Sort file:- Deal, July, 2021.

Page Updated:- Monday, 19 July, 2021.


Earliest 1899

(Name from)

Empire Palace of Varieties

Latest 1903

80 Middle Street


Former Empire Palace of Varieties

Above photo, kindly sent by Patricia Streater, 23 January 2010.


It seems that a lot of towns had an "Empire Palace of Varieties" in which the music-hall business boomed around the turn of the 1800s. Although at present I have no definite address for this establishment in Deal, I do know of its existence due to a couple of mentions in the local papers.

The book "The Old Pubs of Deal and Walmer" by Glover and Rogers, refers to the premises as one that had changed name on many an occasion, the last one being the "Paragon" but was only under this name from between 1899 and 1903.

Renumbering of Middle Street also gives the address previously as number 164.


From the Deal, Walmer, and Sandwich Mercury, 2 March, 1900. 1d.


The case against Harry Williams for assaulting Annie Toms, which was adjourned for defendant's witnesses to attend, was again called on.

The witnesses were ordered out of Court.

Defendant's statement was to the effect that on the Saturday night before last he stood at the top of Ark Lane with some friends, when Mrs. Toms and her son came by, and he asked them to have a drink, both of them refusing to do so. Prosecutrix then said "my son shall kill you, and you cannot kill him in the same as you killed my chap." They stood there and her son ran indoors and got a poker and struck him three or four times with it. One witness (Collins) took the poker away from the lad and took him indoors, and defendant then went home.

William Collins, who said he was with defendant and two others on the night in question, gave evidence in support of defendant's statement.

The Mayor: You want us to believe that Mrs. Toms wanted to put her son, a mere boy, to fight Williams?

Witness: I took him indoors.

Mr. Bird: And the only offence was that he asked them to have a drink?

Yes, sir. he struck Williams with the poker. I did not see Williams strike Mrs. Toms.

The Clerk: Were you sober?

Witness: I was as sober as a judge. I had spent the evening at the "Empire." I might have had four pints during the evening, but I don't think a man could get the worse for drink on that.

The Clerk: It depends on the man.

Mr. Ramell: You don't say what drink you had before in the day.

Witness: I didn't have any. I am a hawker, and had been out in the country all day.

Frank Simpson said he met the last witness and defendant at the top of Ark Lane, and walked along Golf Road towards home with them. He had not previously been in their company. Near the Gas works they met Mrs. Toms and her son, and defendant, who had a bottle of beer in his pocket, asked them to have a drink. He could not say what her reply was. They looked like "having a few words," and he walked away towards Ark lane. On coming back again, he saw young Toms strike defendant with a poker, or a stick, and then he was taken towards his home by the last witness.

By Ald. Bird: Witness was present at the beginning, but did not see Mrs. Toms struck.

By the Clerk: Williams was not drunk, but he might have had a glass. Witness was sober, and recollected everything. He was in defendant's company about five or ten minutes.

John Baker said he was in bed at the back of the house on the night in question, and hearing voices outside, he came downstairs to see what was the matter. According to witness' statement, the disturbance was over when he arrived on the scene, although he asserted that he heard Mrs. Toms make use of the words imputed to her by the other witnesses.

Previous convictions against defendant, for being drunk and disorderly and for common assault, in February and December last respectively, were proved by Inspector Ellender.

The magistrates having deliberated in private, the Mayor said that they had decided to convict in this case. They had heard some contradictory evidence, but they thought that Mrs. Toms had proved her case. For assault upon Hawker, heard at the last Court, he would be sent to prison with hard labour for 7 days, and for assaulting Mrs. Toms he would have to undergo a further term of 14 days, making 3 weeks in all.


From the Deal, Walmer, and Sandwich Mercury, 17 March, 1900. 1d


Mr. Owen, of the "Empire Theatre of Varieties," applied for an hour's extension on the following evening, the occasion of a benefit to an unemployed artiste.

In reply to the Bench, applicant said the entertainment would begin at half-past seven.

The Mayor: Surely 11 o'clock is late enough.

Inspector Ellinder said he could not see that the extension was required. He would not say anything for or against the house, but this he did know - that it was used by women and by young children of 10 years and upwards, and he did not think they wanted to be out so late.

Applicant: If children are there they are brought by their parents.

The Mayor said they were of the opinion that there was no necessity for the extension. 11 o'clock was quite late enough, and the application would not be granted.


From the Deal, Walmer, and Sandwich Mercury, 11 August, 1900. 1d


Butler v. Owen

Miss Ethle Butler sued Mr. John F. Owen for 1 16s. 8d., balance of wages and in lieu of notice.

Plaintiff deposed that she was engaged as a bar-maid at the "Empire Music hall," Deal, on the 28th November last, at a salary of 10s. for six days, no Sunday work. She remained till June 11th, when she received a note from the defendant, and then she left. On the 19th May Mr. Owen closed his establishment for a fortnight, promising, however, to continue her salary during this time, but he only paid her 3s. 4d. for the fortnight, saying he could not afford to pay more then, but would pay the remainder on June 4th. Up till then she had been paid regularly. She received a note from Mr. Owen on the Monday, and went on Tuesday for an explanation, when he said he could not afford to pay her. She said if he did not she would take proceedings, on which he said that if she did he would damage her character.

Defendant said he was not the proprietor of the music hall, but only an employee of his brother, who had engaged the young woman, and who was responsible for her salary.

Plaintiff said it was true Mr. Tom Owen engaged her, but the hall changed hands, and was transferred to Mr. Jack Owen.

Defendant said the hall had never changed hands, but was now, as previously, his brother's, and he (defendant) was simply an employee.

The Judge (looking at the letter sent to plaintiff): Why did you write this letter, and sign yourself sole proprietor?

Defendant: That is wrong.

The Judge: It seems a little bit wrong.

Defendant: I cannot call myself responsible for it.

the Judge: I can.

Defendant: I did not engage this young woman, and the hall has not changed hands.

The Judge: How does it come that T. D. Owen's name is struck out, and J. F. Owen's put in?

Defendant: That is a mistake.

The Judge: Who made that mistake?

Defendant: I did.

The Judge: That is unfortunate, isn't it? There will be an order to pay in 14 days.




OWEN Tom D 1900+

MAY Horace 1903+ Kelly's 1903 (Paragon)


Kelly's 1903From the Kelly's Directory 1903


If anyone should have any further information, or indeed any pictures or photographs of the above licensed premises, please email:-