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Long Reach Tavern

Picture source: Tony Draper

The Long Reach Tavern was situated on Long Reach, closing in June 1957. This pub was demolished when flood defences were built.
Source: Roger Button
The Long Reach Tavern was a riverside inn on the River Thames at Dartford in Kent, it was noted for bare knuckle fighting back in the 19th century. It was badly damaged in the floods of 1953 and the decision to pull it down was made  by Dartford Council, which was very sad. It was a delightful place to visit. In WW1 it was very close to a small aerodrome used by the Royal Flying Corps, so it had a fair amount of historical interest, It was mainly used by bargees and tug boat crews, as having its own jetty was very amenable.
Tony Draper
My great aunt Emmie Hart became Licensee on the death of my great uncle Jack Salmon, (who is the chap in the flat cap and waistcoat in the above photo). Thus Emmie became the last licensee of 'The Long Reach Tavern'.
Dave Piggott (November 2011)
My mother would take me to this pub prior to the 1939/45 war. Living at Welling,Kent, this would be an enjoyable morning or afternoon out for both me then aged 3 or 4 to sit at the riverside watching the boats go by and for mother having a drive, a gin and tonic and fresh air.
Euan Boyle (March 2012)
In the late 1950s, I and another man demolished the Tavern after a fire in the old building.
Bryan Stoneham (May 2013)
I remember the Long Reach Tavern well, us boys would cycle down there from Stone Nr Dartford because my mates father Mr Ovenden worked there doing odd jobs. A few yards along the river bank was a closed down cafe called the Wheeler that us boys would play in, I was told that during the war it was a decoy, and housed a gun. I remember the jetty with boats pulling in, good old days they were.
Peter Missons (April 2014)
From Leeds Mercury 11th August 1866


On Monday morning took place another of those wretched exhibitions which, notwithstanding the disgraceful proceedings attendant on the last fight between the same men, still continue to have some
charms for a certain class - though we are happy to assert it a small class - of the community. The company assembled was not by any means a pleasing one to view, the appearance of the men being
remarkable for neither good looks, cleanliness, nor gorgeousness of apparel. At twenty-five minutes past live o'clock the boat started away down the Thames, bearing with her not less than 200 persons,
about half-a-dozen of whom are "creme de creme", and apparently much more fit subjects for the drawing room than to he aiding in a prize-fight. Down stream we pass swiftly, and Greenwich is soon
reached, then Woolwich, and, after numerous little games by light-fingered gentry aboard, we knock off steam in front of a solitary public-house, the sign-board of which states that it is Long Reach Tavern.
The signal is here given for disembarking, and we are soon put ashore by boats whose owners were evidently not altogether unacquainted with the mission of the party. A man named Oliver speedily fixes
the ring, and the novelty of the proceeding apparently caused great attraction. On inquiry we discovered that in this particular instance the " articles of war," as one broken-nosed fellow facetiously
described the agreement to fight, stipulated that instead of the 24ft. square ring ordinarily used a 16ft. ring was to be fought in. This was Mace's special proviso. At eight o'clock Mace and Goss stepped into
the ring together, amidst some cheering, and then, whilst the company assembled and took their places, proceeded to strip. A few minutes concluded this operation, and they rose and shook hands. Goss
certainly appeared to great advantage. He was in good condition, his flesh brown and firm, his eye bright, and his bust and lower limbs all but perfection. Mace has great breadth of shoulder, and his
head has a fine leonine appearance, but below the thighs he seemed very much shrunken, and not at all like the man who fought Toni King. Near half-past eight they stood up in pugilistic attitude, Mace
being the first to strike out with his left hand on the chin, Goss returning the blow sharply under the left eye, amidst immense cheering from his partisans. They then met. and reached each other's ribs and
body smartly, Goss hitting also under the mouth. There was a claim of "first blood" by the umpire of Goss, but the trace of blood was hardly visible, and the referee did not allow it. Mace led off again, and
Goss was rather short in trying to return the blow. They then came to close quarters, and Goss slipped down. So ended round the first, after about five minutes of severe fighting, though it was apparently
almost resultless. On again coming up they got near to each other at once and fell, Goss uppermost. After receiving the attentions of their seconds, the third bout was begun, but it was quickly decided, for
Mace almost immediately threw his opponent and fell on him. One of what is known as the "events" of the fight was decided in the succeeding bout, for Mace struck his adversary a terrific right-handed blow
over the left eye, from which blood spurted at once, the round terminating by both falling after Goss's blows had been beautifully stopped and he well punished. The following round was short, as after Mace
had struck out they came together and fell, Goss undermost. In the sixth meeting Mace parried his adversary's blows in scientific style, and struck Goss over the face heavily several times ; then they
came in contact, and after a slight wrestle Mace threw his man and fell on his face, smearing the blood over his eyes and nose, so that they were almost hidden by it. From this point Mace had certainly the
best of the fighting, and although Goss behaved with great endurance and bravery, it was clear that not only was his opponent superior in skill, as had been expected, but in strength also. In the fourteenth
bout Mace struck a knock-down blow, heavy enough to have felled an ox, and after this Goss came up weak with loss of blood, and though he struck out manfully when near, his blows were wild, and his
cooler antagonist parried them easily, and returned with crushing effect. At the close of the twenty-first round, and when half an hour and one minute had elapsed, Goss's second threw up the sponge in
token of defeat, and Mace, after shaking hands with his adversary, kissed him on both cheeks, Goss bursting into tears of disappointment. So concluded the third fight between these men, and though we
may in some measure admire their hardihood, their disgraceful exhibition must provoke the greatest disgust.
Peter Taylor (August 2015)

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Other Photos

Picture source: Dave Piggott

Picture source: Dave Piggott

Picture source: Dave Piggott

Make email contact with other ex-customers and landlords of this pub by adding your details to this page.
Name Dates Comments
Mark Salmon    
Maureen   Anything relating to the Salmon & Hart families - last licencees.
Alan Smith   I am the grandson of Jack & Maria Salmon and nephew of Emily Hart (nee Salmon). My mother was Beatrice Smith (nee Salmon), Emily's sister.
Dave Piggott 1950s  used to go to the Tavern in the 1950's to see my Great Grandmother, Elizabeth Laws who was Maria Salmon's sister and Aunt of Emily Hart (last Licensee of the Tavern). When they had to leave the Tavern they went to The Lad's of the Village in Stone. When my Aunt Emily retired they went to Erith where my Great Grandmother died (I think) then Emily retired to Cliftonville..