Page Updated:- Sunday, 17 October, 2021.

PUB LIST PUBLIC HOUSES Paul Skelton & Rory Kehoe

Earliest 1700

Whitehall Inn

Latest 1911-

Whitehall Road


Whitehall Inn

Above postcard showing the "Whitehall Inn" date 1908.

Above photo, date late 1920s/early 1930s when the "Whitehall Inn" was a dairy farm and tea rooms. It was a popular venue for cyclists and walkers. (Local information from Rory Kehoe MK.)

Whitehall Farm

Above photo showing what is now referred to as Whitehall Farm. 2013.

Map 1896

Above map 1896.


The census of 1871 addressed this as in Rough Common.

This building has been identified as a pub from around 1700 but unfortunately closed just before the first world war and was a private house as listed in the 1911 census. The premises also housed its own brewery for beer but ceased production about 1840, however, cider was still made till about 1900. Mackeson's acquired the Whitehall Inn (unexpired lease) when they bought de Trafford's Sun Brewery, Littlebourne, Kent in 1907.

In 1830 licensee Edward Pilcher was deemed an insolvent debtor.

Until November 1907 the "Whitehall Inn" was a tied house of De Trafford's Brewery of Littlebourne. As far as I know, Humphrey E De Trafford bought an established brewery, with 6 tied houses, in c.1897. The "Sun Brewery," Littlebourne probably ran on a shoestring and couldn't compete with the larger breweries. Mackeson's took on the unexpired lease of the pub but it was closed just before WW1. The freehold was in the hands of the Master of Eastbridge - The Hospital of St Thomas, Canterbury.

I am informed that the pub was actually owned or at least supplied by Shepherd Neame from between 1864 and 1882.


The freehold of the Whitehall Inn and surrounding 9 acres was owned in 1846 by The Master of Eastbridge Hospital, who (until 1844) received a tithe (10%) as an agricultural products tax in lieu of rent. From 1836 the archaic system of tithes was replaced by rent, as per the Tithe Commutation Act. In cases of dispute, the Tithe Rent Charge would be assessed by a Tithe Commissioner and an agreement drawn up between Landlord and Tenant.

In 1844, a Tithe Award was negotiated between Eastbridge Hospital and whoever was the tenant of the Whitehall Inn at that time. The tenant may have been William Laurence(?) The 1841 Census lists William (aged 54) Penelope (50) and Thomas (91) but the Enumerator's copperplate handwriting makes decyphering the family surname difficult.

On Friday 6th February 1846 the South Eastern Railway was opened between Ashford and Canterbury, with the line to Ramsgate opening a week later on 13th April. Canterbury became Canterbury West in 1st July 1889 to avoid confusion with the London, Chatham and Dover Railway station (now Canterbury East) which opened on 9th July 1860.

Possibly as a result of the Kentish Gazette advert, George Smedley took on the tenancy of the Whitehall Inn, as he is listed as licensee in Bagshaw's 1847 directory. However, Mr Smedley didn't last long at the Whitehall Inn, as the 1851 Census lists Thomas and Eliza Howland (and their 10 children!) as the occupants.


From Perry's Bankrupt Gazette 20 February 1830.


PILCHER, Edward, of the "Whitehall" public-house, Harbledown, near Canterbury, Kent, licensed victualler.


From the Kentish Gazette, 3 February 1846.


TO BE SOLD OR LET, with Immediate Possession.

ALL that LEASEHOLD FULL PUBLIC HOUSE and TEA GARDENS, known as “WHITEHALL,” with BOWLING GREEN, Excellent GARDEN, well stocked with Fruit and Filbert Trees, a large BARN, and 9a. 2r. of PASTURE LAND, more or less, situate about 10 minutes' walk from the City of Canterbury, and adjoining the South Eastern Railway, of which it commands an extensive view.

The above offers an opportunity for investment rarely to be met with.

For particulars and to treat for the same, apply to Mr. G. Cooper, St. Peter’s-Street, Canterbury; or to Mr. G. Burch, Kent Herald Office, Canterbury.


Kentish Gazette, 4 March 1851.

Canterbury and Harbledown.

Desirable Freehold and Leasehold Estates, and Life Assurance Policy, to be sold by auction by Messrs. Cooper. On Thursday the 6th day of March 1851, at three o'clock precisely at the "Falstaff Inn," Canterbury.

By order of the Devieces in Trust under the Will of the late Mr. John Collins, and subject to such conditions shall be then and there produced.

Lot 11. All that Messuage, Tenement, or Public House, called "Whitehall," with the buildings, gardens, pleasure ground, bowling green, and 2 pieces or parcels of pasture land thereto adjoining, containing 9 Acres more or less, situate and being in the parish of St. Michael, Harbledown, in the county of Kent and now in the occupation of Thomas Howland at the yearly rent of 30.

The above well-known property is held under a lease from the Master of Kent Bridge Hospital, Canterbury for 21 years, from 11th October, 1842, at yearly rents amounting to 3 8s. Is situated within one mile of the City of Canterbury, and abuts on the South Eastern Branch Railway, from Canterbury to Ashford.


From the Canterbury Journal, 6 May, 1865.



Having taken the above premises, I beg to inform you that arrangements have been (and will be) made to secure the comfort of those who may kindly patronise this is establishment. The Bowling Green now in good condition is available for bowls during the week, except Tuesday, on which occasion the Trap Club is held.

Shepherd, Neame, and Co's Sparkling Ales. London Porter. Spirits of the Choices Description.

Your humble servant, John Jull.

Whitehall, April, 1865.


Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, 25 June 1870.


On Monday evening, an inquest was held before Mr. T. T. Delasaux (Coroner), at the "Whitehall Inn," on the body of a labouring man named William Hawkins, aged 53, who had been living in the parish of Chartham, and who on Saturday night met with an awfully sudden death whilst crossing the South-Eastern Railway at Whitehall.

The jury having been sworn, and Mr. Edward Pillow elected foreman thereof, the body was viewed and Mary Horton, a woman living at Chartham, was called to identify the deceased.

Frederic Miller was next sworn. He said:- I live at Ramsgate, and am an engine driver employed by the South-Eastern Railway Company. I was the driver of the engine of the down train on Saturday night, which left Ashford at 9.12. On arriving at the level crossing at Whitehall, I observed something fly out in front of the engine, my attention being called thereto by the ballast flying up. When we stopped at Canterbury, the next station, I examined the engine, and on the left hand buffer I found some butter and sugar. This discovery I reported to Mr. Fright, the Station-master, and proceeded to Ramsgate.

The Coroner:- Was the train punctual or was it late?

Witness:- It was a few minutes behind. It was 9.40 when we arrived at Canterbury, and when we were at Whitehall it would, therefore, be about 9.38, or some seconds later.

Being further questioned, the witness said:- I received no warning whatever that there was any obstruction on the line. The first circumstance which arrested my attention was the ballast flying up. It was dark at the time. Everything was in proper order on the line. The buffer lamp of the engine was alight, and anyone facing the engine must have seen it. As far as know, nothing could have been done to prevent the accident. I do not think any blame can be attached to any of the railway officials or anyone. We were travelling at a proper pace, and my opinion is that the occurrence was purely an accident. I saw no object before the train, nothing transpired to induce me to stop the engine.

Mary White, a married woman, said she lived at Chartham. She was proceeding homewards from Canterbury on Saturday night, and it was five minutes past nine when she was going through Water-lane towards Whitehall. She saw the deceased leaning against a wall, and perceived something strange in the expression of his countenance. She went on, and afterwards noticed that he was behind her, with a basket containing provisions. When she saw him again he was a corpse, and had then been removed to the Whitehall house. She had known the deceased, and had of late noticed something rather strange in his manner, but she never heard him make use of any threat. He had appeared "queer" ever since he left Mr. Pell’s service.

The Coroner:- For my own part, I think there is nothing to lead us to believe the unfortunate man contemplated suicide.

The Foreman:- Certainly not.

Leonard Philpott deposed that he was a ticket collector employed at the Canterbury station of the South-Eastern Railway. In consequence of information which was reported to the Station-master on Saturday night, he, with the night watchman, was dispatched up the line, and on arriving at Whitehall, about 22 yards from the crossing, they found the body of the deceased lying on the left hand side of the down line, about 3 or 4 feet there from. Before taking any further steps, they awaited the arrival of Mr. Fright, and after the arrival of the surgeon and Superintendent of Police, the body was removed to the adjoining inn. A hat was picked up between the crossing and the spot where the body was found.

John Croucher, night watchman at the Canterbury Station, corroborated this evidence, and added that on Mr. Fright’s arrival he (witness) was sent by him for the nearest surgeon, and Mr. Holttum shortly afterwards came.

Mr. Charles Holttum, surgeon, of Canterbury, said:- I was sent for about half-past ten on Saturday night to go to the Whitehall crossing, and I proceeded thence immediately. On reaching the spot pointed out to me, I found the body of the deceased lying on the left hand side of the down line. He was quite dead, and on examining him externally I found he had sustained the following injuries which might have been produced by an engine knocking him down. Judging from his position his neck was apparently broken, his head being doubled back between his shoulders. The left side of his head was completely smashed and I should say every bone therein was broken. The buffer must have a track him on the left hip, of which there was a compound fracture, as also of the pelvis, the left thigh, and the left leg, both arms being broken. There was no doubt these were the cause of death, which must have been instantaneous.

This being the whole of the evidence.

The Coroner briefly addressed the jury, remarking that the most important feature in a case of this description was whether there had been any carelessness or neglect. Taking the evidence as adduced before them, they would at once arrive at the conclusion that no one was to be blamed. Then, again, although a female witness had stated that the manner of the deceased had of late been strange, he did not think any one present would believe the deceased committed suicide.

The jury shortly afterwards returned a unanimous verdict that the deceased met with his death accidentally by being knocked down by an engine whilst going over the crossing at Whitehall.

In reply to enquiries addressed by the foreman, the Coroner stated that the Railway Company had, he was informed, appointed a man to open this gates across the road for carriages to go over the line, but it appeared that as there was no public footway the Company were not bound to look after pedestrians; if they were, they would have to provide gates across the line instead of across the road.

Mr. Fright informed the jury that the man at the gates always had notice by means of signal bells of the approach of any train as it left either or Canterbury.

The proceedings then terminated.


From the Whitstable Times, 30 June, 1900.

The East Kent Coroner (R. M. Mercer, Esq.) held an inquest on Monday at the "Whitehall Inn," Harbledown, on the body of John Cornish, who committed suicide by placing himself on the railway.

Elizabeth Cornish, of 68, St. Peter’s Lane, Canterbury, deposed that deceased was between 32 and 33 years of age. He was a coal carter and formerly worked for Pilch, Collard, and Co. After he left their employ he went to Mr. Burnistone but had a quarrel with him and got the sack. He left home that morning at 5.30. He told witness he was going to Faversham by the five minutes to six train and that he had got work and would send a van down on the following day for her furniture. He had never threatened to take his life. He had complained to witness about his mates taunting him.

James Whittaker, a platelayer in the employ of the L.C. Railway, stated that that morning at 7.30 he was on the line when he saw a body lying on the rails. He went to it and found it was deceased. He had the top of his head cut off. The last train up was at 7.18.

The jury returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst temporarily insane."


From the Whitstable Times, 14 July, 1900.


George Smith, landlord of "Whitehall Inn," Harbledown, was summoned for permitting drunkenness on his licensed premises on the 24th June.

Mr. R. M. Mercer, appeared for defendant, who pleaded not guilty.

P.C. Vennell stated that on Sunday evening, the 24th June, he was ordered by the Superintendent to visit defendant’s house in plain clothes. He arrived at the inn at a quarter to eight and entered the front of the bar where he was served with a glass of ale by the landlord. Witness remained there about a quarter of an hour and during the whole of the time there were about ten lads out on the pleasure lawn and in the summer houses. Their ages varied from 14 to 18. Two of them were drunk and the remainder were more or less under the influence of drink. One of them gave the name of Williams. When he went from the garden out of the gate he rolled about outside. He then met a lad who gave the name of Johnson and they commenced to quarrel, pulled off their jackets, and began to fight. He stopped them and took their names and addresses. One of them gave the name of Arthur Johnson, 81 Longport, and the other James Williams, 77 Military Road, Canterbury. In consequence of the drunken condition of Williams he took him to the police station and locked him up. On the following day he was taken before the Magistrates and fined 5s. and costs. During the time witness was in the house all the lads were constantly drinking from pots. Defendant was serving in the bar the whole time. After he had locked Williams up he visited the house with Superintendent Jacobs, who told defendant he should report him. Defendant replied that he was not aware that any drink or anything wrong had been going on.

Cross’ examined:- It was raining at the time.

Mr. Mercer submitted that so far from his client being to blame he was a very badly used creature. These boys were a curse to him on Sundays and they broke his hedges and seats. Defendant deposed the evening in question there were a lot of people standing round the bar as it was wet, and he did not see any boys come in for drink. He did not hear any disturbance in the garden.

Mrs. Rosa Smith, of 66 St. Peter's Place, Canterbury, deposed that on the evening of the 24th June she and her husband took shelter from the rain in one of the arbours at the "Whitehall Inn." She saw seven lads go in the adjoining arbour. They had one jug of beer which one of the lads fetched from the public house. She saw the lads leave the ground. There was no disturbance.

Mrs. Rachael Bowen, of 55 Black Griffin Lane, who was also in one of the arbours, stated that she saw one of the boys go into the house and come back with a jug. She heard no shooting or singing, but saw a gentleman outside the door speak to the boys. He pulled out a book and wrote in it.

The Chairman said the Bench considered it a proper case for the police to bring before then, but there was not sufficient evidence to warrant a conviction and the case would be dismissed. They hoped defendant would be careful in future as to how he conducted his house.



PILCHER Edward  to Feb/1830

LAWRENCE William 1841+ (age 55 in 1841Census)

SMEDLEY George 1847 Bagshaw's Directory 1847

HOWLAND Thomas 1851-55+ (age 47 in 1851Census) Post Office Directory 1855

SELLER William 1861+ Census

CHASE Robert 1862-Jan/65 Post Office Directory 1862

JULL John Jan/1865+

GODDEN Francis 1871+ (age 63 in 1871Census)

WINTON Alfred S 1881+ Census

HOGBEN William 1882-91+ (age 45 in 1891Census) Post Office Directory 1882Post Office Directory 1891

BALDOCK Albert E 1901+ Census

SMITH George 1900+

SMITH Charles 1903+ Post Office Directory 1903Kelly's 1903



Bagshaw's Directory 1847From Bagshaw Directory 1847

Post Office Directory 1855From the Post Office Directory 1855

Post Office Directory 1862From the Post Office Directory 1862

Post Office Directory 1882From the Post Office Directory 1882

Post Office Directory 1891From the Post Office Directory 1891

Post Office Directory 1903From the Post Office Directory 1903

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:-