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…and now to travel news

….due to an incident. Next there are around 20 minute delays on the A2 Old Kent Road in both directions due to a large volume of cattle, police are advising …..

Well, you might have heard that had there been travel news and radios to hear it on in the 18th and early 19th centuries. The practice of herding animals to market was a common sight back then and the Old Kent Road was the main route for Kentish Farmers to get their livestock to Smithfield Market for sale.

The former Kentish Drovers Public House

This is commemorated in an old, rather worse for ware mural that sits above an Asian restaurant on the junction of Old Kent Road and Commercial Way.

The building used to be the Kentish Drovers Public House, which closed in the 1980s and the mural, which was installed in the late 19th century by Doulton’s of Lambeth (now Royal Doulton), depicts a bucolic scene featuring drovers on horseback delivering their cattle, while children and dogs scamper around at their feet. It also includes another element, once a familiar sight in the countryside just south of London, a windmill at work on a hill in the background. There have been stories that the mural was going to be restored since 2019, but as yet nothing’s been done, however it is on Historic England’s At Risk Register and restoration is imminent.

The earliest record I can find for the pub is in Holdens Directory for 1805, showing the Landlord as William Hatch, the pub is referred to as the “Old Kentish Drovers”.

I came across the pub in one of my favourite resources, transcripts of Old Bailey Trials 1674-1913 and I’ll post these later.

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