Page Updated:- Saturday, 06 May, 2023.


Earliest 1859

Railway Bell

Closed Dec 2018

120 London Road, Temple Ewell

Kearsney/River Kelly's Directory 1899Pikes 1924Pikes 1932-33

01304 823949

Railway Bell 1909

Above photo, 20 December 1909, kindly sent by Basil River.

Railway Bell garden 1918

Above postcard, again kindly sent by Roger Reeve and showing the garden of the Railway Bell, post marked 28 June 1918.

Railway Bell postcard 1936

Above postcard kindly sent by Roger Reeve, showing horses outside the Railway Bell, postcard post marked 03 June 1936.

Railway Bell, Kearsney date unknown

Above photo by kind permission Dover Library ILL/63. Please note, it was then referred to as the "Railway Hotel, date unknown.

Railway Bell 1946

Above postcard, postmarked 5 March 1946.

Railway Bell

Above postcard, date unknown, kindly sent by Graham Butterworth.

Railway Bell Whitbread cardRailway Bell Whitbread card

Above showing the Whitbread Inn Signs.

Railway Bell card

Above card, date unknown, kindly sent by Basil River.

Railway Bell Kearsney

HIGH NOTE: Catherine Woodward and Francis Gorham outside The Railway Bell Ref: pd 91977

Dover Mercury 2/May/2002

Old pub's owners ring the changes

TWO centuries of hospitality and a return to an earlier name were celebrated at The Railway Bell pub, Kearsney, on Tuesday by owners Francis Gorham and Catherine Woodward, and their customers.

Francis explained: ''A lot of regulars still called the pub by its old name, even though it had been The Pickwick since May 1983, when it had been bought by Whitbread as part of its Wayside Inn chain.

"The place has got to be couple of hundred years old, and an old coaching inn, and it's had a number of names in that time.

"With the coming of the railway, tradition has it that there was a bell at the pub which would be rung 10 minutes before the train was due at the station across the road and that's how it first came by the name of The Railway Bell."

Francis and Catherine already own the Lydden Bell and they plan to make The Railway Bell chime with people's tastes in pubs today.

This will mean no loud music, no swearing and a new menu with good food, freshly prepared throughout the day.

From the Dover Mercury, 2 May, 2002.

Railway Bell licensees 2002

THE Railway Bell on London Road, has returned to its original name after being known as Pickwicks since 1983.

Now boasting an all day food menu, the popular pub held its official re-launch last Tuesday when it staged an 80s night to raise money for the Temple Ewell Players.

For more information please call the Railway Bell on 01304 822016.

Landlady and landlord, Catherine Woodward and Francis Gorham are pictured with manageress Deborah Whitehouse.


From the Dover Express, 23 October 2003.

Railway Bell 2003

DAREDEVIL pub patrons have managed to raise over 2,000 for charity by bungee jumping in the dark. The brave jumpers, regulars of the Railway Bell pub in London Road, took the 200 foot plunge to raise money for the Kent Air Ambulance on October 10. The crane and launch basket were set up in the pub's car park, with participants falling towards tarmac at an alarming speed before being bounced back up by the bungee cord.

As well as the sponsored jumpers taking part, bungee enthusiasts from around the county were also attracted to the event, making the night a busy one for all involved. Pub manager Deborah Whitehouse (right, holding Tee-shirt) was thrilled with the event's success.



Photo above and below left by Paul Skelton 10 November 2007

Railway Bell Van 2007
Railway Bell Sign 2007Railway Bell sign 2013

Sign on the right by Paul Skelton, taken 1 December 2013.

Railway Bell sign 2017

Above sign 2017, taken by Paul Skelton November 2017.


Built at the time of the laying of the railway track through River (1861ish), Kearsney and Temple Ewell to London from Dover and known unofficially by locals as the "Kearsney Bell" due to a "Lydden Bell" being a few miles up the road at Lydden.


From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 14 July, 1871. Price 1d.


John Cornish, 20 years of age, a soldier in the 2nd Battalion Rifle brigade, quartered at Dover, was charged by K.C.C. Edward King with being drunk and disorderly at the “Railway Bell,” River, and assaulting him while in the execution of his duty.

It appeared that the prisoner got in behind the bar of the public-house and becoming belligerent stripped himself to his skin, and declared himself ready to fight all corners. The police were called in, and in getting him out of the house King was assaulted.

The Magistrates sent him to prison for seven days, owing to the good character given him by the sergeant of the company.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 26 March, 1875.


A coroner's inquest was held on Tuesday afternoon at the "Railway Bell Inn," Ewell, before T. Delasaux, Esq., Coroner for the County, on the body of Thomas Claringbould, carpenter, aged 47 years, who shot himself about five o'clock on the previous morning. Deceased formerly resided at Dover, where he was well known, but for several years past he has lived in one of the detached villa, residences at Ewell, occupied by Mr. Shuttle. The following were sworn on the jury:- Mr. R. Tritton, Mr. T. Shepherd, Mr. G. Down, Mr. W. Ayers, Mr. W. Wraight, Mr. G. Simpson, Mr. R. T. Forward, Mr. J. W. Bacon, Mr. E. Maxted, Mr. J. Pierce, Mr. G. Gammon, and Mr. C. Langley. The latter gentleman having been chosen foreman, the jury proceeded to view the body, which was lying, saturated with blood, on the floor beside the bed where the rash act was committed. From the position of the wound it is supposed the deceased must have leaned on the muzzle of the gun and fired it by means of a brace attached to the trigger. On the return of the jury room the following evidence was adduced:-

Louise Nye: I belong to River, and am in the service of Mr. Shuttle, who is a widow. The deceased lived at Mrs. Shuttle's, who has brought him up as a lad. I have lived with Mrs. Shuttle twelve months. Deceased has lived in the house all the time I have been in Mrs. Shuttle's service. Yesterday morning about five o'clock I heard the report of a gun, apparently from the bedroom of the deceased. I immediately went there and saw the deceased lying on the floor quite dead. During the whole time I have been with Mrs. Shuttle deceased has appeared low and melancholy, but from what cause I do not know. I last saw him alive at ten o'clock on Sunday night, just before I went to bed.

By a Juror: There appeared no difference in him on Sunday night than on any other night.

Thomas Newman: I live at Kearsney, and am agent to Mr. Churchward. Yesterday morning at a quarter past five, I heard a loud knocking at my front door. I ran down directly and there saw the last witness, Louisa Wye. In consequence of what she said I directly went to the house of Mr. Shuttle, and on going up the stairs to the bedroom, there saw deceased lying on the floor in the same position as the jury have just viewed the body. He was quite dead. I saw the gun now produced on the floor about a yard from the body, and it had been recently discharged. I have known deceased for upwards of twenty years. During the last week he has appeared strange in his conduct, but from what cause I do not know. I am quite satisfied the gun was discharged by the act of the deceased.

Thomas Ray, K.C.C., stationed at Ewell: I was sent for yesterday morning to the house of Mrs. Shuttle, and there saw the body of the deceased. On searching his person I found the following articles; a purse containing 16s. 6d., four dog and gun licences, two knives, three gun caps, and several other articles.

Francis Ezekial Barton, of Dover, surgeon: I was sent for yesterday morning early to attend the deceased, whom I found on the floor, quite dead. I examined the body and found a gun shot wound on the front of his chest, at the right side of his heart, which, I believe, was caused by gunpowder and a discharge of leaded shot, which I should imagine produced instantaneous death. From the nature and position of the wound I have no hesitation in saying the same was caused by his own hand.

The Coroner very briefly summed up the evidence and the Jury returned a verdict that "Deceased shot himself when in a state of mental derangement."


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 6 May, 1881. 1d.


George Bradford, a labourer looking man, was charged with being drunk and disorderly and refusing to leave the premises of the “Railway Bell” public-house, Ewell.

Mrs. Downs, wife of the landlord of the “Railway Bell,” Ewell, said: On Thursday week, the 21st of April, at ten minutes to four, the defendant came into my house drunk, and asked to be served with two of rum, which I refused to serve him, and he then called me bad names, and used very obscene language, so I ordered him out of the house, but he refused to go. I sent for my husband, and as soon as he came the prisoner ran out of the house.

Alfred Davis residing at Ewell, said: I was in the “Railway Bell” on Thursday week, and saw the prisoner there, drunk. He called for two of rum, but the landlady refused to serve him, and he then called for a bottle of ginger beer, which was supplied him, but not paying for it the landlady told him of it, and he said he would see her b____d first, and then would not pay for it. He used very bad language. When Mr. Downs came the prisoner left the house.

The prisoner said the row was about an allowance he had left for a man, and which had not been supplied.

The Bench fined him 10s. and 14s. 2d. costs, which was paid.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 14 April, 1882. 1d.


On behalf of the landlord of the “Railway Bell,” Kearsney, Mr. Carder, solicitor, applied for permission for the public-house to be open half an hour later every evening all the year round for the accommodation of the people who came to meet the late train that arrives at ten minutes past ten, which is ten minutes after the house is closed by law, enlarging on the inconvenience caused by the closing of the house at that hour, Mr. Carder put in a numerously signed memorial, playing for the half hour's extension to be granted.

The Clerk asked Mr. Carder to point out the section under which the Magistrates had the power to grant this request.

Mr Carder said he realised on the general discretion which was vested in the Magistrates in the administration of the Act.

The Chairman asked Mr. Carden if he could quote any precedent at any other railway station.

Mr. Carden said he was not prepared with one.

Mr. Humphries said that if time were granted in this instance, it might be claimed by every public-house that was near a railway station.

The Chairman said they must, if they gave a decision, then give a refusal, but if Mr. Carder preferred it they would adjourn the matter for a month, that he might have time to search for some authority or a precedent.

The case was adjourned.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 19 May, 1882. 1d.


Mr. W. Mowll applied on behalf of the landlord of the “Railway Bell,” at Ewell, for an extension of half-an-hour at night, the house closing at present at ten o'clock. He stated that an application had been made by the landlord at the last Sessions, but the decision had been reserved till that day. The extension was required more especially for Saturday's, when there is a down train which arrives at Ewell at 10.15, bringing persons of that village from Canterbury Market, and the landlord was unable to serve them with refreshments. He was also obliged to turn their horse and carts, which are left there, out into the front at ten o'clock to await the arrival of the owners by the train, and frequently they were left all that time in the rain. He had a memorial with about twenty signatures of persons living in that locality to support the application. If the Bench could not see their way clear to granting the application for each night he would be satisfied with Saturday alone.

After a short discussion the bench decided to refuse to grant the application.

Mr. Mowll said that there was another matter that had arisen out of this application at the last Court, it had come to the landlord's knowledge that Captain Ruxton, of the County Police, had received a letter which was the grossest possible slander on this house, and in which it was stated that this house is the resort of women of immoral character, and was in fact a bad place, the landlord and landlady being accused of drunkenness, but on sending the letter to the captain he had refused to give the name of the information, as it had been the landlord's intention to proceed against the person, as under the circumstances it was plainly proved to be untrue. Superintendent Maxted had visited all the houses in the district with reference to the matter, and had been told by all that such was not the case. He (Mr. Mowll) would ask the Bench for the information as it was a libel.

The Magistrates Clerk said he did not believe Captain Ruxton would take any notice of any order from the Bench, but he might if the application were granted at the Board of General Sessions, which was held every three weeks.

Mr. Mowll said that Superintendent Maxted, who had informed the landlord of the complaint, had made an exhaustive enquiry into the matter, but found that the charges were without foundation. This case arose out of a remark made by the Superintendent at the last application.

The Magistrate's Clerk said that the Superintendent had merely said that he had received complaints to the house. He had since found out that they were not true.

The Bench said that they could do nothing in the matter except advise the applicant to go to the Board of General Sessions, but with regard to the application of extension of time, they had not been influenced by any such report of complaint as made, but they did not know of any statute by which they could grant the application.


From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 3 November, 1882. Price 1d.


Mr. T. T. Delasaux, County Coroner, held an inquest at the “Railway Bell,” Kearsney, near Ewell, on Saturday morning last, respecting the death of a Dover tradesman named Pascall, whose body had been found in the Dour near Mr. Mannering's mill at River. Edward Pascall, son of the deceased, identified the body, and said that his father was 50 years of age, and a cabinet maker, living in Dover. The deceased had left home on the Thursday morning, and had not returned. James Martin, a cowman in the employ of Mr. Jennings, at River, gave evidence with reference to finding the body. He stated that at about half-past seven o'clock on Friday morning he was near Mr. Mannering's mill when he saw something in the river, which he took to be a coat, but on pulling it ashore found that it was the body of the deceased. With assistance he conveyed it to a shed near, belonging to Mr. F. Phipps.

It appeared that the deceased was missing on Thursday, and as it was known that he had gone to River, Instructing Constable Ross was directed to make enquiries, and he traced him from various public-houses, and one would be led to suppose that the deceased had fallen in while the worse for drink.

The Jury returned an open verdict of “Found Drowned.”


From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 17 March, 1882. Price 1d.


The landlord of the “Railway Bell,” Ewell, asked for permission to keep his house open till half-past ten o'clock at night, as the down train arrived at ten minutes past ten o'clock, and he was frequently asked for drink from travellers by the train.

The bench said they could not grant the application, but advised the applicant to attend the next Court, and in the meantime the Magistrates would talk the matter over.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 26 April, 1889. Price 1d.


There was a great disturbance at the “Railway Bell,” River, on Easter Monday, arising out of the refusal of the landlady to supply some persons who went out from Dover, with as much beer as they wanted. A Constable was called in to turn them out, and there was a free fight outside the house, which lasted about half an hour. The parties were brought before the Magistrates, Dr. Astley and Mr. G. E. Toomer, at Dover, on Tuesday, charged with the assault.

Frederick Stamp, a shoemaker, living at 36, Tower Hamlets Road, and Martha Stamp, his wife, Alfred Hatton, in the employ of the Dover Steam Laundry Company, and Sarah Hatton, his wife, were charged with being disorderly on licensed premises and refusing to quit, and assaulting Police-constable Crapps while in the execution of his duty.

Mr. Martyn Mowll appeared for the prisoner Hatton and his wife.

Jane Down said: I keep the “Railway bell,” River with my husband George Down. The prisoners came into my house all together last evening at a quarter to six o'clock. They called for drink, and they were served with some – four quarts they had altogether. They were all right and quiet when they came in. They began to make a noise after they had been in the house about half an hour, and I told them to go out. They did not go and prisoner Hatton came out of the tap room and wanted another quart. I refused him as they were making such a noise. The other man Stamp then came into the front of the bar from the tap room and asked for more beer. I refused him also, and they all came out fo the room and swore at me, and created a noise. My husband was in the garden and I sent for him. The two women used filthy language towards me. I told them again to leave the bar, and they would not go, so I sent for a Constable, and Police-constable Crapps came. They were in the bar when he came, and I asked them to leave in the Constable's presence. The prisoner Hatton said he was not going out for any Policeman, and Stamp and he said he had been a Policeman and was not going. The Constable put Hatton out of the door. The others followed them out. Mrs. Hatton struck the Constable first, and they then all turned on him and struck him. They knocked him down. The two men were striking him and knocking him down. They were fighting outside for about half-an-hour, and the Constable's face and clothes were covered with blood. He drew his staff and struck both of the men. A young man – a Marine, - who was passing, went and assisted the Constable. The Constable took all of them into custody with the exception of the man Hatton, who ran away.

By Mr. Mowll: Hatton came into my house with the others. They were in the house about an hour and a quarter before the Constable came. The prisoners were sober when they came in, as far as I could see, and they were not drunk when they left. No filthy language was used before I refused to serve them with more beer. I refused to serve them because they were making a noise. The prisoner Hatton and his wife were dancing and I asked them to stop, but they did not do so. When they got outside the fight commenced, and it was not until a quarter of an hour afterwards that the Constable drew his staff. My husband could not assist as he was suffering from rheumatism. The other people did not assist, but only looked on. The Constable struck both the men. When the Constable fell, the men also fall down. He was knocked down three times. The Policeman fell underneath the first time. He kept his staff. There were a number of ladies and gentlemen in the house.

By Stamp: I saw the Policeman knocked you down first, and when he knocked you down you were fighting with him.

William Walter Crapps, whose face appeared to be much bruised, said: I am a Police-constable, and was on duty last evening about seven o'clock. I was at home, and was sent for to go to the “Railway Bell.” When I got there I found all four prisoners in the house. The two women in particular were using filthy language to Mr. and Mrs. Down. They were all making a noise. Mrs. Down asked them to leave, and the two men said they should not go. I then asked them to leave and also the woman, but they refused. I asked Mrs. Down if they were to leave, and she said “Yes.” Stamp said he would not be put out by any man. At the same time Hatton struck me in the chest and face. I caught hold of him by the shoulders and ran him out of the door. When near the doorway Mrs. Hatton had got the other woman's baby in her arms and struck me twice in the ear with her right hand. I swung my hand round to keep her off and she fell down with the baby. With that they all set upon me. Mrs. Hatton got, up left the baby on the ground, and came and struck me. They all kept striking me until the blood got into my eyes that I could scarcely see at times. In the struggle the two prisoners and myself went down three times. They struck me while I was on the ground. I then drew my staff in self-defence when I got up. I struck at Hatton, and believe I struck him on the head. Someone said, “Give it to the b______.” And Stamp was striking me. I struck him two or three times with my staff, and Hatton ran away. A soldier came to my assistance. I took all the prisoners into custody except Hatton. Hatton surrendered himself. My coat is covered with blood. They struck me with their fists.

By Mr. Mowll: The woman Hatton had struck me twice before I pushed her down. It might have been pushing the woman down that caused the disturbance.

In answer to Mrs. Stamp, witness said he did not drink any beer which she said she offered him.

Henry Harlow, belonging to Nonington, said: I am a Marine and stationed at the Chatham Division. I was out on leave, and was going past the “Railway Bell” last night about seven o'clock. I saw the Constable there – he was just going inside the door. I heard some high words, so I stood and watched. I saw the Constable push the prisoner Hatton out of the house. Hatton's wife struck the Constable twice in the face, and the Constable pushed her away, she fell down with the baby in her arms. The men and women struck the Constable, and then Mrs. Hatton got up and also struck the Constable, whose face was covered with blood. The Constable fell with the men two or three times. I saw him draw his staff and strike the men. In my opinion it was necessary for him to draw his staff. There were nine or ten civilians near, but none went to his assistance. Seeing he was getting the worst of it, I went and asked him if he wanted any help. He said “Yes,” and I then assisted him in taking them to the Police station. The man Hatton ran away.

The Chairman commended the witness for assisting the Constable.

Mr. Edward Fry said he had known Hatton for about two years, and knew him to be an honest and sober man.

The Bench fined Hatton 14s 7d., his wife 18s. 5d; Stamp, 16s. 11d., and his wife 18s. 5d, including costs.

Fourteen days were allowed to Stamp and his wife for payment.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 7 February, 1890.


On Saturday, before W. L. Lowndes and E. F. Astley, Esqrs., at Dover, Mr. Richard Harvey Hammond, of River, was summoned for having on the 27th January allowed his dog to be in the public highway at River unmuzzled, in contravention of the Muzzling Order.

The defendant admitted the fact.

Police-constable Crapps, stationed at River, said: On the 27th January, he saw the defendant's dog in the road near the “Railway Bell Inn,” River, unmuzzled. He had also seen it several times before in the public road without a muzzle, and had called at the defendant's house, and left word about the dog being unmuzzled.

Mr. Hammond said he had complied with the requirements of the order, and obtained a muzzle for the dog. He gave instructions to the lad always to muzzle the dog when it was let out. The dog however, on the day in question had run out without the muzzle.

The Bench imposed a fine of 1s. and 8s. costs.

The money was paid.

Henry Addaye, residing at Alkham, was summoned for a similar offence, on January 22nd.

Defendant pleaded not guilty.

Instructing-constable Ross, stationed at Alkham, proved the charge, and said he met the defendant on the 22nd January at South Alkham. Defendant had a terrier dog with him not muzzled, and witness told him that he had previously cautioned him he should report the case.

The Magistrates fined the defendant 10s. including costs; and the money was paid.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 26 January, 1900.


KEARSNEY, Ewell, and River, three linked villages which are now almost joining hands with Dover, are becoming the fashionable suburb of this ancient Borough. As far back as 1821, Mr. J. M. Fector, a Dover banker, selected this locality as a residence, and built for himself the mansion known as Kearsney Abbey, which he occupied, and which has since been the residence successively of Mr. Churchward, the Marquis of Ely, and now of C. W. Curtis, Esq., J.P. At the time when the Abbey was built there were only two other mansions of any note in the locality, namely, Old Park, the new residence of Mr. J. Every, and Archer's Court, the domain of Mr. G. Stringer. Since then there has been a wonderful development, mad both by extensions and new buildings. Along Crabble Hill villas and bungalows have sprung up, forming quite a suburb of itself. A little further away at the lower corner of Whitfield Hill, Woodlands, since it has become the residence of Sir William Crundall, has been greatly improved and surrounded by extensive grounds, in which thousands of trees have been planted. A little to the South-West on the other side of the main Canterbury Road Mr. Eugene Carder has built for himself a very fine country house. About Kearsney Station a considerable building estate has been opened, and several handsome villas have already appeared. In Ewell itself no great amount of modern buildings has been done, but the Church in recent years has been restored, and the schools built.

The greatest building movement at Kearsney is now about to commence, Mr. Alfred Leney having decided to erect on his newly acquired estate at Kearsney Nest a new residence, which for size and importance will put the Abbey in the shade. It will be built of Hastings stone and we hear that the contract price of the work is 10,000. Tenders for building were invited, the highest, we hear being 13,000, and the one accepted, Mr. Paramour's, being the sum above mentioned. This house will necessarily occupy a considerable time in building, for before one stone can be laid on another several thousand tons of earth will have to be removed to prepare the foundations. The residence will have a most charming outlook on the sylvan scene, where the southern tributary of the Dour runs along its front from Bushy Ruff.

To add to this activity in this locality we hear that something like a thousand pounds is to be spent on improving the “Railway Bell Hotel” near Kearsney Station, which has recently changed hands. Passing into the lower part of the River the trail of the builder will be found there, and growing up close by is the new building estate within the Borough of Dover, which is being developed around the Athletic Ground. The next thing will be an extension of the tram line to accommodate this rising and fashionable suburb of Dover.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 16 February, 1900.


John Cameron O'Hara was summoned by Inspector Hampshire, of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, for cruelly working a mare on January 13th at River, while it was in an unfit state, suffering from sores on the shoulders.

P.C. Mackie said that on January 30th he saw defendant driving a horse attached to a cart loaded with bricks at River near the “Railway Bell.” He saw the horse had something the matter with it, and he found two sores on the shoulder and one on the withers.

Prisoner said that the horse had been in the stable for four days, and that the sores had apparently healed, but the rough road from the Brickfield at St. Radigund's to River had broken them.

George Lewis, jun., was summoned for causing the horse to be worked.

Defendant pleaded guilty.

The Inspector said that he saw Mr. Lewis the next day and he then said that the horse would not be sent out again. He had not had to speak to him before.

Mr. Lewis said the former carter in charge of the horse ill treated it, and he discharged him for this on January 26th, and from that time till January 31st it was kept in the stable. On the day in question he telephoned to the Brickfield to take some bricks to River and the horse was sent without his seeing it.

Inspector Hampshire: You said you saw the horse when it left.

Defendant said that he saw it when it came back.

He was continuing his statement when the Inspector interposed with the remark that he had pleaded guilty.

Mr. Bradley: Inspector Hampshire you must allow this man to make a statement as well as yourself!

The Bench eventually imposed a penalty of 10/6 on O'Hara, and 18/6 on Lewis, and gave the latter the information that he was responsible for his servants' acts.

Mr. Lewis said every carter was supposed to look after his horse.


From the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, 5 May 1900. Price 1d.

Mr. Curtis, who was for many years station master at Kearsney and recently retired from that post, was on Tuesday evening made the recipient of a handsome presentation from friends in Dover and the district. The function took place at the "Railway Bell Hotel," Kearsney, of which Mr. Curtis is now the landlord.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 18 May, 1900.


Mr. Arthur Harby attended and submitted for formal approval plans of works being carried out by Messrs. A. Leney and Co. at the “Railway Bell,” Kearsney. It was a matter of courtesy that these plans should be submitted to the Magistrates, but by an inadvertency they had not been placed before the bench earlier. The works were now in progress, and they comprised the alterations to a country house to meet more modern requirements.


From the Deal, Walmer & Sandwich Mercury, 2 June, 1900. 1d.


The East Kent Coroner (Mr. R. M. Mercer) held an inquest at the "Railway bell," Kearsney, on Tuesday, touching the death of Harold Longman.

It appears that a man named George Hogbin was driving a water cart beside the tram shed on the Barton Road, Buckland, on the 11th may, when the deceased, who was a solicitor's clerk, came along riding a bicycle. He came up from behind the water card, and got between the cart and a milk van which was standing by the roadside. To avoid the cart's horse the deceased turned his bicycle sharp round and went into the right hand shaft of the van. He fell off his bicycle, but got up and walked along, pushing his machine. When asked if he was hurt the deceased said he thought he had only got a good shaking. Dr. John Rubel was called to attend the deceased on the 11th may, and found him suffering from shock. He ordered him to bed until the 18th. He was then better and got up, and on the 19th he went for a long walk without the doctor's knowledge. He was suffering from injury to the liver, caused by the collision. Death took place on the 28th, and was due to the accident, heppolytis, and embolism.

The jury returned a verdict accordingly.


Railway Bell pre 1900

This photo from the J E Gilham collection has been suggested by Alan Goodwin that it is this pub, taken before the renovations in 1900. he says the giveaway is the arch at the left which is now the window to the left of the main entrance.


From the Whitstable Times, 28 July, 1900.


At the Dover County Sessions on Thursday afternoon, Percy Stunt, a youth, living at Bartholomew Street, Dover, was summoned for riding a bicycle without a light on the 4th inst., at Ewell. Sergt Vrowe proved the case, which was not denied, and Stunt was fined 1s. and 8d. costs.

Arising out of this was a summons issued by Mr. Thomas V. Simmonds, Captain of the Dover Cycling Club, against P.C. John McKie for assaulting on the evening of the 4th inst. in the parish of River.

Defendant pleaded Not Guilty.

Mr. A. M. Bradley, who appeared for complainant, said his client was well-known to everyone as a local tradesmen. On the evening in question the Dover Cycling Club were returning from an outing, passing the "Bell Hotel," Kearsney, about 10.40. Mr. Simmonds was riding almost in front and the young fellow Stunt, who was not a member, was riding near him without a lamp. When opposite the "Bell" the police ran out into the road, waved their sticks in a very excited way and stopped Stunt. Mr. Simmonds, to avoid a collision with some 100 members who were riding closely behind, shouted "Get out of the way," He then dismounted and the Sergeant and constable, behaved very strangely. Mickie said "Oh, you have not managed it this time." - meaning that they had not rushed Stunt through without giving his address. This was not Mr. Simmond's wish at all, as he assisted the police by spelling the name of the street in which Stunt lived. Sergeant Crow asked who Mr. Simmonds was and in answer was shown his Captain's badge. Mr. Simmonds asked the Sergeant for his name and then the constable gripped him by the arm and held him for several minutes, which was the assault complained of. he contended that as Mr. Simmonds had committed no offence, had given his name and address, and after having done so had been detained by McKie it was in the interest of cyclists and the public generally that this should be brought before the notice of the Magistrates.

Mr. Simminds and several members of the Dover C.C. all swore that McKie continued to grip Mr. Simmond's arm for a considerable time after he had given his name and address.

The defence was that McKie did not take old of Mr. Simmond's arm. Plaintiff had shouted to Stunt to ride on, and when asked for his name had put the name in question to Sergt. Crowe. When the cyclists mounted their machines they shouted to the police that they were a pair of pigs and ought to be put in a sty.

The Chairman said he did not think Mr. Simmonds was a man who could lodge a complaint of this sort without some reason for doing so. There was no doubt that on this occasion the police were very excited and lost their tempers. They were quite right in stopping Stunt, but wrong in detaining Mr. Simmonds, and the defendant had been guilty of an assault. The penalty inflicted would be 5s. and 15s costs - in all 1.


Dover Express 21st September 1900.


Permission was given for the name of the "Railway Bell Inn" to be changed to the "Railway Hotel."


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 30 November, 1900. Price 1d.


An inquest was held by Mr. R. M. Mercer, the east Kent Coroner, at the “Railway Hotel,” Kearsney, on Wednesday evening, on the body of Walter James Marley, a labourer, who was killed by a fall of earth, in a stone pit, which buried him. The Jury consisted of Messrs. B. Burbridge (foreman) , W. Clark, J. Robson, F. Peters, W. Smith, W. Lefevre, T. Hymers, W. Simpson, E. Dann, H. Hopper, S. Smith, H. Stanley, and F. Baynton.

Deceased's father said deceased's age was 22 years.

William Shapely said that he was at work on the afternoon of Tuesday with deceased in a stone hole, at Mr. Leney's orchard. Witness had said the deceased that they would fill one more barrow that day, before knocking off to sift the stones. Deceased was in the hole, which was 14 or 15 feet deep, getting out flints, and witness went off with a barrow-load and shot it 40 yards away. As he returned he saw the earth from the top of the hole sliding down. Witness shouted to deceased who made a rush. But was caught by the earth and witness, unable to reach him, ran for a hand line. The earth came gradually at first, but then came down with a rush. When witness got back with the line deceased was covered completely. All the men then set-to and dug deceased out in a very short time. Witness thought the earth was safe. They had often tried to bar it down when it was like that, but found it very difficult to dislodge. They had not undermined the side which fell, that was dug as straight as the wall of a room. Witness was 24 years of age, and had worked for Mr. Clark, at Chilton, at similar work. They had worked at getting the top off nearly all day on Monday. Witness was paid piece-work, 1d. per yard top soil, 1s. per yard stone, 9d. per yard breaking, and 1s. per yard gravel. Witness was quite sure they had not undermined the side which fell, they had, however, undermined 1 feet the other side.

William Lane, 9, River Street, River, said he worked at the same work in another hole, and helped to dig out deceased. He was found doubled up as though sitting, but with his head down. They were ten minutes digging him out, and the doctor came three or four minutes afterwards.

The Coroner asked a number of questions as to the method of payment.

Witness said if they worked all day moving top soil they would only earn about 1s. each, but it would give them two days work getting stones out at 1s. 9d. a yard. In a good week they could earn 2 5s. 5d. between them.

The Coroner: That is very fair.

Witness further said he was 19, and had never worked at this before.

Mr. A. Long said he was summoned at 2.20 and arrived at 2.30 at the scene of the accident. Deceased had been dug out but was dead. There were two severe injuries to his head, and from the appearance of one on the forehead that might have caused death, and if it did not do so at once deceased would have been rendered unconscious before being suffocated by the earth.

The Coroner, in summing up, said that had elicited from his questions as to the pay, that the men evidently regarded getting stones out as more profitable work than getting the top soil away, and had dug the hole one side perpendicular and the other side undermined. There seemed to be no negligence on the part of anyone, except the men in not removing sufficient top soil.

The Jury returned a verdict of accidental death.


From the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, 8 December 1900. Price 1d.


The East Kent Coroner (R. M. Mercer Esq.) held an inquest at the "Railway Bell Inn," Kearsney, on Wednesday, on the body of Walter James Marley, aged 22 years. Deceased was working the previous day in a gravel pit in the orchard at Kearsney Manor, in company with another labourer named William Stanley. They were shovelling the earth out of the pit when suddenly, without a moment's warning, a great quantity of overhanging gravel gave way, and falling on Marley, completely burying him. Stapley was horrified at the occurrence, but quickly overcoming his fright, began shovelling the gravel away with all his might. At least Marley was dug out, but he was dead. Dr. Long was sent for, but, of course, he could do the deceased man no good.

The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."


From the Whitstable Times, 5 April, 1902.


On Thursday last the county police at Temple Ewell discovered the body of an old man lying on the roadway near the “Bell Hotel,” and finding him to be insensible he was conveyed to the Union Infirmary, where he died one hour after admission. It transpired that the deceased, whose name was William Thomas Smith, was 83 years of age, and he had tramped from Bethnal Green Workhouse, where he had been an inmate for some time. He was stated to be a Crimean veteran. Death was due to natural causes, and the Coroner, to whom the facts were reported, deemed an inquest unnecessary.


From the Dover Express, Friday 20 June, 1902.


Vincent Poil was summoned for sending his son Philip Poil, aged 12, to the "Railway Hotel," River, for the purpose of obtaining liquor in an unsealed vessel.

Police-sergeant Crowe said he saw the defendant go from the railway station, Kearsney, on May 29th, in company with his son to the "Railway Hotel" (formerly known as the "Railway Bell.") Defendant went inside, leaving his son on the doorstep of the public bar. After a short time defendant came out with a jug. The boy said to defendant, "There’s Crowe coming." Defendant replied. "He has nothing to do with you." He then handed the jug to the boy, and the boy stepped off the step and went home. Defendant came towards witness, who asked what the jug contained. He replied, “A pint of porter. What’s that to do with you?" "Witness then called the boy back, and found that this was so, and he told the defendant he should report the case.

Mr. Mowll addressed the Bench for the defence.

The Bench seemed to be at a variance as to there being an offence, and eventually retired.

The Chairman, on returning to Court, said that defendant had committed a breach of the law enacted for the protection of young children in the hope that they would be removed from the temptations to which they had been put in being sent to public houses.

He would be fined 5/- without costs.


From the Dover Express, 2 January 1903. Price 1d.



On Sunday, early in the afternoon, the body of a man shot in the right temple was found on the old Roman road, at the top of Cow Pastures, between Guston and Dover.

A revolver was found beneath him, and he had evidently shot himself and fallen forward on the weapon. From documents' found upon him he was identified at Mr. Arthur Hollot, station master of Upton Park station of the London, Tilbury, and Southend Railway. As the body was in the pariah of River, just outside the borough boundary, the inquest was held at the "Railway Hotel," Kearsney, on Tuesday afternoon, by the County Coroner (R. M. Mercer, Esq.). Mr. W. Clark was the foreman of the jury, and the following evidence was taken:-

Joshua Charles Hollot, 79, Cecil road, Upton Manor, Plaistow, said the deceased was his brother, a single man, aged 38 years. He had been stationmaster of Upton Park station of the Tilbury line for some years. Witness knew nothing of his brother being at Dover, the telegram announcing his death being the first thing he knew about it.
Mr. C. R. Hone, solicitor to the London, Tilbury, and Southend Railway, said that he had been directed to attend the inquest and give full information to the Court, because several of the London papers on Monday contained a report of the discovery of the body of the deceased, and it was added that from papers found on him it seemed that there had been some trouble between him and his Railway Company. This statement was wholly incorrect. There was no trouble between the deceased and his Company, and in justice to the deceased and his relations, Mr. Hone wished to make this quite clear, as the paragraph inferred that the deceased had run away, and that there had been some dishonesty; but nothing of the sort was the case. The deceased had been with the Company 12 years, working his way from a lad to the position he held, having been appointed stationmaster of Upton in 1894, and giving every satisfaction. Early this year, however, his correspondence with the Company became vague and involved, and his letters were of a long and strange character. This becoming worse in August they had the deceased medically examined, and the medical man advised that the deceased was suffering from nervousness and insomnia, and he advised that that he should go away for three weeks or a month. The Directors, out of regard for the man's service, did more than this—they put him on leave with full pay, and told him to go away until he was completely recovered, and put a relief stationmaster in his place during his absence. He wanted to stay near London, but the Directors advised him to go right away, and in the beginning of September he came to Dover. After staying here for a time he seems to have gone on the Continent, visiting Belgium, and Switzerland. From letters received from the deceased he seemed to have had some escapades on the Continent, and got into some little trouble. Later on, he came back to Dover, but he did not seem any better, and a week or so ago he wrote to the Directors to say that he did not think he should ever get any better or be able to take up his position strain. The Company then replied that they would pay his salary to the end of the year, and that his case would then be brought before the Directors.

The Coroner: There is then no suggestion against his honour?

No, he was a man to be defended upon.

The Coroner, who had been looking at some of the papers found oh the deceased, said that in addition to having had his salary paid since August, there was a letter from the deceased's bankers, addressed to the deceased at Montreux, dated 18th December, informing him that his credit balance was 300, so that he did not seem to be in any financial trouble.

In reply to the Coroner, the deceased's brother said that he knew nothing of his brother's illness as they did not, have time to call upon each other owing to their businesses.

The Coroner: I suppose a stationmaster's work is sometimes too much for some nervous people?

Mr. Hone: This is the first case I have met with after twenty years' experience.

Mrs. Emma O'Connor, 2 Avenue road, Frith road, Dover, said that the deceased lodged with her when he came to Dover in September, and that he also came on his return from the Continent on December 22nd, and stayed, till Saturday. When he returned from abroad he complained of being worse than before. On Saturday he left at 11 a.m., saying that he should return at 4 p.m., but he never did so. He had never spoken of suicide, and witness had never seen the revolver in his possession.

The Coroner said that the revolver was a Belgian one.

James Fletcher, of the Roman Road Whiting Works, said that he saw a man, apparently the deceased, between 3 and 4 p.m. walking on the Roman road about 100 yards from where the body was found. He heard no pistol report, but he was very deaf.

James Brown, a labourer, of River, said that he found the body at 20 minutes past noon on Sunday. The deceased was against a hedge in a sitting position, but fallen forward. Witness was too shocked to notice more than that the man was dead, and he at once went and gave information to the Dover police.

Sergeant Crowe, K.C.C., said that he received information from the Dover police, and went to the Roman road at 1.50 p.m. The body was quite dead, with a bullet wound into the brain on the right of the head. The deceased had fallen forwards and a four-chambered revolver was found beneath him. It was loaded in four chambers, and one had been discharged. A quantity of foreign money was found on him as well, and a watch and chain. It did not look as if anyone had robbed the deceased. There was no letter addressed to the Coroner or anyone else. Witness produced the deceased's effects, which included the contents of a handbag, a number of papers, railway passes, &c.

The Coroner said that apparently the deceased had been able to obtain free passes when travelling on the Continent.

The jury returned a verdict of suicide whilst temporarily insane, and expressed their satisfaction at the action of Mr. Hone in attending to clear away the allegations against the deceased's character.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 6 January, 1905. Price 1d.


On Saturday evening, an inquest was held at the “Railway Bell,” at Kearsney, by the Borough Coroner, Sydenham Payn, Esq., on the body of Mary Ann Harbour, who for many years has been a resident of the parish. On the previous day the neighbours noticed that no one was about at 2, Avenue Terrace, where she lived, and her sister being informed, an entrance was effected, and the unfortunately lady was found lying dead on her bedroom floor, having apparently fallen dead on getting out of bed. Mr. Toms was foreman of the Jury, and the following evidence was taken:-

Mrs. E. Jacolette, wife of Mr. M. Jacolette, photographic artist, Northbrook House, Biggin Street, Dover, said the body at 2, Avenue Terrace, was that of his sister, Mary Ann Harbour. She was 60 years of age, and a single woman. It was Miss Harbour's house, and Mrs. Minter lived with her. Mrs. Minter had been away to Canterbury to spend Christmas with her friends, and Miss Harbour was left alone. Witness last saw her a month ago. She was very well then, but said that she was not equal to coming to Dover very often. She was not of very strong health. She could cook very well herself, but witness could not say if she would take much trouble to prepare food for herself. She had every means to get food, and she went without, it was her own fault. On Friday afternoon, about four o'clock, Mrs. Goldfinch, a neighbour, sent a message to witness that the house was closed and the blinds down. Witness came over by the six o'clock train, and found the house locked up and the blinds down. When they could not make anyone hear, witness thought it best to get a carpenter to have the window opened. One came, and he opened the window, and got through and opened the door. The carpenter and Mrs. Goldfinch went upstairs first. She followed, and saw the deceased in the back bedroom, on the floor, almost at the front of the bed. She had been to bed, and was in her night clothes. There was a teapot and some toast and biscuits. The teapot was empty, and the cup and saucer had not been used. She was lying on her left side. Witness had not the slightest reason to suppose that she took her own life. She was comfortably off.

Dr. A. Long said he was called in about 7.30 on the previous evening. He was taken into the bedroom described by the last witness, and found the deceased lying on the floor, she having been dead for some hours. She was lying on her left side, with both legs and arms bent up, but no expression of pain on her face. It was apparent that she had quietly got out of bed, and walked round the room and fell down. There were no external marks on the body. Witness thought she fell down through sheer disability. She was very thin, but she was of spare habit. Witness had attended her about ten years ago for influenza, and saw her also about a week ago, but not as a patient. When he attended her she was very weak, and the same thing might have happened then. He attributed death to weakness caused by the cold acting on her weak heart. There were no suspicious circumstances as far as he could see.

One of the Jurymen said that he saw the deceased on Thursday morning when he called for orders.

Mrs. Jacolette said that a Mrs. King had met the deceased out on Thursday, going to the Stores.

The Coroner, in summing up, pointed out that the cause and manner of death seemed to be clear. Probably, in the absence of Mrs. Minter, she hardly looked after herself as she should have done, and in her weak state was seized with an attack of syncope, and there being no one to render her assistance, died.

The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 16 July, 1915. Price 1d.


At the Dover Police Court on Monday, before Mr. M. Pepper (in the chair), Captain R. B. Cay, R.N., and Messrs. H. Hobday.

Charles Hogg, of the “Railway Hotel,” River, pleaded guilty to a summons for, on the 24th June, then being a person supplied with water from the East Kent Water Company, unlawfully fixing a hose pipe to the supply without first obtaining the permission of the said company. A second charge was preferred against the defendant for using the water for other than domestic purposes.

Mr. Ernest Chitty, appeared to prosecute and it was a serious case at the present time when the company had to supply a large number of troops in the district. It was a serious matter that people should have unauthorised use of the water. It was well know that if water was required for garden purposes the water was supplied by meter. Defendant had a large garden and two lawns and not only did he get the ordinary warning which is got by printed notices on the demand notes, but last year a special notice was attached that the water should not be used for garden purposes. In addition to that on the 14th, or 15th, or 16th of June he was found having a hose attached to the supply and watering the garden and he was warned about the matter, the Company decided not to prosecute on that occasion. However, on the 24th, the same thing was found to be going on, and, although the Company did not want to be vindictive against this man they wished it to be a warning. If people wanted water for their garden they have it by paying a minimum of 7s. 6d. a quarter, and to pay by meter.

George Harmer Gilham, 12, The Avenue, Kearsney, local manager to the East Kent Water Company, said on or about the 16th June in the evening he saw a hose pipe connected through defendant's window and water going on to the lawn. Witness warned him that it must not be done again unless he paid for it and had permission. On the 24th of June he saw the same hose pipe through the window and watering the lawn. He went to the house and saw the son, and the son's wife, he thought it was. He thought he heard defendant in the house.

The Bench inflicted a fine of 1.

Defendant: The first summons I have ever had, and I am 67 years of age.

The second charge was withdrawn on the bench making a conviction of the first case.

The Chairman said the bench had taken the two charges into consideration.


Dover Express 12th July 1918.

The Dover Tribunal met on Wednesday afternoon at the Town Hall. The Mayor presided and there were also present Messrs. Robson, Barnes and Beeby.

Mr. R. Mowll appeared for Mr. T. Lewis, aged 45, Grade 11, landlord of the "Railway Hotel", Kearsney. Applicant also cultivated a market garden of 1 and a half acres and he had a large stable and yard, which provided accommodation for officers in the district. He was also looking after 1 and a half acres of market garden for another man, He stated that he did catering., whereupon the NSR said that he was informed that no catering was done for civilians except on Saturdays. The applicant said that he was surprised to hear that. The NSR said that he was so informed on a Wednesday three weeks ago. He submitted that the business could be carried on by the applicant's wife and daughter.

Two months exemption final was granted.


Dover Express, 03 April 1936.


Above photo showing the Wedding at Buckland Church, on Tuesday, of Miss Mary Hare, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Hare, of Dover, to Mr. John Henry Weston, son of Mr. and Mrs. Jack Weston, of the "Railway Hotel," Kearsney.


Originally the "Railway Bell" and also referred to as the "Railway Hotel" and then "Pickwicks" (May 1983) but now reverted back to the "Railway Bell" again.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 10 December, 1937. Price 1d.


Mr. Weston, licensee of the "Railway Hotel," Kearsney, applied for an extension from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., on December 8th , for a dinner and dance in connection with the annual share out.

The Chief Constable said there was no objection.

The Mayor: Won't be much left, will there?

The application was granted.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News. 31 March 1939.

The West Street Foxhounds will meet at 11.30 a.m. on Thursday, April 6th - Bell, Kearsney, (by invitation).


From the Dover Express and East Kent News. 4 July 1952.


The Chairman, Alderman A. J. Fenn, reported to the Works Committee on Tuesday that he and the Borough Engineer had agreed that the only suitable alternative site for the seat at the bottom of Whitfield Hill was by the Railway Hotel.

At its last meeting the Committee had agreed that the seat should be removed from the bottom of Whitfield Hill after one member had said it was almost suicidal to sit there.


From the Dover Mercury, 18 August 2005.

Pubs bid to open round the clock.

TWO of Dover's pubs and a 'supermarket' have asked for the right to serve alcohol 24 hours a day.

Under the Government's new licensing regime, all pubs, clubs and businesses serving alcohol and hot food after 11pm, and offering public entertainment, can ask for variations in the times they serve alcohol.

The Britannia pub in Townwall Street, and the Railway Bell in London Road, Kearsney, have applied for licences that would allow them to serve alcohol at all times of the day and night.

And Tesco in Whitfield wants to offer its shoppers the choice of buying alcohol whenever they visit the store.

Both licenses cite very different reasons for their applications, dismissing any thoughts of round-the-clock binge drinking.

Sarah Webb, licensee of the Britannia near the harbour, said: "We are looking to cater for people who work shifts and do not want to go to a nightclub. We know from our customers that many would like a quiet drink, outside normal hours."

Francis Gorham, licensee of the Railway Bell, said his application was not about keeping the pub open 24 hours a day, seven days a week."

He added: "This is about being able to decide, as responsible licensees, a suitable time to close the pub. One night that could be 3am, another 11pm."


Following the August 6 deadline for licence applications, the district council has received 480 applications out of an expected 650 for the Dover district.

Many pubs have applied for longer hours, especially at weekends. The Flotilla and Firkin, in Bench Street, wants to close at 3am on Fridays and Saturdays, while the Old Endeavour, in London Road, has applied to stay open until at 2.30am on Fridays and Saturdays.


From the Dover Express, Thursday, 24 February, 2011. 60p


Advertising feature

Wedding co-ordinator Kylie Marsh, owner of Gorgeous to Go, the gift and wrapping service, has recently launched Wedding Bells at The Railway Bell.

Situated in the popular village of River near Dover, Kylie intends to make the most of this traditional British pubs lovely location and combine it with her planning skills to offer a truly bespoke service.

"The setting really lends itself to country-style weddings, explains Kylie. "But I am more than happy to come up with a bespoke design or theme - whatever your wish is."

Kylie likes to really get to know her clients and is available for consultation 24/7. She is quick to point out what a wonderful wedding need not cost the earth. With a book full of contacts, she will always go the extra mile to ensure best possible deal on everything, from teaspoons to toilets!

Kylie will take the strain and stress out of all your wedding planning, leaving you free to enjoy the whole experience from beginning to end.

Wedding Bells at The Railway Bell will be hosting a Wedding Fayre on March 26. 2011, from 10am to 4pm. Held within the actual venue, there will be a range of specially selected exhibitors from the local area, all able to give you a taste of what they can provide. Admission is free and there is parking available.

For more information, contact Wedding Bells at The Railway Bell on 07789 937638.

Wedding Bells

From the Dover Express, 16 October 2014.

Family-friendly pub voted the best by you

RAILWAY Bell publicans Billy and Zara White are “over the moon” after their pub was voted the best place to drink in Dover in an Express online poll.

Despite running the London Road establishment for just six months, it secured 17 per cent of almost 500 votes lodged.

The "Cricketers" in River came second with 12 per cent, with town centre micropub "Rack of Ale" in third with 8.5 per cent.

Billy & Zara White

Born and bred Dovorian Billy, who was formerly store manager at the nearby Iceland, said: “We’ve had lots of people come in and congratulate us and saying they voted for us, so it’s been a lovely weekend.”

The family-friendly pub and offers kids’ meal for 1 when ordered with an adult meal.

The pub and its nine staff members have also started a carvery on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday lunchtimes, with reduced prices for senior citizens.

The pub hosts live music every Saturday and a number of charity events, including a walk over hot coals on November 2 alongside fireworks and food.

On Saturday from 9pm local band Gentlemen of Few will be performing.

From the East Kent Mercury, 16 June 2015.

Landlady's night trek up Ben Nevis raises 1k.

Zara White 2015

Above photo Zara White of the "Railway Bell" walked for seven hours.

A DOVER landlady trekked to the top of Ben Nevis in the dark to raise more than 1,000 in a tribute to her grandad.

Zara White, who runs the "Railway Bell" with her husband Billy, set off at 10.30pm on Saturday, July 4, and climbed for seven hours and 13 minutes amid gales and sleet.

She completed the "midnight challenge" to raise money for the Alzheimer's Society; as her grandad Tony Hyder, 83, suffers from dementia.

Mrs White said: "I wanted to complete the trek to raise awareness and support research into the condition, as well as potentially providing funds to support the families and carers of those who suffer with this cruel condition.

She raised a total of 1,300, Any further donations can be made by texting ZARZ81 3 to 70070.

• Mr and Mrs White plan to complete the 100km London to Brighton trek next year to raise more money for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

From the East Kent Mercury, 23 July 2015.

Landlady shows real spirit for peak climb.

A pub landlady has climbed Britain's highest mountain in aid of her grandad who is suffering from dementia.

Mother-of-five Zara White scaled Ben Nevis, near Fort William in Scotland, overnight earlier this month, reaching the top in seven hours and 13 minutes.Zara White 2015

Zara, who runs the "Railway Bell" in London Road, Dover, with her husband Billy, did it for charity Alzheimer's Society and to raise awareness.

The 33-year-old said: "Me being a bit of a grandad's girl I discredited it for a little while until the last few years.

"It has taken me years to accept that his condition has not just been a touch of old age forgetfulness.

"I used to walk a lot with him and I wanted to do something for Alzheimer's that meant something to me and him."

Grandad Tony is 83 and lives with his wife Shirley who is 80 and is his full-time carer.

"He hasn't got it as bad as some people have, we are lucky it isn't as bad as some people at his age," she said.

"I heard some really devastating stories when I was climbing the mountain."

Zara has always wanted to climb Ben Nevis as she felt it represented the joint interest they both had in being outside.

She said: "Together my grandad and I would scale the surrounding hillsides when I was a child and he would guide and encourage my love of the great outdoors."

Climbing the mountain on her own, Zara said that it wasn't long before she paired up with another climber and they both completed the challenge together.

She said: "It was really nice that everyone was there for the same reason.

"My only hope of completing this climb was that he will know why I have done it and on my way up I can reflect on his condition and come to terms with the changes he is going through."

A regular punter in the "Railway Bell" donated his walking poles to Zara before she left for Scotland, and his wife, one of her previous teachers at the Dover Grammar School for Girls, is now in a care home with dementia.

About 1,300 has been pledged in sponsorship of the climb, but donations are still welcomed until this Saturday.

Sponsorship forms are at the Railway Bell, or text ZARZ81 to 70070 to give 3.

To access Zara's Just Giving page, visit:


After a few weeks closed during April 2014, the pub opened again on the 3rd May.

Shock horror. The pub was open on Sunday 28th February 2016, and shut and boarded up on Monday 29th February 2016. Local rumour has it (unconfirmed), a manager employed by the license holder working inside absconded with 8,000 in cash forcing the pub to close as payments couldn't be made to the brewery. If that's true I hope the thief gets his just reward. A village without a pub is no village at all.

Glad to say that the pub reopened again on Friday 18th March 2016.


From the Dover Mercury, 17 March 2016.

New team at the Bell.

The Railway Bell pub in River is set to re-open under new management tomorrow (Friday).

Nathan Morgan & Ron Hall

Nathan Morgan and Ron Hall outside The Railway Bell.

Nathan Morgan and Ronald Hall, who are landlords of the "Bridge Wardens" and the "Sportsman" in Rochester, will be taking over the reins.

Their plan is to continue the pub's success but also develop the restaurant side.

Mr Morgan said: "We will be carrying on as normal really, but the restaurant will be used a lot more."

He said the pair were hiring a new chef who they hoped would develop a great menu of pub grub.

The Railway Bell was formerly run by Zara and Billy White, who also ran The "Park Inn" in Ladywell, before this too was taken over by new management.

Mrs White, a former Dover Girls' Grammar pupil, posted on Facebook to announce the pub's closure two weeks ago.

She said: "Sorry for shocking some of you with our closure.

"The pub is back up for rent this time. It's a beaut, so I am sure someone will snap it up quickly.

"I can assure you there were no current plans when we left that it would be developed and we are sure it will remain a pub."

It is owned by pub company Enterprise Inns, which also owns the "Bridge Wardens" and "Sportsman" in Rochester, and asked Mr Morgan and Mr Hall to take over the pub in River. Mr Morgan said the pub in London Road hadn't been trading as it should have been but he had high hopes for its future.


For a while between 1983 and 2002 the pub went under the name of "Pickwicks."

After being rather sporadic as to whether it would be open or not in November and December 2018, it finally closed its doors around Christmas time 2018. Hopefully awaiting new tenants.

Unfortunately planning permission went in on 16 January 2020 to erect 6 new dwellings and the conversion of the current building to 6 self-contained flats on the site. That makes another 12 dwellings from the current premises and another loss of a pub that had been serving the local community for over 150 years.



MORLEY Richard 1871+ (age 48 in 1871Census)

DOWNS Richard 1874+ Post Office Directory 1874

DOWN George 1881-Jan/1900 (age 54 in 1881Census) Post Office Directory 1882Pikes 1889Pike 1890Piks 1891Pikes 1895Pikes 1896-7Pikes 1898Pikes 1899Keller's Directory 1899Pikes 1899-1900

CURTIS Samuel Jan/1900+ Dover Express (Formerly stationmaster at Kearsney age 60 in 1901Census)

CURTIS Mary J 1901-Dec/04 Post Office Directory 1903Dover ExpressF

Last pub licensee had ELPHINSTONE Alfred Dec/1904-07+

TERRY Edward Ernest Gregory 1911-13+ (age 33 in 1911Census) Post Office Directory 1913

FURNEAUX A to Aug/1914 Post Office Directory 1914Dover Express

HOGG Mr Charles Aug/1914+ (Dover Express from Hamstead)

LEWIS T Mr 1918-Sept/19 Dover Express

WESTON John Sept/1919-48+ Dover ExpressPikes 1923Pikes 1924Pikes 1932-33Pikes 1938-39Pikes 48-49

HAMMOND Alfred W 1969-81 Whitbread Fremlins 74

GORHAM Francis & WOODWARD Katherine 2002-Nov/11

CONNOLLY James Nov/2011-Feb/13

Holding Company Mar/2013-June/13

GEVAUX Pauline 28/June/2013-Feb/14

WHITE Billy & Zara Apr/2014-Feb/2016

HUBBARD Karl Mar/2016+


Post Office Directory 1874From the Post Office Directory 1874

Post Office Directory 1882From the Post Office Directory 1882

Pikes 1889From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1889

Pike 1890From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1890

Piks 1891From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1891

Pikes 1895From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1895

Pikes 1896-7From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1896-97

Pikes 1898From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1898

Pikes 1899From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1899

Pikes 1899-1900From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1899-1900

Kelly's Directory 1899From the Kelly's Directory 1899

Post Office Directory 1903From the Post Office Directory 1901

Post Office Directory 1913From the Post Office Directory 1913

Post Office Directory 1914From the Post Office Directory 1914

Pikes 1923From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1923

Pikes 1924From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1924

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

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

Pikes 48-49From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1948-49

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:-