Landlord rings the bell on his time at famous city centre boozer

The Jolly Sailor in Canterbury

The landlord of the Jolly Sailor in central Canterbury is calling an end to his time at the famous pub.

Ian Blackmore, who has been at the premises at the corner of Northgate and Broad Street for a decade, identified spiralling rents as a major factor behind his decision.

The pub is popular with students and has been packed as freshers descended on the city to begin their university lives.

Writing on Facebook, Mr Blackmore said: “On August 30 we were mightily proud to have reached 10 years at The Jolly Sailor – it’s been one hell of a voyage.

“But unfortunately our time at this port has come to an end. Due to rising pressure put upon us, including a huge rent increase moving forward, our time here in Northgate has finished.

“We have looked at all options to stay but these matters are out of our control so it’s time for one chapter to close but another one to open.

“It’s been a pleasure and an honour to have been the clubhouse for over 16 sports teams and home to over a dozen arts groups and so many musicians. Thank you all for your support throughout these years.”

Mr Blackmore says that his company will continue to provide catering services at events, including the bar at the Canterbury Christmas Market.

Tomorrow (Saturday) will see it hold a huge leaving party starting at midday.

Mr Blackmore added: “But it’s not about sinking the ship, it’s about pulling up anchors and sailing to somewhere new. Keep your eyes on the horizon as the good ship Jolly Sailor will be popping up time and again across this great city.

“Thank you all for your continued support and for sailing with us these last 10 years. Without our shipmates and our wonderful crew none of this would have been and will be possible.”


  1. Appalling news!
    Northgate’s last remaining pub* and being closed c/o the cynical technique of jacking up the rent to the point where the licensee can’t possibly make a fair living. Oh and then, quelle bleedin’ surpreeze, the poor old guv’nor has to chuck in the towel, or work very long hours for nothing.
    *Apologies to the Penny Theatre but good as it is, it’s not part of Canterbury’s dwindling stock of traditional pubs. Similarly the Thomas Tallis Alehouse, which though traditional, is tiny and won’t be showing sport any time soon.

    Coming hard on the heels of the closure/conversion to accommodation of the Tally Ho, just around the corner, this news is really not welcome. Both pubs were successful, popular and well-run but find themselves sitting on prime real estate. Ker-ching! I imagine the Jolly’s freehold owners (faceless, uncaring pubco) are already polishing their snouts, all ready to drop them into the trough. Nom, nom, nom…All that filthy lucre and not a jot of sympathy for the (soon to be made redundant) staff.

    As if the jacking up of rent and effective removal of the licensee wasn’t bad enough, the rumour doing the rounds is that the Jolly Sailor will now be quietly sold off to the King’s School. So, not just yet more “much-needed” student accommodation but of a type which will only available for posh kids, whose folks can afford the c.£40k per annum fees.

    I’ve just head back from the local CAMRA branch, who will be opposing any application for change of use. Come on, join the fight!
    If an owner, in this instance a cash-strapped, over-borrowed pubco, wants to sell up, fair enough. However, if they don’t want to own/trade the pub, then let someone else (eg a free house licensee, or a brewery) buy it and keep the Jolly’s customers happy.


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