The June / July 2009 issue of the Campaign for Real Ale's London Drinker magazine carries an excellent article by Julian Stone outlining the History of The Dog and Bell. Julian has carried out extensive research in Lewisham Local History Library and suggests that William Boyes's 1749 victualling business in what was then Dog (or Dock) Street was the forerunner of the pub. Julian may well be right but we lack proof.
Currently the earliest documentary evidence we have for the existence of the Dog is an entry in The Proceedings of the Old Bailey for 30th November 1814. Landlord's daughter Miss Sarah Cooper gave evidence at the trial of Manuel John that she had changed a £20 note at the pub.
The next document is the 1820 will of Montgomeryshire widow Catherine Sturkey which refers to property in Dog Street, Deptford, Kent "known by the name & sign of the Dog and Bell". The will goes on to say that the property was then in the occupation of David Archer. When Catherine Sturkey died the auction of the freehold of the Dog and Bell was advertised in The Times on 5th December 1828, along with the long leasehold of a house in Flagon Row (subsequently Wellington Street and now McMillan Street). Trade directories suggest that David Archer survived the change in ownership and was still there in the early 1830s. More about David Archer in a future post.
Catherine Sturkey was the widow of Deptford surgeon Roger Sturkey who died in 1792 and was buried in St Nicholas Churchyard. Any trace of his garve or tomb is long gone but fortunately Daniel Lysons in vol 4 of The Environs of London (1796) lists the monuments in the churchyard. It is possible that Catherine bought the Dog after Roger's death but it is far more likely that both the pub and the house were bought by Roger when he was practising in Deptford. In a Welsh attic or a solictor's basement there may well be a 1780's conveyance that refers to the pub. The conveyance after the sale in 1828 may refer to, or even reproduce, a conveyance to a Sturkey. We can but hope that one or more of these documents turns up.