Page Updated:- Saturday, 06 April, 2024.


Earliest 1804-

Royal Oak

Closed 24 Mar 2019

60 Island Road


Royal Oak 1907

Above shows a postcard of the "Royal Oak" in 1907, showing the staff standing outside.

Royal oak 1910

Above photo circa 1910, kindly sent by Maureen Dixon.

Royal Oak 2013

 Above photo taken by Paul Skelton, 21 August 2013.

Royal Oak 2013

Above photo taken by Paul Skelton, 21 August 2013.

Royal Oak sign 1991Royal Oak sign 1995

Above sign left, July 1991, sign right, June 1995.

With thanks from Brian Curtis

Royal Oak sign 2013

Above sign taken by Paul Skelton, 21 August 2013.

Royal Oak 2019

Above photo 26 March 2019 by Rory Kehoe.

Royal Oak 2019

Above photo 26 March 2019 by Rory Kehoe.

Former Royal Oak 2024

Above photo 23 February 2024 by Rory Kehoe. Now operating as a vintage-themed cafe/tea room.

Former Royal Oak 2024

Above photo 23 February 2024 by Rory Kehoe.

Royal Oak card 1973Royal Oak card 1973

Above card issued April 1973. Sign number 8.

Royal Oak beermat

Above beermat, circa 1970s, kindly sent by Mike L.


Kentish Gazette, 1 June, 1804.


Thursday died at Upstreet, in the parish of Chislet, Mr. S. Hobday, master of the "Royal Oak" public-house, at that place.


Kentish Gazette, Tuesday 18th September 1804.

Marsh Land.

To be sold by auction by Messrs. Dyason, and Son, at the sign of the "Royal Oak" at Upstreet, on Saturday 22nd September, 1804, about 5 o'clock in the evening, (unless sooner disposed off by private contract, of which notice will be given.)

Two pieces of exceedingly rich and valuable Marsh Land called the Tipper Land, containing about 6 acres, with a good carriage road leading to the same; situate in the parish of Chislet, near the Tipper House; now in the occupation of Mr. Ewman, who quits at Michaelmas, 1805.

For further particulars apply to Mr. William May, carpenter, at Birchington; or to the Auctioneers, Ramsgate.


Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal, Friday 29 March 1811.

To be sold by auction, at the sign of the "Royal Oak," Upstreet, on Thursday, 4th of April, 1811, at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, unless previously disposed off by private contract.

All those three brick built messuages or tenements, for the orchard, gardens, and premises thereunto belonging, containing by by estimation one acre, more or less, situate at or near a place called Nethergong, in the parish of Chislet, and now the tenure or occupation of James Hutchings, Richard Richards, and Thomas Cullen.

May be viewed by leave of the tenants, and particulars known, by applying to W. Smith, Ash, next Sandwich.

Feb. 26, 1811.


Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal 30 March 1819.

Kentish Gazette 30 March 1819.

About eleven o'clock on Sunday night, the "Royal Oak" public-house, at Upstreet, was broke into at the tap-room window, by a tall man, who appeared to be dressed in a dirty round frock. The villain had the audacity to ascend the staircase, and enter the bed-room of the landlord, who with his wife, had retired about half an hour, and they were awoke by his opening the drawer of a chest in the room; an alarm was instantly given, but he succeeded in making his escape, carrying off a silver watch which he had taken from the head of the bed before his intrusion was discovered.


From the Kentish Gazette, 18 February 1845.


IN Canterbury on the fifth inst. a BLACK MOTTLED COACH DOG, supposed to be detained. Any person giving information of the same, shall be rewarded by applying to Mr. Saunders, at the "Oak Inn," Upstreet.


Kentish Gazette, 29 January 1850.


On Monday evening the members of the Royal Oak Philanthropic Institution held their first anniversary, when about thirty members assembled at the above inn to partake of a substantial and excellent dinner, provided by Mr. Thomas Saunders, the worthy landlord. Mr. John William Trewren was in the chair. This institution, although established but one year, has relieved the widow, the orphan, and the distressed.


Canterbury Journal, Kentish Times and Farmers' Gazette, Saturday 15 October 1910.

Upstreet. The "Royal Oak."

At the St. Augustine's Petty Sessions at Canterbury on Saturday, the licence of the "Royal Oak," Upstreet, was transferred from William James Warwood to Percy Clive Unicume.


Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald 13 February 1932.


At the meeting of the Blean Rural District Council on Tuesday, Messrs. Fremlin wrote on behalf of the tenant of the "Royal Oak," Upstreet, complaining that a path at the rear of the house, which had been a public footpath for 70 years, had been closed. The letter asked that attention should be given to the matter and that steps should be taken to keep the right of way open. Mr. J. N. Ross said it was decided a fortnight ago that the matter should be referred to the Parish Council, and the Surveyor (Mr. F. A. Ward) said that a plan of the footpath had been sent to the Parish Council. It was decided to reply that the question had been referred to the Parish Council.


From the Kentish Chronicle and General Advertiser, 5 October, 1861. Price 1 1/2d.


George Littlewood, Mary Littlewood, William Saunders, James Cole, and John Biggs, were charged with stealing money from the till of the “Royal Oak” public house at Upstreet.

Mildred Daniels deposed that her husband kept the “Royal Oak” public house, at Upstreet, in the parish of Chislet. Yesterday, about half-past eleven in the morning, she had occasion to go to the drawer which contained the copper money taken in the course of her husbands business. The drawer was under the counter in the bar. It then contained about five or six shillings in copper money, besides a quantity of farthings, of which there might have been about a shilling's worth. She went to the place where the drawer was kept about a quarter to twelve the same day, and it was then gone together with its contents. It was painted on the front a light stone colour, and about five inches square. Any one in the habit of frequenting the house could not get at the drawer. It could only be taken by some party entering the bar. She had examined the copper money produced by P.C. Pack (as found on the prisoners), and could swear to one penny piece as being part of that stolen.

The prisoner was fully committed for trial.


Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, Saturday 14 February 1880.

UPSTREET. Inquest.

On Saturday last an inquest was held at the "Royal Duke Inn," (sic) Upstreet, before Dr. T. S. Johnson Deputy Coroner, touching the death of Charles Edwards, a twin child eight months old. Mr. F. Wacher, Surgeon, of Canterbury, deposed that on the previous day he was at Upstreet and was called to see the deceased, he found the child dead. He examined the boy externally and found no marks of violence thereon. Death was caused by asphyxia, which might have been produced by convulsions, bronchitis, or suffocation.

Caroline Edwards said the deceased was her son. Her daughter had been in the habit of having him to sleep with her. He appeared to be quite well on the 6th inst. About half-past seven on the morning of the 7th her daughter called her to the deceased, whom she found dead but warm.

Catherine Edwards, daughter of the last witness, said she had had the deceased to sleep with her. He appeared all right on the 5th inst. She got up at half-past 5 on Friday morning, leaving the child in bed. About two hours afterwards she went upstairs and found he was dead, he was then uncovered, and she had not heard him cry.

The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death."


Thanet Advertiser, Friday 31 August 1928.

Air Raid Memories.

Mr. William Brewer, of Ramsgate, to whom the licence of the "Royal Oak," Upstreet, was temporarily transferred at Herne Bay, on Saturday, was for a number of years a member of the Ramsgate Fire Brigade. He was one of the fireman awarded the medal of the Order of the British Empire for services rendered on the memorable occasion when the German aircraft bombed and destroyed the Fishmarket at Ramsgate, then used as a naval magazine and ammunition dump, on 17th June, 1917.



Thanet Advertiser, Friday 8 February 1929.

Minster. Shaking the Oak.

The "White Horse Inn," (Minster) Darts Club played a profitable visit to the "Royal Oak," Upstreet, on Wednesday, when they won 6 out of the 11 games played.



The house has also been addresses as in Chislet.

I am informed in August 2016 that pub is currently closed and up for sale. However, it must have reopened at some time after as the current news is that it is going to close on Sunday 24th March 2019.


Royal Oak notice 2019

The above sign says the following:- The Royal Oak.

It is with great regret and sadness that due to lack of use and interests the "Royal Oak" will cease trading on the Sunday 24th March 2019 pending completion of sale.

We would like to apologise and thank the customers, who we now call friends that did support the pub and hope that the "Royal Oak" will carry on and hopefully thrive with another owner.

It goes without saying that I will miss being behind the bar and enjoying the company of the few but hope it is understood that the decision made has not been taken lightly.

Tracy, Andy, Michael and Emily X.


Latest news 2 April from Rory Kehoe who says the sale of the pub has been agreed (to whom/what as was not stated) but the landlord is offering to open Fri/Sat/Sun 12-7 during the conveyance period, up until completion. Perhaps just to clear stocks.

Latest info from John Bates, 15 October 2019 says there appears to be some movement inside, but doesn't know what as yet. Hopefully someone getting ready to open for Christmas. Further info received 26 October 2019 says lights on again for past few days when I have driven past, including the outside ones and those lighting the sign up.

Now confirmed as lights on and shelves stocked up with bottles.


From the By Gerry Warren, 2 January 2024.


Struggling pub The Royal Oak in Upstreet, near Canterbury, turned into the Spitfire Tearoom.

A historic village pub which fell on hard times has been revived – as a Forties-themed vintage tea room.

Gone are the pumps, bottled beers and glass mugs at the 17th-century Royal Oak at Upstreet near Canterbury.

Simon Kidd 2024

Simon Kidd in his tea room at Upstreet.

Instead, there are China tea cups, saucers and cake stands, together with a mix of eclectic period furniture and memorabilia.

Now re-branded the Spitfire Tearoom, it is the brainchild of owner Simon Kidd, who says the pub was no longer viable.

Instead, he is using his knowledge and experience of previously running the wartime-themed Spitfire Cafe in Hythe to good use.

But perhaps the writing was on the wall for the Royal Oak, based on the A28, back in March when Kent Online’s ‘Secret Drinker’ visited and observed its “lack of kerb appeal”.

Inside, it faired a little better with the reviewer likening the spot to “having the feel of an old bordello”.

He added: “It would perhaps be best, and fairest, to describe this place as a work in progress and our host is the first to admit he’s got a fairly lengthy ‘to-do list’.

“This is exactly the sort of place we should all be supporting and encouraging – Simon must be applauded for making every effort to keep the village pub alive, and the fact he’s introducing food and live music just adds to the appeal.”

It was a description which Simon thought was “fair” and gratefully accepted the praise he was given for trying to keep an old village pub alive.

Spitfire Cafe Simon Kidd 2024

Simon Kidd outside the former Royal Oak at Upstreet which is now a vintage tea room.

Sadly, just a month later, Simon called time on the pub business, deciding it simply was not viable, like many others throughout the county in recent years.

He had taken on the lease of the pub back in 2019 after the previous hosts closed due to “lack of use”.

“I re-opened it just before the pandemic and lockdown hit – so not a great start,” said the dad-of-five.

“I gave it a good go but, frankly, it just wasn’t viable and I had to shut.”

It was a sad end to the former coaching house’s time as a pub.

Spitfire Cafe inside 2024

The Spitfire tea room at Upstreet has a vintage vibe.

Spitfire Cafe inside 2024

The pub dates back to the 17th-century.

But Simon, 50, hopes it has a new lease of life as a vintage tea room, offering a cosy, warm welcome with vintage background music lending to the atmosphere.

Three weeks on from the launch and Simon says the main problem with attracting customers is little passing footfall and traffic which speeds past.

“It’s hard to make the place standout and there are often vehicles parked in front,” he said.

“But the customers I have had have praised the place.”

“I have tried to make it cosy with a vintage feel which I love, “ said Simon.

“It’s just a case of getting people through the door.”

After a recent visit Hazel McNicholas wrote online: “As usual, your food is perfect and always delicious. The best. Well done, Simon.”

Simon is offering traditional breakfasts and pre-booked group afternoon teas with sandwiches, tea cakes, cupcakes and other traditional offerings for 15 per person, but welcomes walk-ins.

“All I can do is give it all I can and hope the village and customers support me,” he said.



HOBDAY S Mr to June/1804 dec'd

SAUNDERS Thomas 1845-51 (widower age 44 in 1851Census)

DANIELS John 1851-61+ Melville's 1858 (age 39 in 1861Census)

HOLNESS John 1871+ (widower age 40 in 1871Census)

HOWARD/LLOWARCH Evan 1874-82+ (age 55 in 1881Census) Post Office Directory 1874Post Office Directory 1882

HOWARD/LLOWARCH Lucy 1891+ (widow age 54 in 1891Census)

JOSLING William 1901-08 dec'd (age 64 in 1901Census) Kelly's 1903

Last pub licensee had WARWOOD William James 1908-Nov/1910 Whitstable Times

UNICUME Percy Clive Nov/1910-11+ (age 35 in 1911Census) Whitstable Times

BREWER William 1928+

SPRATT Thomas Henry Spratt 1936-38+ Post Office Directory 1938

O'LEARY Chris & Sue 1980s

KIDD Simon 2019+


Melville's 1858From Melville's Directory 1858

Post Office Directory 1874From the Post Office Directory 1874


Post Office Directory 1882From the Post Office Directory 1882

Whitstable TimesWhitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald

Kelly's 1903From the Kelly's Directory 1903

Post Office Directory 1938From the Post Office Directory 1938


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