Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.



Song of Deal


From the East Kent Mercury 26 December 1968.


"Song of the Forty-six Public Houses of Deal."

The introduction verse is incomplete, but ten other four-lined verses are intact, with a chorus to be added after each.


The most heartfelt sign to each "True Briton" known

Is our gracious "Kings Head" proudly decked with a "Crown."

May the "King's Arms" round the "Globe" victoriously range,

And be "Royal George" far removed from a "Royal Exchange."



"Then all that are here, whether dull, grave or queer,

Drink the Deal Public signs that invite good cheer."


"The Three Kings" "Union Flag" waves in friendly alliances,

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."


The "Deal Cutter's Sign" the lost mariner cheers,

As through the hate of the tempest he cautiously steers;

Soon the storm-rescued "Packet" high mounts on her keel,

Safely moored 'twist the Castles of "Walmer" and "Deal."


The "Queen's Head" reclines coldly pillowed to death.

The "Duke of York", too, has resigned its last breath;

"Keith," "Kepple" and "Rodney!" "Lord Nelson" the brave

The "Star" of their valour has set in the grave."


"Phoenix" like, from their ashes see "Wellington" soar,

"Sir Sidney Smith" too; in the battles death roar

If the "Drum" of war sound

And our old "Royal Standard" with glory be crowned.


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 many they long blend their charms,

And our "Lord Warden's" interest support the "Port Arms."


The "Pelican" sign nature's proof 'tis I swear.

What man's "Good Intent" for his off-spring should dare;

Like a "Scarborough Cat" he should watch to befriend,

And his last vital drop shed, their cause to defend.


The sign most antique is the "Ark" of old Noah,

Where the "Black Horse" and "Bull" 'scaped the fierce deluge roar;

With the "Swan," "Horse and Farrier," and multiform crew,

Till the olive-branch dove held "Hope" to their view.


When the "Rose" of health 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.


Mar 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 gratitude peal,

And good fortune long smile on the famed Town of Deal.




Interest in 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."

Seven inns are mentioned in the first stanzas: A very patriotic verse of sentiment suitable for all 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 minor riot following a naval brawl started by soldiers in the Buffs.

The second stanza commences with "The Three Kings" etc.

We know the "Three King's'" now as "The Royal Hotel;" the "Jolly Sailor" closed it's doors earlier this year (1968). The "Ship and Castle" was renamed "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 etc.

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 inn on the opposite side of South Street from where the original lay. Lloyds bank now occupies the first "Walmer Castle Inn," which 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, is now vacant and unused. It started as a simple ale-house, early meetings of the Grand Lodge of Masons were held here, in Prospect Place, as the road was then called.

The "Queen's Head" remains, alternatively addressed as in Bridge Row, Middle Street, and lastly Sandown Road. 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 la local well-known to us, as too, the "Admiral Keppel, at Upper Deal, one of the oldest of our existing inns, built near the "Royal" and opposite a capstan ground. "Lord Nelson" ale-house was in Short Street, one of the numerous small turnings off Beach Street into Middle Street.

Our song continues, "Phoenix" like, etc.

The "Phoenix " in Lower Street was the original "Queen's Arms," an inn which disappeared with the demolished part of the buildings on the west of the High Street in recent years. The "Duke of Wellington," a Water Street inn, has had no change of name; "Sir Sidney Smith" commemorated a naval commander who knew the town and the Downs well. The "Lion" was the "Red Lion," a small ale-house of which little seems known. The "Drum" we have just lost to road-widening needs.


The "Rose" inn is still with us, the "Fleur-di-Lis" was an ale-house in Union Street, sometimes written as the "Three Fleur-de-Luce." The "Lord Warden" and the "Port Arms" are well-known local houses, still flourishing (1968).


The first names "Pelican is the only hostelry mentioned 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 in later renamed the "Globe."

Next. A truly biblical verse. The old "Noah's Ark in Ark Lane, 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 signs, as there were many older. The "Black Horse" we still have (1968), the "Black Bull" no longer, though the building remains, adjacent to the Town Hall. The "Swan," original building one of Deal's oldest is still functioning (1968); the "Horse and Farrier" gave its name to Farrier Street. The "Hope" was another of the numerous Middle Street "houses," many of which disappeared when times were bad and money very scarce.

The song continues with two further stanzas.

The "Fountain," a Beach Street inn next to the "Royal," the scene of a murder at the beginning of the 20th 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, now the off-license store, whose name commemorated our strong connection with the East India Company. The "Five Ringers," a Church Path inn, which was among the earlier inns called upon to billet dragoons, sent down to Pitt to destroy smuggler's vessels. It was needless to say, also one which refused to do so, as did all the local inns, forcing the soldiery to seek shelter in a 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, owing to certain references quoted. It is a nineteenth century composition of course, the dedication is simple, "To the Gentlemen," and the chorus ran, "Then all that are here, whether dull, grave or queer, Drink the Deal Public signs that invite good cheer." a sentiment which could be equally applicable today.




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