Sort file:- Whitstable, September, 2023.

Page Updated:- Thursday, 28 September, 2023.


Earliest 1690

Two Brewers

Open 2023+

72 Canterbury Road (Long Reach 1851Census)


01227 272150

Two Brewers painting

Above painting, date and painter unknown.

Two Brewers 1888

Above postcard, circa 1888, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Two Brewers

Above postcard, date unknown.

Two Brewers 1902

Above postcard, circa 1902, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Two Brewers 1903

Above postcard, circa 1903, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Presumably taken in the month of September, as the photo shows carts loaded with hop-pickers and their families on their way from the railway station to local farms.

Two Brewers

Above photo, date unknown.

Two Brewers

Above photo, 1909, by Douglas West.

Two Brewers 1909

Above postcard, 1909, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe. This is a coloured version of the one above.

Two Brewers 1909

Above postcard, circa 1909, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Two Brewers 1930

Above photo, circa 1930 showing licensee Arthur Bertram outside. Kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Two Brewers 2010

Photo taken 18 August 2010 from by Jelltex.

Two Brewers 2023

Above photo 2023, kindly sent by Pippa Axford.

Two Brewers 2023

Above photo 2023, kindly sent by Pippa Axford.

Two Brewers sign 1991

Above sign, July 1991.

With thanks from Brian Curtis


Current licensee (2023) Pippa Axford, tell me that the building started out as farm cottages on the main road into town, they were then sold for 25 and turned into an inn in 1690.

In the 17th century the building was a cottage, becoming an alehouse in 1690 when the licensee was Thomas Wright. Flint's Brewery bought the premises in 1825 and by 1860 it was being run by Stephen Saddleton, who also ran the forge over the road. I believe Arthur Bertram took the "Two Brewers" in 1923, just in time for the Flint's takeover by Leney's, then, a couple of years later, the Leney/Fremlin merger.

Apparently, the pub claims to be Whitstable's oldest licensed house, having an unbroken record of serving customers since 1723. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the pub lay opposite open land, then known as Grince Green, which hosted the Oyster Dredgermen's Fair. This was held on St. James's Day (25th July) and the Whitstable Oyster Festival website states that this annual celebration of oysters goes as far back as 1328. The "Two Brewers" was also the place where cock horses could be hired, in order to help pull heavy carts and wagons up Borstal Hill.

When the pub started serving by 1723, it's possible that this house was tied to Messrs. Fenner & Flint, of Stour Street, Canterbury, so perhaps these gentlemen were the brewers in question? Fenner & Flints brewery was closed down in January 1850 and its tied estate of 33 pubs was sold at auction which, presumably, is when Flint's St. Dunstan's Brewery acquired the "Two Brewers."

The theatrical impresario, Arthur Bertram ran the pub for over 30 years from about 1925 till 1956.


Kentish Chronicle, 26 May , 1829.

On Saturday last, a party of the Coast blockade have been from Whitstable to this City to receive their pension; and on their return they went into the "Two Brewers" public house, at Whitstable, in a riotous manner challenging the company to fight &c. There been a party of navigators at the house, a general affray ensued, in which several of both parties were severely wounded.


South Eastern Gazette, 18 October 1853.


Oct. 12, at Whitstable, Mr. James Allen, for many years landlord of the "Two Brewers Inn," aged 68 years.


From the Kentish Chronicle, 15 August, 1863.



Robert Gibbard, a labourer, was charged with assaulting P.C. Oliver whilst in he execution of his duty at Whitstable. The constable stated that between two and three o’clock on Thursday morning he was a number of persons assembled outside the “Two Brewers Inn.” Prisoner was making a disturbance, and witness advised him to go away, but he refused, became violent, and struck him. He was sentenced to 21 days’ hard labour.


From the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald. 29 June 1867. Price 1d.

Caution to Players at Pitch and Toss.

On Monday last a boy 13 years of age, named Osborn Fairbrass, was taken before W. Plummer, Esq., at Canterbury, by P.C. Thornington, charged with playing at pitch and toss on Sunday evening, in the footpath close to the “Two Brewers." He was reprimanded and discharged, but Mr. Plummer stated, that if any other boys appear before him for a similar offence they will be severely punished.


From the Whitstable Times, 29 June, 1901.


James Foulds of the "Two Brewers," Whitstable, was summoned for having three unjust measures in his possession on the 11th inst.

Mr. B. G. Walthew appeared for defendant, who pleaded guilty.

John Welfare, Inspector of Weights and Measures for the Home Division, stated that the two quart jugs produced were one fluid ounce one dram short, and one fluid ounce three drams short respectively, whilst the glass was three drams short.

Mr. Walthew submitted that it was a case of inadvertence the measures being on defendant’s premises. He had been in the house two years, and they were part of the old stock he took from a former tenant. They were not used for measuring anything, but unfortunately had beet left hanging up in the bar. He asked the Bench to deal as leniently as they could with defendant.

The Inspector said that 42 other measures in the house were correct.

There was another summons against defendant for the measures being unstamped, but with the consent of the Bench this was withdrawn.

The Bench imposed a fine of 20s. and costs 11s. 3d. and ordered the measures to be forfeited.


Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald 3 April 1926.

As a result of the election on Saturday there is only one change in the constitution of the Whitstable Urban District Council, Mr. Arthur Bertram Wilson taking the place of Mr. George Knowles, the latter losing his seat in the West Ward. Many will regret that Mr. Knowles did not secure re-election because he has proved himself an able Councillor and during his term of office has occupied the chair and in that capacity carried out the duties with considerable success.

But all is fair in love and war—and in elections, and the unexpected often happens. While regretting that Mr. Knowles did not obtain re-election, because we recognise he was an excellent Councillor, we welcome the election of Mr. Arthur Bertram Wilson as a man who ought to prove a most useful member of the Council. He has a vast business, experience and as a member of the Whitstable Horse Show Committee last year showed that he possesses enterprise and push, and these characteristics should stand him in good stead in helping to conduct the public affairs of the town.

Councillor Bertram and niece Peggy 1926

Above photo showing Councillor Bertram and his niece Peggy, who is at college at St. Leonards.

It is interesting to recall that Mr. Arthur Bertram Wilson (who has always been known professionally as Arthur Bertram) has been in the theatrical business for forty years and that during that time he has managed nearly every West End theatre, including the Savoy, the Royalty, the Apollo, the Queen’s, the Garrick, the Lyric, the Kingsway, the Comedy, the Prince of Wales’, the Criterion, and the New. In 1897 he was lessee and manager of the old Strand Theatre and at one time had seven companies on tour under his direction. He has been business manager for Sir Johnstone Forbes-Robertson, Sir John Martin Harvey, Sir John Hare, the late Mr. H. H. Irving (for ten years), Mr. Arthur Bourchier, Mrs Patrick Campbell, Miss Marie Tempest, Miss Olga Nethersole, Mr. Browne Potter, Miss Elis Jeffreys, Miss Peggy O'Neill, the late Mr. Weedon Grossmith, and the late Sir Charles Hawtrey.

Born at Greenwich and thus a Kentish man our new Councillor at the age of seventeen dropped the name of Wilson, and his brothers and sisters who followed him on the stage have all taken the name of Bertram. By the name of Bertram he has been known for very many years, but in order to save any misunderstanding afterwards he naturally contested the election in his real name, that of Wilson. As there have been some questions asked respecting the names of Bertram and Wilson this explanation will no doubt satisfy the curiosity of some of the townspeople.

As the part author of several plays Mr. Bertram (we prefer to know him by his professional name) was reasonable for "The Convict’s Daughter," which ran for twelve years at London suburban theatres and in the provinces and also "The Story of Winifred."

Councillor Bertram is a most interesting man and his theatrical reminiscences are always worth listening to. During the war he was managing the Savoy Theatre and during an air raid one night the late Mr. H. B. Irving suggested to the audience that they should come down from the gallery and circle to safety because the general opinion was that the Savoy Theatre is built under the hotel which is not the case. Someone in the audience shouted out "Carry on," but when Mr. Irving explained the situation further the man who said "Carry on" was the first to run to safety.

Of all his engagements as business manager Mr. Bertram told a representation of "The Whitstable Times" that he looked upon his turn with Mr. H. B. Irving as the most pleasant as Mr. Irving was “such a man.” During the war Mr. Irving entertained thousands of wounded soldiers and was most generous to them and in order to entertain them gave a special performance of "The Bells" on a Sunday.

In his long association with the stage Mr. Bertram often met royalty and he recalls the wonderful memory of the Prince of Wales (afterwards King Edward) who enquired on one occasion at the Royalty Theatre where was the fireman and his cat. As a matter of fact the fireman had died a short time previously.

Mt. Bertram recalls another incident in the life of the Prince. One night at the Royalty Mr. Bertram was showing his Royal Highness to his carriage and as he stepped into it an Irish woman called out in all sincerity: "God bless your old woman." The Prince laughed heartily and drove off. He saw the humour of it and came back to the theatre again a few nights later.

Mr. Bertram was managing the Savoy on the occasion of the suffragettes chairing themselves to the gallery and waving banners when Mr. Lloyd George was in the theatre. "It took a great deal of tact and it was only by using the name of Mr. Irving, who had been very good to them, that they would let the performance continue," Mr. Bertram told our representative.

It was during his business management of the Savoy Theatre that Mrs. H. B. Irving organised the matinee in aid of Queen Mary’s Home at Whitstable, and by which 300 was raised.

Mr. Bertram has crossed the Atlantic twelve times and had booked to go to America on the Titanic, but business in England detained him and as a fact he proceeded two days later on the Mauretania which was stopped at the spot where the Titanic sank in the forlorn hope of finding survivors.

Mr. Bertram mentioned Pittsburgh and we thought he was going to tell a story concerning the time because it is one of those places in the States where the writer discovered that the clock is put on or put back an hour, according to whether one is going east or went. We remember the last time we were in the great steel town on the way from Chicago to New York arriving at Pittsburgh at three o'clock in the afternoon, waiting there an hour, and leaving again at the same time! But it was not about the time that Mr. Bertram told us, but about a wash out. He said he was proceeding from Boston to Pittsburgh, has sister being Miss Marie Tempest's understudy in "The Marriage of Kitty" company and took her part for several weeks, when owing to a wash out on the line a bridge had broken and this necessitated their going on a different route and they did not arrive at Pittsburgh till eight o'clock, which was the time for showing but "the audience were very good," said Mr. Bertram, "and we played that night although we were late in opening. Fortunately Miss Tempest was already there we had sent her via New York.

Just before the war Mr. Bertram was one of seven who built the Penge Empire, but they sold their interest in it to one of the big syndicates. This was just before he came to Whitstable to reside. During the war he had a slight breakdown in health and he was induced by his old friend Mr. Nat Wheeler, of Tankerton, who will always be remembered as "of Simpson's in the Strand," to come to Whitstable for a change. He did so and it did him so much good that when he had another illness his doctor advised him to go to Whitstable to live. It was then that he took "The Two Brewers," the famous old hostelry in the Canterbury Road, for his sisters so that he could spend week-ends here. But his brother-in-law’ dying necessitated his taking over the licence himself and as he had spent so many happy days at Whitstable he decided to stop. Mr. Bertram informed us that he was bringing his father and mother to Whitstable which will mean that all the family are in Whitstable except one brother who is on the stage in London.

There is only one other thing necessary to add about Mr. Bertram in order that the townspeople may know the whole story, and that is that he is a bachelor.


Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, Saturday 12 February 1938.

Irving's Bells Collapse.

While the whole country was celebrating the centenary of Sir Henry Irving, a weird experience befell Councillor Bertram.

It is well known locally that Mr. Bertram, who is the proprietor of the "Two Brewers Inn," Whitstable, was closely associated with Sir Henry and his family, and possesses the famous bells.

The bells, which travelled all over the world with Irvine, have reposed at the "Two Brewers" for a number of years, and Mr. Bertram strikes them to signify "opening time." Last Sunday there chimes were not heard, for, as other peals rang out at exactly 12 o'clock, the famous bells collapse.

They have had to be reinforced by a steel bar, but it is food for thought for those who believe in the occult. In other words, is it a coincidence or did Irving know?


From The Stage, 16 March, 1950.


Arthur Bertram, who will be 82 on March 24th, has been blamed of late for omitting to ring the "Irving Bells." These are in his charge as landlord of the "Two Brewers" a Whitstable hostelry. The silence of the bells has been due, Mr Bertram explains, to pressure of business and the election. It has been his custom at noon, every day for many years, to ring the bells, which are those originally rung off stage in Irving's production of "The Bells."

This regular ring has become a Whitstable customs. It is partly used as a message to players on the golf course. These gentlemen, knowing full well that Mr Bertram always "gongs" on the stroke of 12, drop their clubs and make for the 19th hole. Of course "the 19th" is the old fashioned bar of the "Two Brewers," where the walls decorated with theatrical photographs, autographed programs, and bills.

Bertram born Arthur Bertram Wilson was, of course, a very busy and well-known manager on both sides of the Atlantic for nearly 30 years - from 1894 to 1923. As far back as 1887 he was assistant stage manager and character actor, with two parts in "Hunt the Slipper" at the Royal, York. Mr Bertram treasures a framed bill of this show, for he is the only member of the cast, staff and producers, alive today.

Beginning theatre live as an apprentice carpenter at the Greenwich theatre, he managed Marie Tempest, Mrs Patrick Campbell, and Sir John Hare. He was the first manager of both Arthur Bourchier and Forbes Robertson, and gave George Arliss his first London engagement. He ran the Savoy Theatre for 12 years with H B Irving. During this time he broke the theatre record with Peggy O'Neill in "Paddy the Next Best Thing," which ran for 867 performances and outstripped the long run there of "The Mikado." (672).


The Stage 12 January 1956.


A link with Sir Henry Irving has been severed by the death on December 30 of Arthur Bertram Wilson, licensee for 32 years of the "Two Brewers," Canterbury-road, Whitstable.

He was 87, and was always known as Arthur Bertram, a relic of his long association with the theatrical profession. He was manager and stage manager for many years of several Westend theatres, including the Savoy, and was intimately associated with the Irving family.

In the garden of the "Two Brewers" was the set of bells used by Irving when he played Mephistopheles in his production of "Faust."

On those bells was always sounded opening time.

At Whitstable Mr. Bertram look a helpful interest in the local operatic society, and was a member of the Urban Council for 20 years, retiring in 1946.



WRIGHT Thomas c1723

REEVES William 1828-39+ Pigot's Directory 1828-29Pigot's Directory 1832-34

ALLEN James 1847-53+ (age 62 in 1851Census)

ALLEN Elizabeth 1858+

SADDLETON Stephen 1860-74 (also blacksmith age 44 in 1871Census)

CARLTON Richard 1889-82+ (age 28 in 1881Census)

CARLTON Celia Mrs 1891

MASTERS Osborne J 1891+ (age 50 in 1891Census)

FOULDS James 1901-03+ (age 53 in 1901Census) Kelly's 1903

JOHNSON Harry pre 1909 dec'd

JOHNSON Elizabeth Grace to Mar/1909 (administratrix)

BROWN Charles Mar/1909-11+ (age 54 in 1911Census)

THOMPSON John 1913-14+

TRUEMAN William 1918-22+

DAVIDGE Albert 1924+ Kelly's 1924

WILSON Arthur Bertram 1925-56 dec'd (age 71 in 1939)

WOODMAN Jim H 1956+

AXFORD Pippa 1998-2023+


Pigot's Directory 1828-29From the Pigot's Directory 1828-29

Pigot's Directory 1832-34From the Pigot's Directory 1832-33-34

Kelly's 1903From the Kelly's Directory 1903

Kelly's 1924From the Kelly's Directory 1924


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