The story of the Battle for Bull Centre: For 22 years the Salvation Army had held weekend evening meetings at the Bull Centre, the town’s traditional meeting place in front of the Royal Victoria and Bull Hotel.
Then, in July 1908 the police instructed the Salvation Army that no further meetings will be permitted there because they caused obstruction of the public highway. The legislation was principally aimed at those holding political meetings.
The Dartford Salvationists ignored the police instructions and in August 1908 number of members were summoned for causing obstruction to traffic. Local magistrates found the accused guilty and they were fined and refused to pay and were sent to prison. Public outcry soon led to their release and they were given a heroes’ welcome when they returned to Dartford. The dispute was later settled at the meeting between the Salvation Army, the Council and the Police. A plaque now marks the site of this historic occurrence.
Today the Bull Centre is still home to the Royal Victoria and Bull Hotel. The 18th Century hotel property is located right in the heart of Dartford. It is the perfect place for a town centre stay. The Bull Centre itself is home to a number of shops, banks and also other commercial premises. Food is served at the hotel itself, and also at nearby cafes and restaurants. Visitors can shop at their leisure along the T-shaped high street.
There is little sign today of the Battle for Bull Centre, except for the plaque marking the site. Dartford is a modern, busy shopping town now. You would never know it was once the site of such a controversial political dispute! However, visitors can learn more about Bull Centre by visiting the local museum. The Dartford Borough Museum has a display board dedicated to the event.