19 Tower Street
35 Tower Street
Above photo kindly supplied by John Langley, who says Percy Dawkins was his Great Grandfather
and is pictured second from the left. The photo shows a pub outing circa 1922.
Following up, an email from Alan Goodwin says that his grandfather
James Goodwin is 4th from left and Susan Hogben is leaning out of the
window, top right, head only. Leaning out of the window, left, is
Edith's sister, Ethel.
White Lion circa 1976 (Photo by Paul Skelton)
White Lion sign September 1993.
Above with thanks from Brian Curtis
It already traded under this sign in 1875 but the number before 1928 was
19. It served Mackeson and Whitbread in the past but at its close it was owned by
Shepherd Neame. In 1982 the bars were improved and general renovation was
accomplished. Incidentally in 1874 a pub with just an address I know of, of
Tower Street, called the "Victoria", was closed
down due to serving beer to 2 soldiers at 4 p.m. I am going to suggest the "Victoria"
was this pub in a previous reincarnation.
From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 24 July, 1891. Price 1d.
On the application of Mr. Spain, permission to draw at the “White Lion,”
Tower Street, was granted to Albert Drayson Crisp.
From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 29 March, 1901. Price 1d.
The landlord of the "Red Lion" Tower Hamlets Street,
(obvious error by paper. P Skelton),
asked the Magistrates to grant him a fresh certificate. he had had a
full licence for the house, but until recently had only taken out a beer
licence. Some alterations had been made to the bar, and he wished to
take out a spirit licence now but had lost the certificate.
In reply to the Magistrates' Clerk, the applicant said he had kept
the house for ten years and never had a spirit licence, as so far as he
knew no permission had been granted by the Magistrates for the
The Magistrates said the matter had better stand over.
This pub was fully licensed by 1915 when redundancy threatened. Its sales
averaged five barrels a week which was reckoned pretty good by the trade at
that time so it can be said to have been saved by its own record.
From the Dover Express and East Kent News, 5 February, 1915.
ANNUAL LICENSING METING
The licence of the "White Lion," Tower Street, was next considered.
Mr. Mowll appeared and asked for the renewal.
The Chief Constable said that the "White Lion," Tower Street, was a
fully licensed house. The owners were Messrs, Mackeson and Co., and the
tenant Mr. P. Dawkins, who was also in the employ of the Dover Gas Co.
It was transferred to him on 20th January, 1911, and the previous
changes had been in 1909 and 1904. there were three licensed houses in
the same street which with them consisted of 62 houses. he was
instructed to oppose the renewal after the Committee of Justices had
visited the area.
By Mr. Mowll: The tenant had been at the house four years, and had a
family. The house was in the Tower Hamlets district which had a working
class population of 4,000, which including billeted soldiers was now
4,350. There were eight licensed houses in the district and Messrs.
Mackeson only owned this one. he could not tell what trade it did, and
there was nothing whatever against the house.
Inspector Lockwood said that when he visited the house on Friday,
January 22nd, at 10.25 a.m., there were no customers; on Saturday,
January 23rd, at 3.45 p.m., fourteen customers; on Monday, January 25th,
at 5.05 p.m., five customers; and on Thursday, January 28th, at 8 p.m.,
16 customers; of the 14 nine were soldiers, and of the 16, eight were
soldiers billeted in the district.
By Mr. Mowll: These were large figures.
Mr. Mowll remarked that he noticed before their inspector did not go
on a Friday or Saturday evening.
Mr. Mowll called George Ashbee, who lives at 5, Alexandra Cottages,
Tower Hill, a shoeing smith. he stated that he had been a customer of
the "White Lion" for some years and found it clean and very well
conducted. It was the only house in the district where one could get
Messrs. Mackeson's beers.
You would like to see the licence renewed?
I have been used to it lately (laughter.)
The Chairman: He did not catch the question (laughter).
The Chief Constable: Are you an authority on beers Mr. Ashbee?
Some are better than others.
Mr. W. King, whom lives at 18, Tower Hill, a painter, said that he
was the Secretary of the "White Lion" Slate Club. It had 43 members and
there was no compulsion for members to spend and money or use the house
when paying their subscriptions.
Mr. Mackeson, the chairman of Messrs. Mackeson and Company, the
owners of the house, handed to the Magistrates figures showing the trade
the house did for the last three years. A house doing a trade like that
was reckoned in the trade a good house.
The Chairman said that the average was 5 barrels a week and he
supposed that it was a great deal more at the present time.
Mr. Mackeson said that he believed so. It was the only house there
they owned and they felt it would be hard lines if they lost it.
Mr. Mowll: Do you want to hear anything more about that house?
The Chairman: I do not think so.
THE MAGISTRATES DECISION
The Magistrates then retired to consider their
decision, and on returning the Chairman said that the Magistrates had
decided to give a licence to the "Town Hall" for both music and singing
on condition that free admission was given. The licence of the "Gothic"
and "White Lion" would be renewed. The "Silver Lion," the "Black Horse,"
and the "Grand Sultan" would have to go to Canterbury.
For many years the name Dawkins was associated with this pub. He had
served beer at this bar in 1910 for two old pence a pint, and still served,
but not at that price, fifty six years later. He left this world, aged
ninety, in 1966. The 1922 photographs show the pub to be tied to Mackeson's
Hythe Ales. It is unknown when it changed to Shepherd Neame, but was serving
their ales at its close around 1987.
Now closed and unfortunately again a private residence. (2007).
Above photo by Stuart Kinnon, 2010.
From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 2 December, 1910
At the Dover Police Court this (Friday) morning, before M. Pepper (in
the chair), W. Emden, P. W. J. Mackenzie, Edward Chitty, F. G. Wright, H.
W. Thorpe Esqrs., and Captain R. B. Cay.
The house of the "White Lion" was temporarily endorsed from A. G.
Hooper to Percy Dawkins, formerly employed by the Dover Gas Company.
From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 19
DOVER PUBLIC HOUSE CHANGES.
The Bench approved plans for alterations to the "White Lion,"
From an email sent to me 29 June 2009.
Above photo kindly sent to me from Alan Goodwin, showing Percy Dawkins at
the pub, Christmas 1965. He says this photo was taken just a few days before
he sadly died. And below, kindly sent by Lewis Woods shows him in 1900.
From an email sent to me 5 June 2011.
Above photo showing Percy Dawkins taken at his 90th birthday party.
Kindly sent by Lewis Woods.
From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 7
Veteran Licensee dies aged 90
Dover's veteran licensee Mr. Percy Dawkins - he had been at the White
Lion, Tower Hamlets, for 53 years - died on Tuesday, aged 90.
He was born in the little cottage at Lydden, known as the Travellers'
Rest. He left school when he was 10 to work on a farm, and later came to
Dover, where he was employed by the gas company for many years.
He took over the White Lion in December 1910 - when beer was two pence a
pint. And, in those days, there were no licensing laws to worry about.
Among the other activities he was a keen member of the St. John Ambulance
Brigade and had a keen following of Dover's football team.
From an email sent to me 29 June 2009.
Above photo also from Alan Goodwin, shows his grandfather James Goodwin and wife Edith
(centre), who were the next two licensees after Percy. Flanked on either
side are left, Ethel Langley, (John Langley's mother) and right, Edith's
sister, also Ethel.
Above:- A busy night in the public bar! James on the extreme left and “old”
Ethel next left. The man behind the bar with his back to us is Edith and
Ethel’s brother Tom (He is the boy in the dark clothes to the right of
the standing group in the 1922 photo). My father Ted, “young” Ethel’s
brother, is the man standing in front of the dartboard – his usual
From an email sent 3 October 2010.
I have just seen your page about
the White Lion. My Grandfather was Stephen Dawkins, bother of Percy.
Stephen was married to Mary Ann Jane Dawkins nee Hall. My mother was
Edith Woods nee Dawkins.
In the 1940/50s I often visited the "White Lion. The last time I can
recall visiting was in 1958 just before I started my military service.
My Grandfather Stephen also worked in the Gas works, and died after
being gassed in an accident.
Do you know what became of the two very large tortoises they kept in the
I am attaching a photograph that was sent to me, the lady who sent it
to me said it was taken outside the White Lion but it is now believed to
have been taken in Lydden, the tall girl on the
left is her (Elizabeth), L to R Edith, Ethel, Percy, Albert & Thomas
From an email sent 22 June 2011.
It was wonderful to see the photos on the White Lion page from Mr
Lewis Woods – and his information. A new relative to add to the family
tree! Looking at the picture of his grandfather it could almost be
Percy’s twin – what a resemblance. Stephen was the next youngest after
Percy, they were born two years apart.
Interesting to note that neither I nor any of my side of the family
is in the birthday party photo, I wonder why that was?
Two points for you that you can pass on to Mr Woods. I think both
tortoises died of old age at the pub, though John Langley might be able
to help you there. His family had a tortoise that may have come from the
White Lion. Also, I can confirm that the picture of the five Dawkins
children is taken in the rear garden of the White Lion. The steps lead
to the rear gate and the corrugated “structure” they are standing in
front of eventually became the site of my Grandfather’s Rabbit hutch
From the Dover Express, Thursday, 14
February, 2013. 70p.
MEMORIES OF MY LIFE AT THE WHITE LION
Different modes of transport used in its annual outings
Above shows the annual outing leaving the pub in the 1950s. the photo
at the very top of this page shows the horse-drawn outing of 1922.
THE Express’s recent The Way We Were feature about closed pubs in
Dover provoked a wave of letters from readers. Here, Ethel Langley
recalls some of her memories...
TERRY Sutton, in these pages, asked for memories of pubs that have
closed, and I hope the following may be of interest.
My grandfather, Percy Dawkins, was landlord of the "White Lion" pub in
Tower Hamlets for more than half a century, from December 1910 until his
death in January 1966.
He was one of Whitbread’s oldest and longest serving tenants, and I was
born there in 1933, living there with my parents, Edith and Jim Goodwin,
and four older brothers until I married in 1957.
When my grandfather died my dad took over until his death in 1969.
Edith then held the tenancy until 1972.
This article features photos of the annual outing taken 30 years apart,
the earlier one taken about 1923 and the other one in the 1950s, and
reveal the different modes of transport used at that time.
My happiest and best memory is of meeting my late husband, Bill Langley,
Sadly only my brother, Bob, who is now 85, and I are left to remember
our earlier years growing up at the "White Lion."
GOODE Charles Henry to Mar/1875
YOUNG George Charles
MEDHURST Frederick 1882+
ASHBY George 1886-July/91
CRISP Albert Drayson July/1891+
KENNETT William John 1895-1904 end
KENNETT N 1901-03 end?
CARTMELL John 1903-09 end
HOOPER Alfred George
DAWKINS Percy Dec/1910-66 dec'd
GOODWIN James Benjamin 1969 dec'd
GOODWIN Mrs Edith 1969-72 end
BOOKER Reuben 1972-74
NIXON Clive 1975 dec'd
NIXON Mrs Kathleen 1975 end
MACKINS James Frederick 1977-78
SEWELL Arthur 1980
ROSE A E 1987
From the Post Office Directory 1882
From the Post Office Directory 1891
From the Post Office Directory 1901
From the Post Office Directory 1903
From the Post Office Directory 1913
From the Post Office Directory 1922
From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1924
From the Post Office Directory 1930
From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1932-33
From the Post Office Directory 1938
From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1938-39
From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1948-49
From the Kelly's Directory 1950
From the Kelly's Directory 1953
From the Kelly's Directory 1956
Library archives 1974
From the Dover Express