The town of Deal is well known for having many pubs in years gone by, and I'm sure some of you have heard the myth of how the town once had a pub for every day of the year. Sadly this isn't true, but being a port with an off shore harbour full of ships from all over the world, we certainly had our fair share. Today we are going on an interesting journey back in time, with the following fascinating article which was written by Barbara Collins many years ago. Hopefully it will leave you scratching your chin trying to figure out where some of these pubs were...
Interest in the old inns continues to flourish and is a favourite subject for ‘local’ reminiscing in more senses than one. In Deal, which seems to have been famous for many years for the amount of hostelries which have grown up from the 17th century onwards, this was an interest which has seldom flagged. The following song-sheet from which I quote, was published by Deveson’s, printers in Deal for many years; this publication bears no date, stating only that it was to be sung at the forthcoming coronation celebrations. It was entitled the Song of the Forty-Six Public Houses of Deal. The introductory verse is incomplete, but ten other four-lined verses are intact, with a chorus to be added after each, Seven inns are mentioned in the first stanza: “The most heartfelt sign to each ‘True Briton’ known is our gracious ‘King’s Head’ proudly decked with a ‘Crown’. May the ‘King’s Arms’ round the ‘Globe’ victoriously range, And be the ‘Royal George’ far removed from a ‘Royal Exchange’.” A very patriotic verse of sentiment suitable to the occasion.
The King’s Head is still with us, dating from 1721; The Royal Exchange has only recently closed its doors. The Royal George, which was situated in the old high street, lost its licence in 1869; it had at one time been the scene of a major riot following a tavern brawl started by soldiers in the Buffs. The second stanza commences with “The Three King’s Union Flag waves in friendly alliance, To the merciless Turk bravely bidding defiance; ‘Jolly Sailor’s’ combined, their proud ‘Crescent’ have broke, ‘Ship and Castle’ have struck to our ‘Royal Oak’.”
We know the ‘Three Kings’ now as the Royal Hotel; the Jolly Sailor closed its doors not long ago. The Ship and Castle was re-named Sir John Falstaff in 1872 – this hostelry appears to have been something of a small lodging-house too, in Lower (High) Street. The Royal Oak was an inn of some importance in Middle Street-Oak Street corner. It was used in 1794 to celebrate the Mayoral election of John Hollams, later sir John, a lieutenant in the Deal Castle Company of Volunteers. Balls and concerts were held frequently at this inn, which was damaged by shell-fire during the war.
‘The Deal Cutter’s sign’ continues the song, “the lost mariner cheers. As through the haze of tempest he cautiously steers; Soon the storm-rescued ‘Packet’ high mounts on her keel, Safely moored ‘twixt the Castles of ‘Walmer and Deal’.”
The Deal Cutter was in Beach Street, sometimes called the Cutter Tavern; the Packet would have been the Yarmouth Packet, another Beach Street hostelry and local boat. The Walmer Castle still remains with us, but as a re-built on the opposite side of South Street from where the original lay. Lloyds Bank now occupies the site of the first Walmer Castle inn, which was burnt down. This inn was a major fare and mounting stage, for the Deal to Dover coaches and early omnibuses. It had at one time a skating rink attached which was very popular in the late 19th century; this was, of course, beside the newer of the two Walmer Castle inns, The Deal Castle in Victoria Road has now become a private house. It started as a simple alehouse.
“ ‘The Queen’s Head’ reclines coldly pillowed to death, ‘The Duke of York’ too, has resigned its last breath; ‘Keith,’ ‘Keppel’ and ‘Rodney’; ‘Lord Nelson’ the brave. The ‘Star’ of their valour has set in the grave.” The Queen’s Head is now a private house. The Duke of York lay in Cemetery Road, now Hamilton Road, but was unlicensed after 1877. The Lord Keith was re-named the Antwerp in 1836, so is still a “local”. The Admiral Keppel, at upper Deal is one of the oldest of our existing inns. The Rodney was one of the beach inns, built near the Royal. Lord Nelson alehouse was in Short Street, one of numerous small turnings off Beach Street.
Our song continues, “ ‘Phoenix’ like, from their ashes see ‘Welington’ soar, ‘Sir Sidney Smith’ too; in the battles’ death roar, England’s ‘Lion’ shall rouse if the ‘Drum’ of war sound and our old ‘Royal Standard’ with glory be crowned.” The Phoenix, in Lower Street, was the original Queen’s Arms, an inn which disappeared with the demolishing of the buildings on the west of High Street. The Duke of Wellington, a Water Street inn, has had no change of name; Sir Sidney Smith commemorated a naval commander who knew the Downs well. The Lion was the Red Lion, a small alehouse of which little seems known. The Drum we have lost to road-widening schemes.
“ ‘The Rose’ of old England and the French ‘Fleur-de-Lis’, Intertwining, give proof of the sweet sign of Peace; From friendship’s firm root may they long blend their charms, And our ‘Lord Warden’s ’ interest support the ‘Port Arms.” The Rose is still with us, the Fleur-de-Lis was an alehouse in Union Street, sometimes written as the Three Fleurs de Luce. The Lord Warden and the Port Arms, well known local houses, still flourish.
“ ‘The Pelican’ sign of nature’s proof ‘tis I swear, What a man’s ‘Good Intent’ for his off-spring should share, Like a ‘Scarborough Cat’ he should watch to befriend, And his last vital drop shed, their cause to defend.” The first-named Pelican is the only hostelry in that verse which is still extant. The Good Intent was the name of the first Sandown Beach Inn, later known as the Sandown Castle; the Scarborough Cat was named for a local boat, a Beach Street inn later re-named The Globe.
“The sign most antique is the ‘Ark of old Noah’, where the ‘Black Horse and Bull’ ‘scaped the fierce deluged roar, With the ‘Swan’, ‘Horse’, and ‘Farrier’, and multiform crew, Till the olive-branch dove held ‘Hope’ to their view.” The old Noah’s Ark was a very old inn, nothing of which can be seen today, but it was incorrect to call the inn-sign itself most “antique” of all Deal inns, as there were many old. The Black Horse we still have; the Black Bull no longer, though the building remains. The Swan, the original building one of Deal’s oldest, is still functioning; the Horse and Farrier gave its name to Farrier Street. The Hope was another of Middle Street “houses”, many of which disappeared when times were bad.
The song continues with two further stanzas, “When the ‘Rose’ of wealth withers, life’s ‘Fountain’ recedes, E’er death’s ‘Compasses’ sweep our thoughts, words, deeds, May we feel that good sign, that when sun cease to roll, Our ‘Sun’ shall ne’er set, when we ‘Anchor’ the soul.” “May our ‘East India Arms’ e’er be crowned with success, and our country and ‘King’ a sound ‘Providence bless, While the ‘Five Ringers’ gaily sound gratitudes peal And good fortune long smile famed ‘Town of Deal’.”
The Fountain, a Beach Street inn next to The Royal, the scene of a murder at the beginning of the century, has gone with the rest of the “beach” inns. The Anchor was the Blue Anchor in West Street; the Sun an inn in George Street, off Griffin Street; The East India Arms, a well known King’s Street hostelry whose name commemorated a connection with the East India Co. The Five Ringers in Church Path was among the earlier inns called upon to billet dragoons, sent down by Pitt to destroy Smugglers vessels. Needless to say, also one of which refused to do so, as did all local inns, forcing the soldiery to seek shelter in Walmer barn. The Three Compasses started life in the Old High Street, before removing to Beach Street; the Rose referred to in this last section could have been the Rose and Crown in Beach Street.
There is no clue to the author of this patriotic anthem and dating it accurately is difficult. It is a nineteenth century composition; the dedication is simply “To the gentlemen,” and the chorus ran “Then all that are here, whether dull, grace or queer, Drink the Deal Public signs that invite good cheer”.