From the East Kent Mercury, 26th November 2009
Raise a glass to the
Penns, pioneers of a bygone age.
Deal has honoured a famous father and son. A pub on the seafront, the
Admiral Penn, had a sign based on a painting of the admiral by Sir Peter
Above painting left by Sir Peter Lely. Sign left 1992, with thanks to Deal library.
Admiral Sir William Penn, a brilliant but treacherous character who
wavered between Parliamentarians and Royalists, was born in 1621.
His mother was the daughter of a wealthy Dutch merchant. He was an
important figure in British naval history, being the first to devise
Sadly, the Admiral Penn at 79 Beach Street closed in 2004.
Robin Green of the Deal Society recalls: "It was a quirky, bohemian pub
run by an eccentric Dutchman. It had great beer, great music and a crowd
of all ages. A wonderful place for a pint, it had Persian carpets as
A friendly welcome to all, a sign in the window read "Hippies use side
door" and on the wall outside was a ship's figurehead.
Near the pier, a plaque, presented to Deal by the Welcome Society of
Pennsylvania, commemorates the founding of the state by the admiral's
son, also called William Penn.
He sailed from Deal on the small ship Welcome in 1682. About 70 Quakers,
including whole families, were on board. They travelled in great
discomfort with outbreaks of sickness.
The passengers used vinegar and pitch as disinfectant, carried rosemary,
rue and wormwood and were encouraged to spend as much time as possible
on deck to get fresh air.
Penn founded a colony in America based on freedom and equality.
He had a charter from Charles ll, giving him land to be named
Pennsylvania in honour of his father and to cancel a huge debt owed to
the family by the King. Each year, Penn owed the King two beaver skins
and a fifth of any gold and silver mined there.
On arrival, the Quakers dug out caves, propped up with logs, in the high
banks of the Delaware River to live in while houses were being built.
Some of the cave dwellers kept drinking houses and brothels.
William Penn was the first hero of American liberty. Unlike colonists
who took Indian land by force, Penn travelled unarmed among the Indians,
learning their language and buying land from them.
He gave Pennsylvania a written constitution which limited the power of
government, provided a humane penal code, and guaranteed many
The sign, "Hippies use side door", in the window of the Admiral Penn pub
would have been appreciated by William Penn Senior, but William Penn
Junior, the great libertarian, would have not approved.