The Keppel's Head was no doubt named after an Admiral Keppel (1725-1786), who had sailed around the world.
The Keppel's Head was one of the seventeen inns on The Hard in the 18th Century, opening in 1779 with a Mrs Gauntlett as landlord.
The Keppel's Head was familiarly known as "The Nut" and seems to have been a favourite haunt of the Sub Lieutenants studying at the Naval Education College in the dockyard. The tavern had a well-known waiter called William, and he earned a reputation for being able to predict what the individual young officers would attain in their forthcoming examinations. His success was quite uncanny, and one may assume that he acquired his skill through studying human nature, for a lot could be learnt through listening to the young wags whilst they "downed" their brandy and sodas.
In April 1803 the inn was totally destroyed by fire, a public donation was started for this popular and historic building. A sum of £400 was soon raised, which was no mean sum in those days.
In 1819 the Keppel's Head was a stop for the famous "Rocket" coach. During World War 2 the inn was again damaged by fire during an air raid in 1941.
There has been some friendly rivalry between The Sally Port Hotel and The Keppel's Head Hotel. Visitors staying in both hotels have felt a presence in both hotels. Supposedly the presence is of Buster Crabb who disappeared mysteriously in 1956 after diving under a Soviet ship moored in the harbour
Strangely that day's page has been torn out of the registers of both hotels. It is not known which hotel he stayed in the night before he disappeared.
Welcome to the Official Keppel's Head Hotel Website
Built in 1779, it is a hotel of interesting history and many of its amazing original features still intact. Modernisation of the hotel has emphasised these features whilst keeping within the hotels charm.
The hotel is well within its two neighbouring areas of different time periods. To one side you have the newly developed millennium project of Gunwharf Quays and the Spinnaker Tower, whilst on the other you have the Historic Dockyard which houses three magnificent ships and looks into the history of the Portsmouth Naval Base