Sort file:- Dover, November, 2023.

Page Updated:- Sunday, 19 November, 2023.

PUB LIST PUBLIC HOUSES Barry Smith and Paul Skelton

Earliest 1713-

(Name from)

Saracen's Head Inn

Latest 1895

New Street Pigot's Directory 1823

Biggin Street Pigot's Directory 1828-29Pigot's Directory 1840Bagshaw's Directory 1847


Wellington Hotel

The left shows Lefevre's Temperance Hotel, formally the Saracen's Head Inn.


According to Jo Harman this pub used to be called the "Horseshoe" when Thomas Challis had it in 1613. The name changed to the "Saracen's Head" by 1730 and from the passage below it seems also had been rebuilt by this year as well. I am wondering whether the new building caused the change of name also, but reading between the lines I would guess it changed name before being demolished and rebuilt.


Sketch of Dover by G.Ledger 1799.

Thomas CHALLICE “Jan 3 1613 left to the poor in bread 10 shillings yearly, payable from a house called the Saracen’s Head, etc. Dover, St Mary Charities, Dover.


From the Kentish Post or Canterbury News-Letter, November 4-7, 1730. Kindly sent from Alec Hasenson.

The Saracen's Head Inn in Dover, now in the occupation of Robert Arthur, having been pulled down, is now rebuilt.


From the Kentish Post or Canterbury News-Letter, March 20 to 23, 1751. Kindly sent from Alec Hasenson.

Advert for a Cock Match at Mr. John Gibson's, at the Saracens's Head in Dover.


From the Kentish Post, 15 July, 1757. Kindly sent from Alec Hasenson.

Privateer to be sold at Mr. John Gibson's at the "Saracen's Head" in Dover, July 15th 1757.


From the Kentish Post, January 2-6, 1762. Kindly sent from Alec Hasenson.

Sale of a Messuage at Mr. John Gibson's, Sign of the "Saracen's Head," Dover.


Kentish Gazette, 28 November, 1806.

On Saturday last, W. Howland, private in the 14th regiment, was committed to Dover gaol, charged on the oath of ----- Coles, a silversmith, with breaking open a box containing seals, lockets, and other trinkets to the value £200 and rifling it of its contents. It appeared that on examination, that Howland had been entrusted with the charge of the box on Friday evening, to deliver at the "Saracen’s Head Inn," but on his way thither he committed the robbery, and after taking the goods out of the box, threw it into the church yard, where it was found next morning. Several of the artefacts were found concealed in his apartment.


From the Dover Telegraph and Cinque Ports General Advertiser, Saturday 23 November, 1833. Price 7d.


A young countryman coming into the town was accosted by a fellow, who, under the pretence of trafficking about some straw, enticed the fiat into a public-house; here he was surrounded by a number of sharps, one of whom said he had lost a dog, at the same time producing  a dog-collar and padlock. After some further conversation, the fellow unlocked the lock several times, and challenging the clodhopper to do the same, offering " to lay him"  all the money he had in his pocket that he could not. The latter agreed, and produced 8s. 6d. which he immediately doubled by the other party. The sharps then cunningly presented the gull with a lock, manufactured so as not to open at all, which of course defied all his efforts to unlock, and he lost his money. The police will do well to look after these gentry.


From the Dover Telegraph and Cinque Ports General Advertiser, Saturday 30 November, 1833. Price 7d.

Last week we gave an account of a simple fellow who had been swindled by a trick with a lock off a dogs collar, at Maidstone fair, and we now have to record a similar cheat played off at the "Saracen's Head" in this town.

On Wednesday a poor labourer from Hythe, named Figg entered the above house accompanied by a stranger. Soon after they were seated two other fellows entered the room, when the former produced a lock, which he stated he could not open and gave it to Mr Figg, who opened it three or four times with ease; the other however pretended that it had not been opened and that he would bet him any money he could not open it. Figg being conscious that he had opened it, offered to bet all the money he had about him, £2. 14s. that he would open it again: the stakes were deposited in the hands of one of the confederates, and another lock or the same lock with a spring, was delivered to poor Figg, who not being able to open it, the stakes were then decided to belong to, and delivered over accordingly, to the man of the locks, Figg was then induced to accompany one of the fellows into the fair, who soon gave him the slip, and the whole party decamped, leaving the poor dupe with pockets to let.


From the Dover Telegraph, price 7d. 5 July 1834.

William Finn and William Beer, (well known at Dover as Blucher Beer,) two ill-looking fellows, were indicted for stealing, on the 3rd June last, two fowls, at Alkham, the property of Elizabeth Holmes. There were two other counts, charging them with stealing a fowl belonging to William Horton, and one from Ambrose Cullen, of the "Saracen's Head Inn," Dover.

The case was fully proved, and the chairman immediately sentenced the prisoners to seven years' transportation.



It was said to be there, on the corner with New Street in 1613 and mentioned the same address in 1823 (Pigot's directory). The 1824 Pigot's directory mentions it as "Saracen's Head, (& posting Inn) with an Elizabeth Walter & Sons". It would be more accurate to say the forerunner of New Street. I have heard this used to be the principle Market-house in the area around and before 1771.

Phineas Constable, a twenty one year old milkman, died in 1842. Like all of us, his heart must have stopped beating. The inquest at these premises decided that he must have died by a visitation from god. That seems to have been a fairly common, and convenient, summing up at that time.


From the Dover Telegraph and Cinque Ports General Advertiser, Saturday 27 August, 1842. Price 5d.


An inquest was held on Monday, at the "Saracen's Head," before G. T. Thompson, Esq., Coroner for the borough, on the body of Phineas Constable, milkman, aged 21 years.

Morris Potter, rope-maker, deposed, that on Sunday afternoon about 5 o'clock, I saw deceased, who appeared very faint, and leaning against a woman, who asked him to assist her in taking him in doors, which I did. Deceased said he thought he was dying, and I left him in the room. I knew the deceased, who has for some years been in the employ of Mr. Jenkins, milkman, at Charlton.

Mary Pritchard stated, that she saw the deceased stagger against a wall, near Elsonis's Cottages, and, with the assistance of last witness, took him in doors, where he died almost immediately.

Mr. Richard Thomas Hunt, surgeon, deposed, that on a post mortem examination of the body, he found he death had been caused by an aneurism of the heart, and the Jury returned a verdict of - "Died from the visitation of God."


From the Dover Telegraph and Cinque Ports General Advertiser, Saturday 7 January, 1843. Price 5d.


An inquest was held, at the "Saracen's Head," before G. T. Thompson, Esq., Coroner for the borough, on the body of a child aged nine weeks, son of Richard Nicholls, fishmonger. From the evidence of Mr. R. T. Hunt, surgeon, it appeared that the death of the child was caused by convulsions, produced by congestion of the brain, and the Jury returned their Verdict accordingly.


From the Dover Telegraph and Cinque Ports General Advertiser, Saturday, 12 December, 1846. Price 5d.


Dec. 5, at Dover, Mr. Prebble, landlord of the "Saracen's Head Inn," aged 58.


Kentish Gazette, 5 March 1850.

Dover United Friendly Society.

A meeting of the members of this recently formed Society took place on Monday, at the "Saracen’s Head," when a code of laws was submitted for consideration, and unanimously approved of. It appears that this Society has commenced under favourable auspices, is already provided with an efficient management, and promises well to aid in the amelioration of distress, by a provision for sickness and advanced years. We hear that the future meetings will be held on the first Wednesday evening in each month, at the above


Kentish Gazette, 13 August 1850.

Coroner's Inquest.

On Thursday afternoon an inquest was held at the "Saracen's Head Inn," Biggin Street, before G. T. Thompson, Esq., Coroner for the Borough, on the body of a child named Emma Isabella Reeves, aged 2 years, who died on Wednesday, from injuries received by the accidentally throwing over of a saucepan of boiling water, &c., a fortnight previous. The deceased and her brother, a little boy eight years of age, were on Sunday, the 27th ult., sitting before a fire in the kitchen, on which was placed a saucepan holding nearly a pail of water, and in which the dinner was cooking. The mother having occasion to throw some dirty water into the street, left the kitchen for about two minutes, and during her absence the boy, in getting up, knocked his arm against the handle of the saucepan, by which it was overthrown, and the contents fell upon deceased, who was thereby so severely scalded, that death ultimately resulted from the injuries sustained.

Verdict:— That the deceased died from a severe scald accidentally received.


Kentish Gazette, 20 May 1851.


Leigh:— On the 15th inst., age 35, that beloved wife of Mr. James Leigh, Cannon Street, Dover, much and deservedly respected by a numerous circle of relatives and friends. The deceased for several years conducted the "Saracens Head Inn," in that town, where her truly kind and Christian conduct endeared her to all who became acquainted with her.

From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 30 October, 1858.


William Thompson, a disbanded Militiaman, and Emma Martin, an unfortunate, the former lodging at the "Saracen's Head," Biggin Street, and the latter in New Street, were charged with assaulting Patrick Mulroney, a corporal of the Donegal Militia. The witnesses on both sides were ordered out of court.

From a very conflicting and contradictory mass of evidence, it appeared that on the preceding Thursday night, Mulroney was the corporal of the picquet of the Donegul, who in the course of their duty were called upon to visit the house in which the female defendant resides. On the door being opened, in answer to their summons, they found two soldiers of their regiment drinking and playing cards in company with the two defendants and another unfortunate girl. It became the duty of the corporal, therefore, to make the men prisoners and convey them, by means of the escort, to barracks; but on doing so the cap of one of them was not to be found. After the lapse of some time it was discovered concealed in the female defendant's dress; but after it was placed upon the head of the man to whom it belonged, she again snatched it off, and by this means endeavoured to impede the picquet in the discharge of their duty. She also menaced the complainant with a stone which she picked up in the street, and with which she ran after him. The cap, it appeared, was passed to the male defendant, and upon some angry words taking place between him and the complainant he struck complainant across the shoulder with a poker. In support of his testimony the complainant called privates Gallagher and Kirk, who were both in the escort that visited New Street on the night in question. Their united evidence, however, did not amount to much concerning the facts of the case, as they had charge of the two men who were made prisoners, and were therefore unable to give their attention to what was passing around. One of them, however, observed a dirty mark on the collar of Mulroney's coat as from a stick or something of that sort.

The defendants gave a simple denial to the facts deposed by the complainant, who admitted, upon the cross-examination of Thompson, that after he entered the house to look after the missing men another pot of beer was sent for and that he partook of it. In reply to one of the Magistrates who questioned him as to whether he was permitted to take intoxicating drink while engaged on duty, he said, with the naiveté of a true Hibernian, that "Sure, he could drink the beer first and perform his duty afterwards."

The witness called by the defendants scarcely confirmed the statements as to their complete innocence of the charge brought against them by the complainant, and after a very patient investigation, the Magistrates fined each of the defendants 5s. and the costs, or 14 days imprisonment.

The girl sent for the money; but Thompson said he must go to prison, and he was accordingly removed.


From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 17 September, 1859.


William Reid was charged with stealing from the till o the "Saracen's Head," in Biggin Street, three shillings in silver, the property of the landlord, Mr. John Taylor.

Harriet Pearce, barmaid at the "Saracen's Head," said - The prisoner came into the bar yesterday morning about 12 o'clock and asked for half a pint of beer, which I served him; and being called to the kitchen I left him standing at the bar. While in the kitchen I heard the sound of money rattling, as if in the till, and on returning to the bar I found the prisoner with his hand in the drawer. I asked him what he wanted, and he answered, "A pipe." I then asked him why he had put his hand in the till, and why, if he wanted a pipe, he had not waited till I came back? He replied that he had seen me get pipes out of the drawers, and that he thought this was the one in which they were kept. On examining the money in the till I discovered that 3s. were missing. He then went down the passage leading to the back door was in New Street, and was absent for about a quarter of an hour, at the expiration of which he came back in company with another man. My uncle, the landlord, was there when the prisoner returned, having come in at the front door as the prisoner returned by the back. I told my uncle of what had occurred, and he then sent for a policeman and had the prisoner taken into custody.

By the prisoner - I did not see any money in your hand when I returned to the bar. I put a pipe into one of your hands, but your other hand was closed, and I saw you pout it into your pocket.

Police-sergeant Back - Yesterday between 12 and 1 o'clock I went to the "Saracen's Head." I saw John Taylor, the landlord, and the prisoner, standing in the passage in front of the bar door. Taylor said to me I give this man in custody for putting his hand into my till. I took him into custody and conveyed him to the police-station, accompanied by Taylor. The last witness subsequently came and charged the prisoner with putting his hand into the money-till and stealing there-from three shillings in silver. On the charge being read over to the prisoner by the superintendent, who cautioned him in the usual manner, the prisoner said "My hand was not in the money drawer; it was in the pipe drawer; I went to get a pipe." I searched the prisoner. I found no money on him, but eleven duplicates, which he said related to articles he had pledged when out of work. The prisoner was then locked up.

The prisoner was then remanded till the following day for the attendance of Mr. Taylor, who, it appeared was unavoidably prevented from being present at the examination.



William Reid, the man remanded on the previous day, on a charge of stealing three shillings in silver from the till of the "Saracen's Head Inn," Biggin Street, the property of the landlord, John Taylor, was again brought up.

Taylor was now in attendance, but it appearing that he was unable to offer evidence of any facts beyond those already deposed to, the Magistrates did not think it necessary to examine him.

The evidence taken at the first examination was then read over, after which:-

The barmaid, Marriet Pearce, was recalled, and in answer to questions put by the Magistrates she said - The distance between the bar and the kitchen is

To be continued once I find the original files. Paul Skelton.


From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 21 January, 1860.


Chas Orlie, a powerful looking "navvy," was brought up in custody of the police charged with assaulting Mr. Taylor, landlord of the "Saracen's Head Inn," Biggin Street, on the preceding evening.

The occurrence, at appeared, arose out of a quarrel which had taken place at the complainant's house on the previous evening, and complainant now said he had no desires to press the charge. The assault it seemed had been one of some violence; but as the defendant had been locked up for the night in one of the station-house cells, the complainant thought he had been sufficiently punished, and declined proceeding further.

The Magistrates said that the charge of assault was certainly one of which the complainant might proceed or not, but in their opinion, by the appearance of the defendant, he seemed hardly deserving of the complainant's clemency. The presiding magistrate further intimated, for the behoof of such persons as the defendant, that although the number of rough men might be very much increased in this neighbourhood by the progress of the works that were shortly to be carried forward in Dover, the authorities would take care that a proper respect for the law was maintained.

The defendant was ordered to pay costs, 2s. but he said in a dogged and indifferent manner that he had neither money nor friends and could not pay anything.

The complainant then said he would pay the money if the defendant would promise to refund it. To this the defendant, who seemed to have little idea of gratitude, made no reply; but on a fellow-workman of defendant's, who was in the body of the court, offered to become responsible for the repayment of the amount, the complainant paid the money and defendant was discharged, the Bench being of opinion that the complainant had acted too leniently.



8th September 1864 saw this public house auctioned at the "Royal Oak" as Lot 4 of 27 lots owned by the "Jeken, Coleman & Rutley" Brewery of Custom House Quay. The advert stated:-

"All that long-established and well-frequented Public-house, known as the "SARACEN'S HEAD," situated in Biggin Street, together with the extensive yard and stabling in the rear, now in the occupation of Mr. J Taylor."


From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 17 December, 1864.


John Taylor, landlord of the "Saracen's Head," Biggin Street, was charged with serving on Sunday morning last, at ten minutes past eleven.

Police-sergeant Barton, in company with police-constable Corrie, entered defendant's house at the time mentioned. A man was sitting in the taproom with a pint of beer in front of him, and another pint pot with some liquor in it was standing on one of the tables in the same room.

For the defence it was proved to the satisfaction of the Magistrates that the man found in the taproom was a brother-in-law of the landlord, and had come to the house with some provisions, and also that the landlady had given him a pint of beer.

The Bench therefore dismissed the case.


From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 10 June, 1865. Price 1d.


William Danson, was charged with assaulting Sarah Jane Doyle.

Mr. Minter was for complainant.

Complainant said: I am the housekeeper of Mr. Taylor, landlord of the "Saracen's Head Inn." About three months ago I trusted the defendant for three pints of beer. The defendant came to my house on Saturday last, and in consequence of what Mr. Taylor said to me I spoke to the defendant. I said "I beg your pardon, sir, but did you tell Mr. Taylor you had paid me for the three pints of beer?" He said yes. I went to the bar, but returned again, and laying my hand on his breast I said, "Now, as a man, did you pay me for those pints of beer?" He took hold of my hand and was going to put it in his mouth. I attempted to draw it away, but he caught my little finger, and nearly bit it off. Mr. Taylor came into the room and said, "I'll not allow you to insult that woman," when defendant said, "I'll serve you the same," and struck him, knocking him down. He fell with him and bit his throat.

John Taylor, landlord of the "Saracen's Head," corroborated the evidence of complainant.

Defendant denied striking the complainant. He said that himself and Taylor had words and were scuffling, when the complainant interfered and scratched him down the face. She also attempted to "rip" his mouth, and that was perhaps how her finger got injured.

The Magistrates considered the assault proved, and committed him to prison for one month with hard labour, without the option of a fine.


From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 30 August, 1867. Price 1d.


A man named George Holloway was charged with wilfully breaking a pane of plate glass, value 50s., at the "Saracen's" Head Inn," Biggin Street, on the previous evening.

It appeared that about six o'clock the proceeding evening there was some singing and dancing going forward in front of the bar at the "Saracen's Head," and the doors being shut, a crowd of boys was collected, and some of them were endeavouring to peep through the window to see what was going on. While they were so engaged, the defendant came up, and it was alleged, wantonly pushed a boy's head through the pane of glass in question.

The defendant pleaded that the damage was accidentally done, he having no intention of pushing the boy's head through the glass. He also urged that the "Saracen's head" was not well conducted, if its front doors were closed in broad daylight, in order that singing and dancing might be indulged in.

The Magistrates dismissed the charge of wilful damage, but found the defendant guilty of an unprovoked attack upon the boy, for which they fined him 10s. and costs; in default seven days' imprisonment.


From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 17 July, 1868. Price 1d.


James Brett, a workman having the appearance of a bricklayer, was charged with attempting to break open the door of the "Saracen's" Head Inn," Biggin Street.

It appeared from the evidence of Mr. Tyler, the landlord of the "Saracen's Head," that after the house was closed on Saturday night a party of disorderlies surrounded the door and declared they would have admittance. He did not offer to open the door, and after a little time it was subjected to a kicking and a sudden pressure almost sufficient to burst it open. On the door opening he found the defendant close to it, and he collared him, and held him till the police appeared. There was a good deal of scuffling, and in the course of it his (Mr. Tyler's) clothing got damaged to the extent of 10s. He believed, however, that the affair was a drunken spree, and if the defendant was willing to recompense him the loss he had been put to, he was not desirous of pressing the charge further.

The defendant protested that he was not one of those who had been creating the alleged disturbance. According to his account he was unluckily passing the door at the moment it opened, and Mr. Tyler, much to his surprise, darted out and caught hold of him by the collar. The defendant, however, although putting forward his statement, did not seem to have much faith in its recommending itself to the Bench, for on being asked whether he would pay the amount at which Mr. Tyler estimated his damage, or have the case proceeded with, he elected to pay the 10s.


From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 3 April, 1874. Price 1d.


Before S. M. Latham, and J. G. Smith, Esqrs.

Charles Dodd, an artilleryman, was charged with breaking a quantity of glass in the "Saracen's Head" public-house, the value of £3 12s., in November last.

Mr. Worsfold Mowll appeared for the complainant. He stated that the delay had occurred on account of the defendant admitting doing the damage and promising to pay the costs. He had since refused payment.

The case was proved, and the defendant fined 1s. together with £3 12s. damage and 10s. 6d. costs. Being unable to pay, he went to prison for one month.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 31 March, 1876. Price 1d.


Thomas Graham was charged with stealing two brooches, and a shawl, from the “Saracen's Head” public house, the property of Mr. Ball.

Mr. J. Ball, landlord of the “Saracen's Head,” said: The prisoner came to my house yesterday about half-past one. He had a pint of beer. Shortly after I saw him coming down stairs. I asked him what he was doing up there and he made excuse and said he had known the house well for a long time and also that he had been up to look at the piano. I noticed a lump on his left shoulder when he went out. I had suspicion that he had taken something and I told my wife and we both went up stairs and found the drawers open and things pulled about and I missed the three articles produced. I then went to the Police-station, and the Superintendent sent the Sergeant with me in search for the prisoner. We found him on the Commercial Quay. The landlady of the “Commercial Inn” gave me the shawl in the presence of the prisoner and said another man had just bought it for 2s. prisoner did not say anything. At the station he was searched and the two brooches were taken out of his pocket. The value of the articles is £2 10s.

William Swain, labourer, said: I was in the “Commercial Inn” at half-past two, when the prisoner came in and offered the shawl for sale at 6s. he could not sell it for that so he asked 4s., and afterwards came down to 2s. He said he was a dealer and had bought the shawl in Snargate Street. The Sergeant came in and it was given up directly.

Police-sergeant Johnson said Mr. Ball went to the station about half-past two, and in consequence of what he said he went with him in search of the prisoner. They found him on the Commercial Quay and charged him with stealing the things. The landlady gave him (Sergeant Johnson) the shawl and said the prisoner had sold it for 2s. When prisoner was taken into custody he was sober but had been drinking. When searched at the station the two brooches were found upon him.

The Magistrates sent the prisoner to gaol for six weeks with hard labour.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 13 April, 1877.


William West and Mary West, holding hawkers certificates, were charged with being drunk and disorderly and using obscene language in Biggin Street.

Police-constable Pilcher said: Last night about 10 o'clock I was on duty in Biggin Street and the landlord of the “Saracen's Head” called me. I went to the house and saw West outside. He said he would go into the house he wanted his basket of tools. The landlord brought the tools out and the man would not take them up. I tried to persuade him to go away but it was no use. He was drunk. His wife interfered and I had to get a picquet to take the man to the station. The woman was very disorderly and I had to get assistance to take her to the station.

Mr. Superintendent Sanders said the woman took off her shoes and banged at the door of the cell, and he did not know whether to charge her with damaging the cell.

The Bench thought the woman seemed to be the worse of the two and sentenced her to seven days' imprisonment with hard labour. The man was discharged.


From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 19 December, 1879. Price 1d.


The license of the "Saracen's Head" public-house, Biggin Street, was transferred from Mr. Randall to Mrs. Mary Ann Howes, widow.

(The above information doesn't seem to tally with the information I have already found. Further research needed. Paul Skelton.)



It was converted into a coffee tavern in 1880 and was then referred to as a temperance hotel. Cheap buns and tea were offered workmen to keep them out of the pubs.


From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 14 January, 1881. Price 1d.

A meeting was held at the "Granville Hotel," yesterday afternoon, to consider a proposal to form a coffee palace company for Dover. It was resolved to form a company, and it is proposed to open a "palace" in Biggin Street


From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 6 January, 1882. Price 1d.

During the past three months the Coffee Palace, Biggin Street, has sold 882 gallons of coffee, and about half that quantity each of cocoa and tea.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 22 June, 1886.

It is stated that the band of the East Kent Volunteers will practice at the “Saracen's Head” Temperance Hotel, Biggin Street, every Wednesday and Thursday evening, until further notice.



In 1893, Biggin Street at that point was eighteen feet wide which meant that this house and its neighbours had to be removed to widen the thoroughfare, and so the building was again demolished, but never to return as a drinking establishment; alcoholic or not.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 17 January, 1890. Price 5d.


Last evening the Rev S. F. Green, rector of Charlton, entertained the members of the choir and other friends, to supper at the “Saracen's Head” coffee Tavern, when a very liberal repast was provided by the host, Mr. Lefevre, and a very pleasant evening was spent.


Dover Express, 25 Aug 1893.


Dr. Robinson read the following report on the property in New-street:—

"Gentlemen,—In pursuance of your instructions to report as to the condition of certain houses in New-street. I beg to state that I have examined the houses which, from information received from the Surveyor, I presume to be the houses referred to. viz.

"(A) A block of four houses known as Belsey-court, owned by Mr. Claringbould, and occupied respectively by George Reeves, Thomas Graham, Sam Hall, and Fred Richards.

"(B) Two houses in New-street abutting on Queen’s-court, occupied respectively by James Doughty and Alfred Burton.

"(C) Two houses, Nos. 5 and 6, New-street, occupied by Arthur Wakefield and John Knott.

"(D) One house, No. 17, New-street, occupied by William King.

"(A) Belsey-court. This block consists of four cottages, each containing a cellar in the basement, a general living room on the ground floor, a bedroom on the first floor, and another bedroom on the second flour.

"None of these houses possess means of obtaining through ventilation, being built against the "Saracen’s Head" premises, and none have any yard space exclusively belonging to them.

"In consequence of this curtailed area closets and drains are placed within the dwellings, namely, in the cellars.

"The cubic space of the rooms is small and adapted for only about two persons in each room, and the walls of the dwellings are, from age, in a more or less dilapidated condition.

"A slaughter house and stables are in the immediate vicinity of these dwellings; the width of the court between the houses and these stables being only nine feet.

"These houses, then, may be said to possess inherent faults of structure owing to insufficient ground space, absence of means for obtaining through ventilation, and their liability to drain effluvia from the character and position of the water closets and drains; and I am of opinion that these conditions constitute such an unsanitary state as to render them unfit for human habitation.

"(B) The homes occupied by George Doughty and Alfred Burton each contain a cellar, living room, and two bedrooms. They possess no means of obtaining through ventilation, and their water closets and drains are situated in the cellar. These dwellings possess inherent faults of structure similar to those in Belsey-court, and are, in my opinion, unfit for human habitation.

"(C) No. 5 and 6, New-street, occupied by Arthur Wakefield and John Knott respectively, are similar in arrangement to those dwellings on the opposite side of the street already described, and they are, in my opinion, unfit for human habitation.

"(D) No. 17, New-street, occupied by William King, possesses cellars in the basement, two rooms on the ground floor, and two bedrooms on the first floor. This house possesses no means of obtaining through ventilation, and has no yard space belonging to it, the water closet and drainage being placed in the cellar which is gained by a flight of broken-down stairs. The floor of the living room is in a decayed and dilapidated condition, and the whole house is in a state of bad repair. I am of opinion therefore that this dwelling is unfit for human habitation.

"There are other houses in New-street which I have not yet had time, since receiving the resolution, to examine. These therefore will form the subject for future report.

I am, Gentlemen, Your Obedient Servant,

M. K. Robinson, M.D., Medical Officer of Health. August 22nd, 1893."

After some discussion the matter was referred to the Surveyor for a report as to what would be necessary to render them habitable in accordance with the existing sanitary laws.


Dover Express 20th June 1947.


A token marked “Good for one pennyworth of refreshment at the Saracen’s Head Coffee Tavern, Dover” has been found on his allotment, north of the Deal railway at the top of Astley Avenue, by Mr. E. F. Bartholomew of 62 Stanhope Road. The Saracen’s Head Coffee Tavern was at the Biggin Street corner of New Street before the street improvements of 1893. It was originally an inn, but, in Victorian days, the licence was acquired and surrendered by temperance advocates and a coffee tavern established in its stead. The token was one of series issued for the use of the benevolent who did not wish gifts to be spent on beer.


From an email received, 6 February, 2012

Saracen's Head TokenSaracen's Head Token

The tokens for the Saracen's Head Coffee Tavern are pretty rare. I have never seen one for sale. Stranger things do turn up on e-Bay, though.

I don't think that pubs would have closed to allow the coffee taverns (actually they were called Cocoa Rooms in Liverpool) they were intended as an alternative. Some, as you can see, for Manchester, stayed open for a long time. There were others, that didn't issue tokens, that closed after their first year. I think that the purpose of the tokens was for people to be given them in the streets that were asking for money for a cup of tea - and of course, if you did give them money they would straight away go and spend it on drink - but in a coffee tavern you knew that they couldn't spend it on alcohol.

The temperance movement was very strong, and not just for alcohol, people could even take the pledge to forswear tobacco as well as drink. Back in Ebbw Vale I can remember there being a Band of Hope well into the 1950s.

We live in the middle of Wales these days. You can find our website at

Paul Withers.


From an email received 29 December 2018.

My grandfather Sydney Lefevre was born in the Saracens Head Coffee House Biggin Street (previously pub) in 1885, son of Thomas and Ellen Lefevre. His birth certificate lists it. I lived with him briefly 1960 - 62 before he died. It was marvellous to read the history of the pub and to see Lefevres Temperance on the wall in the photo. I'm afraid that I have no photos as Grandad would have moved out when only a boy (he was the youngest of 10 children) and went on to manage shoe shops in Ealing and Ilford being bombed 4 times in the war. So I guess any family photos were lost.

Rosi Yule.



WEST William 1713+

ARTHUR Robert 1730+

GIBSON John 1751-62+

GIBSON Mary 1771 Apr Next pub licensee had

Last pub licensee had SHARP William 1771 Apr+

MARSH Henry 1792-1811 (Dover & Deal History Guide 1792)

HART Edward 1823-28+ Pigot's Directory 1823Pigot's Directory 1828-29

AUSTEN Edward 1832-39 Pigot's Directory 1832-34Pigot's Directory 1839

PREBBLE Richard 1839-41+ (age 50 in 1841Census) Pigot's Directory 1840

PREBBLE P T 1839-Dec/46 dec'd Bagshaw's Directory 1847Dover Telegraph


BOWLES William N 1858 Melville's 1858

TAYLOR John 1859-65+ (age 42 in 1861Census) Post Office Directory 1862Dover Express

WEST Edward to Jan/1867 Dover Express

BURROWS Robert Jan/1867-Jan/68 end Dover Express

COVENEY D Jan/1868 Dover Express

TYLER George Townsend July/1868-Jan/75 Next pub licensee had (age 52 in 1871Census) Dover Express

PAIN E 1874?

BALL John 1875

REYNOLDS Thomas 1877

NUTLEY Henry May/1877+ Dover Express

COUNSELL John to Nov/1879 Dover Express

RANDALL Mr to Dec/1879 Dover Express

HOWES Mrs Mary Ann (Widow) Dec/1879 Dover Express

BOWDEN William Roger Nov/1879-Jul/80 Dover Express

BROOME Samuel Jul/1880+ Dover Express (late of Holloway, hotel manager)

TORR James S 1881 (age 30 in 1881Census)

To Temperance Hotel

LEFEVRE Thomas 1891-95 Next pub licensee had (age 48 in 1891Census listed as a coffee house) Pikes 1895


Pigot's Directory 1823From the Pigot's Directory 1823

Pigot's Directory 1824From the Pigot's Directory 1824

Pigot's Directory 1828-29From the Pigot's Directory 1828-9

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

Pigot's Directory 1839From the Pigot's Directory 1839

Pigot's Directory 1840From the Pigot's Directory 1840

Bagshaw's Directory 1847From Bagshaw Directory 1847

Melville's 1858From Melville's Directory 1858

Post Office Directory 1862From the Post Office Directory 1862

Pikes 1895From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1895

Dover ExpressFrom the Dover Express

Dover TelegraphFrom the Dover Telegraph



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