Alfred Hopper, born in Temple Ewell, a hamlet near Dover in 1857, was publican of two pubs there: ‘The Donkey Inn’ between 1884 to 1891, and the ‘George & Dragon’ pub from 1895 to 1901.
The Dover Express contains the following reports mentioning Alfred as landlord of The Donkey Inn, and his repeated application for a licence to sell spirits.
Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 19 September, 1884. Price 1d.
Alfred Hopper, landlord of the Donkey Inn, Temple Ewell, applied for a license to sell spirits. In answer to Mr. Mercer he said he paid £18 a year as rent for house he was landlord for; it had five rooms on the ground floor, one recently built, and four on the 2nd floor. His business was increasing and he had lodgers in the summer time who came down from London; also a great many people came to his place to play bowls of an evening, and if any of them wanted spirits he had to fetch some at the George and Dragon.
He thought there was more demand for them now as the inhabitants had increased since he last applied for his license, and numbered now 600 inhabitants. There were houses. He had applications for spirits on an average five or six times daily. He had a bowling green and parties who came to play, and had to go to the George and Dragon if they wanted.
In reply to Mr. Mowll the applicant said he applied for his license last year and then was refused; there had been no new houses built nearer his than the George and Dragon since then.
Mr. Martin Mowll who appeared on behalf of the landlady of the ‘George and Dragon’ contended that there had been no cause why the Bench should reverse the decision of the previous years.
The Bench refused to grant the application and said they hoped it would not be brought again.
From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 17 September, 1886. 1d.
THE DONKEY OF EWELL
Mr. Vernon Knocker applied on behalf of Messrs. Beer and Co, of Canterbury, for a spirit license for the Donkey at Ewell. He stated that Alfred Hopper had been the tenant for a good many years, and the house had been properly conducted. There were about 600 inhabitants of Ewell, and the landlord of the Donkey had several times been asked for spirits. He had about three-quarters of an acre of ground adjoining the house, which was used as a bowling green, the only one in the village. He (Mr. Knockler) had a memorial signed by about twenty five residents in the village or close by, in favour of the license.
For the application he called the following witnesses:-
George Andrews proved serving the copies of the notice of the application on the Superintendent of Police and Overseers.
Mr. Alfred Hopper said: I posted a copy of the notice produced on the Church doors and on the house on the three last Sundays in August. I am the tenant of the house and have been in occupation five years. The house is rented at £16 10s. I produce the memorial, which is signed by the parties named. The George and Dragon is about 200 yards away. Attached to my home is a bowling green, the only one in the village. During the summer I have visitors staying at my house. They require something more than beer. I have had constant applicants for spirits.
Mr. Mowll: There have been no new houses erected near my house since last year.
Mr. Martyn Mowll appeared to oppose the license and contended that it was not required, the George and Dragon, which was a fully licensed house, being near by.
The Bench declined to grant the application and stated they were of the same opinion as last year, when the same application was made.
From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 21 June, 1889.
At the County Police Court, at the Town Hall, Dover, on Thursday afternoon, V. Fisher, H. Gillham, W. Phipps, and W. Gregory were charged with being on licensed premises on Sunday, June 2nd, during prohibited hours, at the Donkey Inn, Ewell.
Mr. Hopper, the landlord, was charged for keeping his house open during prohibited hours.
Police-Constable Crapps went to the house on the Sunday morning in question, and found the men drinking round a table. They said that they were travellers but it was found that they all lived within three miles of the house, and therefore were not entitled to ‘travellers privileges’.
Mr. Worsfold Mowll, who appeared for the landlord, called Mr. Hopper, who said he asked all the men if they lived outside the three mile boundary, and they said that they did.
The whole of the defendants were convicted excepting Gilham, in which case there seems to have been an instance of mistaken identity.
The men were fined 1s. and costs. The landlord was fined 2s. 6d. and costs, but as he might have supposed that the men were travellers, they would not endorse the license.