Sort file:- Dover, February, 2024.

Page Updated:- Sunday, 04 February, 2024.

PUB LIST PUBLIC HOUSES Barry Smith and Paul Skelton

Earliest 1845

Shakespeare Inn

Latest July 1941

2 Elizabeth Street Pikes 1932-33

28 Hawkesbury Street Post Office Directory 1874


Shakespeare Inn 1921

The above picture of the Shakespeare Inn 1921 at Elizabeth Street by kind permission Dover Library.

Kentish Gazette, 18 January 1853.

Death from Fighting.

On Tuesday evening an inquest was held at the "Shakespeare Tavern," before G. T. Thompson, Esq., coroner, on the body of Joseph Wright, a stoker on board her Majesty's packet "Violet." By the evidence adduced it appears that the vessel arrived at Ostend on Friday, the 30th ult.; that at about nine o'clock, shortly after their arrival, a quarrel took place between the deceased and one of the seamen, named Sharp; some angry words ensued, and Wright seized Sharp by the neckerchief; they struggled for a moment, when both fell forward. No blows were known to have been struck on either side. In a moment after Sharp left the place, and a witness named White went to the man with a candle. The deceased was taken up and placed on a locker; he complained of his head; he remained there till one, when he took some coffee, prepared by Sharp, which the stomach rejected. The man then became insensible, and remained so till he died, which circumstance occurred at twelve o'clock the same night. During the afternoon two surgeons were sent on board to attend deceased, who ordered the application of a blister, and his immediate removal to the hospital. 36 hours after his death, a post mortem examination of deceased's head was made, a certificate of which was handed to the coroner, by Mr. Joues, surgeon, who, in evidence, stated that he had made a post mortem examination, and found a sufficient quantity of effused matter upon the brain to cause death, and which, in his opinion, was occasioned by a blow. After a rather long deliberation, the jury returned an open verdict of "Homicide" against Richard Sharp.


From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 12 May, 1871. Price 1d.


An inquest was held before the Borough Coroner, W. H. Payn, Esq., at the "Albion Inn," Hawkbury Street, on Tuesday afternoon, on the body of a French cook, lately in the employ of the Imperial Hotel Company, named Anselm Plesson, aged 53 years, who died suddenly from the effects of an epileptic fit.

George Toms, said: I am the landlord of the "Shakespeare Inn," Hawksbury Street. The deceased has lived with me for nearly 17 years. He was a French cook, and his name was Plesson. I believe he had been many years at the "Ship Hotel," and lately at the "Imperial Hotel." He was a very powerful man, and, generally speaking, in good health. I do not know if he was ever intemperate. I have never seen him intemperate. His wife and his daughter lodged with him. The last time I saw him alive he was lying on his bed at my house. This was about four o'clock on Monday morning. About five o'clock his wife called me and told me that he was dead. I slept in the room above the deceased. I had been up with him off and on nearly all night. I went to bed about 11 that night, and about 12.30 deceased's wife called me and told me her husband had fallen down stairs. I got up and found the deceased lying on the mat at the bottom of the stairs. I rendered him what assistance I could, and with my help he was able to walk upstairs, where I found he had a cut on the back of his head, his collar being covered with blood. The wound was not deep; it was only a slight scratch, about two inches in length. He never spoke after his fall, and died about five o'clock. He appeared to me to be suffering from delirium tremens, which he is occasionally subject to.

By the Foreman: I have seen him in the same condition before some years ago. I have seen him so more than once before. The last time I saw him so was about a year since.

A Juryman said he had heard that last Friday the deceased had fallen down the area steps at the "Imperial Hotel," and asked witness if he had heard of it.

Witness replied that the deceased had not told him about it, but he had heard the same thing that day.

The Coroner enquired of Sergeant Barton, who was in attendance, if he had brought one of the hotel waiters to corroborate the statement.

Sergeant Barton replied that he had not - it was the first he had heard of it.

Richard Thomas, a chemist, residing on the Crosswall, said: On Sunday evening, I went to the "Shakespeare" where the deceased lodges, as a friend, not as a professional man. I was with him for two or three hours. He complained as he usually does of a headache. He is subject to fits of delirium tremens. I made up some medicine for him from a prescription which he gave me, and he took it during the course of the day. About eleven o'clock I left him, and he was then comfortable in bed. Soon after twelve Mrs. Toms called me up and asked me if I would come round and strap up his wound. I went, still as a friend, not a professional; and deceased sat very quietly while I dressed the wound. It was not very deep, but merely a scratch. About 12.30 he began to get worse, and at 2 o'clock I told Toms it would be prudent to send for a surgeon, as I had done all I could for him and could do no more. Dr. Colbeck came shortly afterwards. I stayed with the deceased till he died at 4.40. He was nearly insensible all the time. When he was in bed I told him it was a bad job that he had had a fall, and that it would be sure to upset him; but he only said that he was very sorry he had fallen down.

By a Juryman: I have not heard that he was going downstairs to cook his dinner.

By the Foreman: The deceased never told me he had a fall previous to this. I heard to-day that he did fall down the area steps at the "Imperial Hotel" last week.

Mr. Thomas William Colbeck, a surgeon residing and practising in Dover, said: On Monday morning, about 2.50, I was called to the "Shakespeare Inn" to see the deceased. I found him on the bed in his room, in a severe fit of epilepsy. I tried to administer some medicine, and gave directions to Mr. Thomas as to his treatment. I remained with him twenty minutes, but he was no better when I left, I left some medicine for him to take if he became at all able to swallow. There was a cut on the back of his head which it was impossible to examine owing to his convulsions, and not being able to move him on account of his great weight. I have examined it since he has been dead, and found it to be a scalp wound, without any fracture of the scull, and not sufficient to cause death in a healthy man. I attended the deceased about six years ago for delirium tremens. I think the blow to his head might have caused an epileptic seizure in a person in the state of health in which I am led to believe the deceased was. From the evidence I think that the wound was quite such as would have been caused by an accident similar to that I have heard described, and that the epileptic fit was an immediate cause of death.

The Jury returned a verdict to the effect "That the deceased died from an epileptic fit, accelerated by his fall downstairs.



The first amenity, in Hawkesbury Street, received a new liquor licence in 1845. George Toms held the licence by 1859. He was a local mariner who had been born at a house which was later replaced by the "Queen's Head". He retired from that profession and kept this house up to 1877 when he transferred the licence to newly erected premises in Forty Foot Road, (Elizabeth Street). Despite opposition, mostly from the trade itself, he successfully opened the new outlet which contained two bars and seventeen rooms. It opened at 3.30 a.m. but at 5 a.m. after 1900.

For photo of Elizabeth Street click here.


From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 25 June, 1877. Price 1d.


Mr. Worsfold Mowll presented a memorial to the Bench on behalf of the owners and occupiers of the public-houses at the Pier, asking that they would oppose the approval of the plans submitted to the Licensing Committee by Mr. Toms, to erect new premises at Council House Street, and signed by the Justices of the Peace. Mr. Mowll addressed the Bench at considerable length and handed in the memorial which he had read.

In the absence of Mr. Stilwell (the Magistrates Clerk) it was agreed to let the matter stand over.


From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 31 August, 1877. Price 1d.


Mr. George Toms, the present occupier  of the "Shakespeare Inn" in Hawkesbury Street, made an application  for the removal of a beer license  from that inn to a newly erected house in the Forty-foot Road, and for a new license.

Mr. Thomas Lewis supported the applications, and Mr. Worsfold Mowll opposed on behalf of the owners and occupiers of the several licensed houses in the locality.

Joseph Bourne, builder of the new premises in question, said the house contained seventeen rooms, two for the accommodation of the public. It was to be called the "Shakespeare Inn" and was similar to the "Hotel de Paris."

Mr. Toms said that during  the last year he had suffered severely through the recent floodings of salt water at the Pier. He had found that he had now a connection round him which would be better served if he had better premises. He had erected the new house at his own risk of obtaining the license at this meeting.

Mr. Worsfold Mowll said this case had given him a very great deal of anxiety not to leave out one single point which he could strongly use  against the granting of the license to the new premises, and in a lengthy and forcible speech urged the Bench to refuse the application, on the ground that there were already more than sufficient houses, that under faith of the policy of the Bench to grant no new licenses the owners of the existing houses had invested their capital, and that it was not for the public convenience or in the interests of public morality that the difficulty of conducting a legitimate business should be increased, if it was for public convenience or public morality why then refuse it? In conclusion, he said, with all respect to the Bench, that if they granted this license it would be a great injustice to the public-house owners in the neighbourhood.

Mr. Henry Hayward, estate agent, said he acted for most of the brewers in Dover and had a good knowledge of the Pier District, and the sufficient accommodation afforded by the second-class hotels. He had several to let and found great difficulty in obtaining tenants for them. There were three of these houses situated between the two railways for which he was anxious to obtain tenants.

Mr. Charles Beeching, proprietor of the "Hotel de Paris," said when he took the house in January, 1876, he laid out 1,500 on improvements which he would not have done if he had known there would have been an opposition. During the season he had not been one full night  and on Thursday last there was only one person in the house  and the next night not a soul. The rent of the house was 125, and, as far as he could judge, was of exactly the same description as the newly constructed building in question. If he had another 1,000 he could not make any further improvements.

Mr. Mowll said the lease of this had just been renewed for a term of 99 years, and was the property of Dover Harbour Board.

Mr. William Oldfield, landlord of the "Royal Hotel," Clarence Place, said the new house came in between him and the station. His custom was entirely chance custom and he might go for a month without having anyone in to sleep, in fact, he had only been full three times this season, and then he had plenty of accommodation. There had been a very great difference this year owing to the Castalia having ceased running.

William W. Baker, of the "Clarence Hotel," said if the license was granted it would make a deal of difference to him.

William C. R. Jackson, of the "Princess Maud," said he had not been full this season, and the previous night he had only one person in the house.

Stephen Smith, late of the "Providence Inn," said he took the house in August, 1875, and left the 6th July, 1877. During the last seven months he was nearly starved at it, and when the navvies were at work at the slip on the South-Eastern Railway, he had six of them at his house, and was glad to take them. He lost 150 in twelve months.

Mr. Lewis said that if the new license was granted the old house would be closed.

The Magistrates retired at 2.40 to consider their decision in the foregoing case, and others that had been reserved. After thirty minutes absence, they returned to the Bench, when Dr. Astley said: I refer first to the transfers. In the case of the "Spotted Cow," we refuse the transfer. In the case of the "Shah," we consent to the transfer being made. Then in reference to the application s for new licenses. There were three. The first was refused for want of sufficient value of the property being proved. The next was for a license to be removed from the "Old Dolphin Inn" to a new house. That we have granted. The other was an application from George Toms to transfer his license from a house in Hawkesbury Street to a new house, and the majority of the Magistrates have approved of that license being granted.

Mr. W. R. Mowll: I take this the proper opportunity of giving expression to my convictions in the matter. It is not at a little cost to my private feeling that I do not sit in silence and hear the decision of the Bench given. My desire to act in conformity with my colleagues is very great, but my desire that my character as a public man and as a magistrate should to-day and in the future go down unsullied is still dearer to me. It does appear to me that in granting the application of Mr. Toms the Bench have departed from a principle which they have adopted for several years past, and which I believe has acted for the well-being of the town at large. The district in which Mr. Toms proposes to have his new house is one already to my mind amply supplied with licensed houses, and -

Mr. Finnis: I should like to be in order.

Mr. W. R. Mowll: I am within my rights.

Mr. Finnis: I challenge your rights.

Mr. Rees: And I.

Mr. Finnis: I appeal to the Chairman, and I think I may appeal with some confidence. It is known in the superior courts judging differing from the decision given claim to give their own judgement each for himself. Now it happens in this case that the magistrates, with the exception of Mr. Mowll agree. Mr. Mowll, I think, is entitled to give his judgement, but his opinion is not asked, and I do not think he is entitled to give it.

Mr. W. R. Mowll: I must rise to speak too. I am addressing my fellow-townsmen through the Press.

Mr. Rees: I beg your pardon. We are not addressing anyone through the Press. We are sitting on the Bench. We are not holding a public discussion.

Mr. Finnis and other Magistrates rose to leave.

Mr. W. R. Mowll: You are welcome to leave. I shall still address my fellow-townsmen through the Press.

Some formal business connected with the other licenses having been transacted, the Chairman and other Magistrates, except Mr. Mowll, left the Bench.

Mr. W. R. Mowll: I am still on the Bench. The Press will please observe that. I repeat that it costs me a very great deal to stand in opposition to the rest of my colleagues, but I do put the very highest estimate on public morals, and my experience as a magistrate brings me to this conclusion that in the ratio on which licensed houses are multiplied so in that ratio excessive drinking is multiplied. My conviction is that the district to which we refer is already amply supplied with licensed houses.  Futher than that, much has been given us in evidence that certain of our fellow-townsmen carrying on a respectable business have been led to lay out large sums under the impression that the Bench would grant no more licenses. I consider that ought to have weighed with us on the principle of doing to others as we would they should do unto us, and under that conviction I desire, so far as possible, to limit the opportunity of excessive drinking. My conviction that the license should not have been granted. (Applause.)

Mr. Mowll then left, and the Court was cleared.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 14 December, 1877. Price 1d.


Francis Mary Bailey, of 22, Albert Road, was charged with wilfully breaking three panes of glass at the “Shakespeare Inn,” Commercial Quay, the property of Mr. G. Toms, of the value of 6 6s.

Stephen Solley said: I live at 42, Council House Street. Last evening, between 8 and 9, I was passing Conrade's “Prince Imperial Hotel,” and I saw the defendant standing on the opposite side of the street. I walked on towards the pier and she walked the same way. We were side by side. I said nothing to her. When we got to the “Harp Hotel” I went on to the other side of the street; she continued on the same side. She asked a fly driver if his cab was engaged. He said it was not, and opened the door for her to get in. She said “No,” and flourished her umbrella. I could see she was very much excited. I crossed by Lukey's store to the Forty-foot-way, and the defendant did the same. She kept close to me, and I tried to avoid her. When I got to Mr. Tom's house – the “Shakespeare Inn” – I saw defendant strike at the window with her umbrella. She could not break it that way, and so she thrust the point through. She struck at others but could not break them. When she got as far as the door she broke two more in the same way. Mr. and Mrs. Toms came running out of the house and took hold of her. Someone asked her why she done it. She said because his son had tampered with some deeds belonging to her, and she would have the house down. She was detained until a Constable came. She did not appear in liquor; she was walking at the same pace as I was, about 4 miles an hour.

Defendant: Witness is quite a stranger to me. I did not speak to him. Everyone is allowed to walk the streets without following other people. I suppose I am allowed to go out for a walk as well as anyone else.

George Toms, proprietor of the “Shakespeare Inn,” said: I was in my bar, and I heard a noise which I thought was the report of a revolver in the coffee-room. I went into the room but could not see anything. My wife and I went to the door, and we saw the defendant outside striking the windows at the door of a private bar with her umbrella. I just had time to catch hold of her as she commenced beating at the windows of the public bar. I asked her what she did it for. She said her son had been tampering with deeds upon a house that belonged to her. She said the Prince of Wales was coming, and he would settle it.

Defendant: It's false.

Mr. Toms: She was very much excited.

Defendant: Not any more than you are.

Mr. Toms: I detained her until a friend of hers came. We tried to reason with her to pay the damage, but she would not listen to it. To replace the glass it will cost me 6 6s.

Defendant: I can have it done cheaper than that.

Mr. Toms: I know nothing of the woman, nor does my son. He is on the line, at Chatham.

Police-constable Brace deposed to taking the defendant into custody, and seeing the three windows broken.

Defendant: It is quite correct. I was excited.

Police-sergeant Barton said the defendant was a terror in the neighbourhood in which she lived. They were constantly receiving complaints at the station about her conduct. While she was in the cell at the station last night she continually pressed them to send for the Prince of Wales and Prince Arthur to bail her out.

The Bench remanded the prisoner until Friday, in order that the prison surgeon might report on the state of her mind.


From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 19 April, 1878. Price 1d.


Mr. Toms applied for permission to open early at the "Shakespeare Inn," Queen Elizabeth Street. The Magistrates granted the application.

From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 23 November, 1883. 1d.


A respectably dressed young man, named Harrison, was charged with being drunk and refusing to quit licensed premises, and also with assaulting a constable.

Mr. Toms, son of the landlord of the “Shakespeare Inn,” Council House Street, said that he wished to withdraw the case against the defendant as he was a respectable young man, and was sorry for what had occurred.

The Bench: What about the charge of assault on the police.

The Superintendent: I leave it with the Bench. The constable is willing to pass over the charge of assault.

The mayor then cautioned the defendant and discharged him.



Before leaving Toms, who died in August 1900, aged 76, it may be of interest to say that he was a great friend of Captain Matthew Webb the channel swimmer. He was his pilot on 24 August 1875 when he swam to France.


When the Chief Constable objected to this renewal in 1940, some interesting moves took place. It was on a lease of 21 years which had started on 5 July 1934. It could only be terminated by either side, at seven year intervals. The licence was refused on 7 June and the house was referred to the Compensation Authority.


From the Dover Express, 4 October, 1940.


A case regarding the apportionment of compensation in regard to the "Shakespeare" public house, was adjourned to Canterbury on 11th October, or to some other day convenient to the parties concerned.


  The registered owners took advantage of their option and gave notice to terminate on 6 July 1941. Compensation meanwhile of 1,500 had been awarded and the owners and the lessees held differing views on who it belonged to. The Court ruled that the owners receive 303.10s. and the leaseholders 1,196.10s.


This outlet of George Beer and Rigden was destroyed during a bombing attack on 2 October 1941.



CHANT R before 1845

RAPSON Richard Chant 1845-47 Bagshaw's Directory 1847

TOMS George 1859-83+ (age 47 in 1871Census) Post Office Directory 1874Post Office Directory 1882

SCOTT George senior 1889-Nov/1900 Pikes 1895Kelly's Directory 1899Post Office Directory 1903

STEVENS Robert Nov/1900-Aug/14 Post Office Directory 1903Post Office Directory 1913Dover Express

Last pub licensee had DEVERSON Gilbert Charles Aug/1914-Aug/17+ Post Office Directory 1922Pikes 1924Dover Express

DEVERSON Mrs Aug/1917-19 Dover Express

DEVERSON Gilbert Charles 1919-24 Next pub licensee had Dover Express

ALLEN J 1925

ELLEN Ernest William 1926-Jan/27 Next pub licensee had Dover Express

BALSOM John Jan/1927-28 end Next pub licensee had (Formerly of the Royal Marines) Dover Express

ROWE Thomas Henry 1928-June/29 Dover Express

RIGDEN Frederick June/1929-Feb/31 Next pub licensee had Post Office Directory 1930Dover Express (Of Whitstable)

BRANNAN Thomas Feb/1931-35 Dover ExpressPikes 1932-33 Next pub licensee had (Formerly Regimental-Sergeant Major of the Depot, Royal Scots.)

MARTIN Wilfred to Nov/1935 Dover Express

LUGG Charles Vivian Nov/1935-37 Dover Express

MARVIN Wilfred 1938+ Post Office Directory 1938(Pikes 1938-39 MARTIN W)


Bagshaw's Directory 1847From Bagshaw Directory 1847

Post Office Directory 1874From the Post Office Directory 1874

Post Office Directory 1882From the Post Office Directory 1882

Pikes 1895From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1895

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

Post Office Directory 1903From the Post Office Directory 1901

Post Office Directory 1903From the Post Office Directory 1903

Post Office Directory 1913From the Post Office Directory 1913

Post Office Directory 1922From the Post Office Directory 1922

Pikes 1924From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1924

Post Office Directory 1930From the Post Office Directory 1930

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

Post Office Directory 1938From the Post Office Directory 1938

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

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:-