury Journal, Kentish Times and Farmers' Gazette 21-10-1911 Brewers Flint & Co. compensated 485, and landlord John Faram 60 for the loss of the license.

1917. Now a private house called Alma, occupied by a Miss Tranter (G. M. F. Blue Book: 1917-1918).

1919. Now a private house called Alma, occupied by a Miss Tranter (G. M. F. Blue Book: 1919-1920).

1924. Report in Whitstable Times 13-09-1924 of an assault on Grace Hook, wife of Edward Hook, seaman of Alma House, Whitstable.

1926. Sale by Messrs. Flint & Co, and the executors of T. W. Knight of (Lot 1) Kingsdown, 16 Island Wall (formerly King’s Head) and the brick-built corner premises known as Alma House and Alma Cottage at the junction of Island Wall and Middle Wall; and (Lot 2) 70 Island Wall.

1937. Notice of compulsory purchase order of the Alma, Alma Cottage and adjoining land (Whitstable Times 07-08-1937).

1940. Notice in relation to the Island Wall (Alma Corner) Compulsory Purchase Order, 1937 (Whitstable Times 21-12-1940).


From the Kentish Chronicle and General Advertiser, 14 December, 1861. Price 1 1/2d.


Thomas Wanstall, a costermonger, of St, Peter's-lane, Canterbury, was charged with obtaining money from Amelia Solly, at Whitstable, under false pretences.

Prosecutrix, the landlady of the “Alma” public-house, said that the prisoner came to her house about half-past twelve on Thursday, with another man, and ordered a pint of beer, which they drank at the bar door. The other man then took out a watch and said that was all he had got to pay it with, for he had been out of work for some time. Prisoner asked witness to let him have 35s, which she refused to do. The two men then talked aside for a few minutes, after which the prisoner asked her to let him have 10s., and she should have the watch for a security. Witness gave prisoner the 10s., which he handed over to the other man, but would not give up the watch. He repeatedly said that he would go and get the money, and they soon after left the house. Witness went a man named Haverson after them, either to get the money or to give them into custody. About five o'clock the prisoner came to witness’s house, and she told him the prisoner came to witness’s house, and she told him he had better pay the money, as the police were after him. He then took 2s. out or his pocket, and said that that was all he had got. Half an hour afterwards he came and paid witness 5s. more, and said that he only owed her 3s. Witness said that he had better pay all, or the policemen would take him into custody. Soon afterwards the prisoner called her into the bar and gave her the 3s.

It appeared from the statement of Superintendent Walker that the accused, with the other man (who was at present out of the way), had been to a number of other public-houses at Whitstable, one offering the watch for sale, and the other trying to borrow money to buy it with. After the transaction with the witness Solly, the prisoner and his companion proceeded to the railway-station, and as the train had started they tried to induce the station master to allow them to go on the engine, as they wanted to get to Canterbury. Not succeeding in their subject, the prisoner was afterwards met by Haverson, who told him that the police were after him and then took him back to the “Alma.”

The Bench discharged the accused, as there were great doubts whether a jury would convict after the evidence of the prosecutrix.


From the Maidstone and Kentish Journal, 2 September 1862.


Amelia Jolley, the landlady of the “Alma” beerhouse, at Whitstable was charged before the St. Augustine magistrates with having her house open for the sale of beer after eleven o’clock on the night of Sunday, the 3rd of August.

P.C. Bates. K.C.C. deposed that at twelve on the night in question he went up to the front dour of the “Alma” beerhouse and heard persons talking inside. He then looked through the window and saw five men drinking. One of the men was a sawyer at Whitstable, but witness did not know his name. He then went to the side door and knocked, when he heard Mrs. Solley say. “Hush, there’s someone at the door.” He knocked again, and Mrs. Solley asked who was there. He replied, “The policeman,” and then he heard her say “Run up stairs, there’s a policeman at the door.” When he got in he saw a number of mugs on the table, one of which contained a small quantity of beer. Mr. Delasaux then addressed the Bench for the defendant, and said that the cause of this offence was that a young man named Burgess had some brother sawyers from Faversham to spend the day with him, and took them to the public-house to sleep at night, and he stayed with them till the policeman came. He would prove that there was no beer drawn after ten minutes before eleven at night. He culled Henry Burgess and one of the Faversham men as witness, and both of them deposed that no beer was supplied after eleven o’clock. The Bench after some consideration, determined to dismiss the case, but the Chairman said that it was a case of grave suspicion, which was heightened by the defendant going to the policeman’s house and asking him to forgive her. This was not the act of innocent person.


From the Kentish Chronicle, 7 March, 1863.


Amelia Solley, the keeper of the “Alma” beer house at Whitstable, was charged with having her house open after 11 o’clock, on the night of the 2lst February.

As in the last case the information was laid by Supt. Walker, and it was proved by a policeman that the defendant, who is a widow, opened the door of her house and served some beer to a woman named Goulden at twenty minutes past 11 o'clock, on the night in question. It was also stated that the defendant had been previously convicted, and the Bench inflicted a fine of 1 and costs.



SOLLY William 1858-61+

SOLLEY Amelia (widow) 1861- 62+ age 45 in 1861Census)

BEAL Richard Charles 1865+

RIGDEN Mr 1867+

FRIARS William 1874-78+

ELLEN Valentine 1880-82 (age 49 in 1881Census)

KNIGHT Harry 1889+?

ROGERS Alfred Samuel 1890-91

NEWING Thomas 1891+ (age 53 in 1891Census)

ATTMORE Thomas 1892-93+

KNIGHT Harry 1894 (Whitstable list 1894)

HAWKETT James 1899+

WEBB James 1901+ (age 31 in 1901Census)

DOWN William 1902-03+ Kelly's 1903

PHILPOTT James 11/Dec/1904-20/Oct/06

FOREMAN Richard John 20/Oct/1906–23/Mar/07

WHITE Edward 23/Mar/1907–23/Nov/09

FARAM John 23/Nov/1909-19/July/09 (age 58 in 1911Census)


Kelly's 1903From the Kelly's Directory 1903



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