26 Harbour Street
3 Kings Bridge Street
"True Briton" and below the sign. Both dates unknown.
Formerly the "Cock" but by 1799 it had
obtained the name of "True Briton."
From the Folkestone Chronicle 13 April, 1861. Transcribed by Jan Pedersen.
DEFECTIVE COAL HOLE
Wednesday April 10th:- Before Captain Kennicott, James Tolputt, and
A.M. Leith, Esqs.
Adam Keeler, of the "True Briton," was summoned for having a
defective covering to his coal hole, whereby an officer of the 17th
Regiment who was passing, slipped on the cover, and his leg passing
through the aperture threw him across the pavement, hurting his leg very
The case was clearly proved, and the magistrates fined defendant 1s.
and 9s. costs, with an order from the magistrates to have the covering
of the coal hole substantially repaired, which has since been done.
From the Folkestone Observer 13 April, 1861. Transcribed by Jan Pedersen.
UNSAFE COAL TRAP
Wednesday March 10th: - Before Captain Kennicott, A.M. Leith and
James Tolputt. Esqs.
William Keeler, "True Briton inn," appeared on summons to answer a
charge of leaving the trap of his coal cellar unopened, and thereby
causing injury to the person of Paymaster Smith, 17th Regiment.
Norborn Smith, Paymaster, 17th Regiment, Shorncliffe, said that on
Saturday last about three o'clock, he was passing along Harbour Street.
At the corner opposite the "True Briton" he came to an iron trap that
covered a coal cellar, and putting his foot on it the trap slipped away,
and turning up let his left leg through the hole. On examining the
cover, he found that though there was a short chain attached it was not
fastened to anything. Both his legs were very badly cut. He spoke to a
person who came out of the "True Briton," but whom he could not identify
as the defendant, and he seemed to take it very colly, admitting that
the cover was not fastened down; and he thereupon lodged a complaint.
Defendant said he did not previously know that the cover was not
fastened; but he found that the stone in which it was laid was broken.
He had not noticed that before, nor had he had a complaint about it. He
did not know whose place it was to repair it, his or the Surveyor's.
The Bench cautioned him that so long as the place was in bad repair
he was himself responsible for the repairs, and fined him 1s. with
From the Folkestone Observer 25 July, 1863. Transcribed by Jan Pedersen.
DRUNK AND INCAPABLE
Monday July 20th:- Before the Mayor, R.W. Boarer and W.F. Browell,
John McCarthy was charged with being drunk in Harbour Street.
P.C. Hills said he yesterday afternoon, about half past two o'clock,
found the prisoner lying in front of the "True Briton," drunk and
incapable of taking care of himself; he therefore took him into custody
and brought him to the station. When searched at the station 8s. 1 1/2d.
was found on him.
From the Whitstable Times, 15 June, 1901.
The numerous friends of Mr. G. Carter, for many years chief clerk at
Messrs. W. H. Smith and Sonís bookstall, at the London, Chatham, and
Dover Station, Canterbury, and who was afterwards promoted to the charge
of the Harbour Station bookstall, at Folkestone, will be interested to
learn that he has just retired from that position, and taken a licensed
house in Harbour Street, Folkestone, the "True Briton."
In 1981 the "True Britain" at 26 Harbour Street was closed and knocked
through to the "Harbour Inn" next door, and lost its name. Eventually the
extended pub was named the "Old
Crab and Oyster." In 1898 it reverted back to the "Harbour
After that incarnation in May 2011 the premises became the "True
Britain" once again.
Any further information or indeed photographs would be appreciated.
Please email me at the address below.
The pub sign shown has been taken from a set of Whitbread Inn Sign
cards released circa 1952.
From "Inns of Sport"; Whitbread & Co. Ltd.; 1949. This book is No.7 in
The Whitbread Library series.
Even more of a boxers' inn is The True
Briton at Folkestone, for there they have a long list of pugilistic
patrons from the 6th Duke of Wellington, who was a well-known amateur
boxer when he was Earl of Mornington, to Larry Gains, Tancy Lee, Dick
Smith, Johnny Summers, Fred Davis, Fred Dyer and half a dozen others.
Channel swimmers seem to like The True Briton; Derham was a regular
customer while he was training for that great swim for which the "News
of the World" awarded him £1,000, and the Egyptian swimmer, Fahmy
Attalla, planned his second attempt on the Channel in the public bar in
1947. To crown it all, The True Briton produced both the winner and
runner-up of the "News of the World" Individual Darts Championship for
the Folkestone and Dover area in 1937.
Above photo kindly sent by Phil Nicholson, 29 November, 2012.
From an email received 18 December 2013.
I've always been told the
tale of the African Grey parrot behind the bar in the war who was taught
to say to the customers "Don't drink that, the landlord's pissed in it".
Is it true or a myth? This was during WW1, by the way, around when
the battle of the Somme was taking part.
I should add my family are from the area and I was born in Folkestone
but this is before my time.
HODGES John 1823-39+
ANDREWS John 1840+
ANDREWS John & Alice 1847-58
DRYDEN Ann Oct/1857
VYE John 1861+ (age 39 in 1861)
KEELER William 1861-74
PEARSON Miss Mary 1882-91
CARTER Geo M 1903
JAMES Edward Wm 1913
LUCAS Mrs Gertrude Florence 1922
MARTIN Gladstone David 1934-38
From the Pigot's Directory 1823
From the Pigot's Directory 1828-29
From the Pigot's Directory 1832-33-34
From the Pigot's Directory 1839
From the Pigot's Directory 1840
From Bagshaw Directory 1847
From Melville's Directory 1858
From the Post Office Directory 1862
From the Post Office Directory 1874
From the Post Office Directory 1882
From the Post Office Directory 1891
From the Post Office Directory 1903
From the Post Office Directory 1913
From the Post Office Directory 1922
From the Kelly's Directory 1934
From the Post Office Directory 1938
From the Folkestone Chronicle