Trawling through early newspapers and other records, a quantity of information has come to light on pubs and Inns in Deal which is transcribed here. PLEASE ADD TO THIS!
Kentish Post - Wed Jan 15th to Sat Jan 18th 1755 (3878)
To be Sold to the Highest Bidder
At the Navy Coffee-house, the East India Arms in Deal
On Friday the 24th inst at Two of the Clock,
One Folkestone built boat, with Mast, Fore Sail and four Oars
with one Anchor and Rope, one ditto, one Creep and Rope, one
other anchor and Sinking Rope - Also one Deal built new boat,
two anchors, one Rope, one other anchor and Rope, Four China
bowls and twenty four China plates to be put up in several lotts.
For further particulars apply to the said house.
Research by Alan Buckman
The Fair Quaker of Deal: or, The Humours of the Navy. A Comedy
Charles Shadwell (Bell's Edition, 1777)
Flip, the commodore, a most illiterate Wappineer-tar
Mizzen, a finical sea fop
Worthy, a captain of the navy
Rovewell, a man of fortune
The scene is Deal, all have just disembarked from their ships in the Downs.
"Rovewell. Where do you lodge?
Flip. At the Three Mariners.
Mizzen. May my ship's anchor come home, if it be not an arrant bawdy-house! The husband keeps a bom-boat, the wife a brandy-shop, and the two daughters are let out to all comers and goers.
Worthy. Indeed, the house is very notorious. Why don't you frequent the India-Arms?
Flip. Because all the fops and beardless boys of the navy go there; besides, I think the husband too blind, and his wife has too much sight. But Tom Cragg and I were boatswain's mates together. As to it being a bawdy-house, that is no offence to me; for all houses in sea-ports have been reckoned so, ever since I pick'd oakum;" (Act I, Scene I, p13)
Sources state that the play was published in a collection of 1720, however, the play refers to the monarch of the time as being female so it is conceivable to say it may have been written before 1714, during the reign of Queen Anne. If this is true then this exchange suggests that the Three Mariners and the India Arms were in existence before the reign of George I.
The Three Mariners is widely referred to as a whore house and brandy shop, the husband supplying provisions to the fleet in the Downs (the bom-boat probably referring to a bum boat, a boat used to carry provisions to ships lying in port or out to sea). The India Arms is, however, the acknowledged haunt of naval officers where, according to the Commodore, the husband turns a blind eye to everything whilst the wife is always on the look out for a scandal.
Act II, Scene II finds the characters at the Bar at Daniel's. Rovewell has invited Mizzen to the India Arms, where a local prostitute, Jenny is to write to him pretending to be a quaker with £10,000 a year - this is the woman Mizzen wishes to debauch. Daniel's and the India Arms are one and the same, Daniel being the name of the owner. The play offers some interesting incites to life inside the India Arms:
"Mizzen. Thou divine, pretty bud of beauty, one always finds you in your cabin, chalking upon your logboard there.
Bar maid. If every body wound just mind their own business, I might sit still here; but we have so many horsing monsters of the navy use our house, that one had better be a punk amongst footman, and ply in the upper gallery, than be plagued with them." (Act II, Scene II, p26)
The bar maid moans about the antics of her naval visitors, she would rather be a whore (punk) amongst footman (often less educated and from poorer families than naval officers) in the upper galleries than have to entertain them. This scene also gives us some insight into the interior of the house. It has an upper gallery but it also has several rooms:
"2nd Draw. A sneaker of punch in the Crown, score.
3rd Draw. A can of small beer, a quart of brandy, and a pound of sugar in the kitchen, score.
4th Draw. A box of dice for the Mermaid.
1st Draw. Make the great bowl full for the gentlemen in the Fleecer.
Bar maid. So, it begins to work in each room, and I must be plagued this whole night." (Act II, Scene II, p27)
There is a kitchen so the inn probably served food and like many inns and bawdy-houses of the time the rooms have names. The three mentioned here are the Crown, Mermaid and Fleecer rooms and along with the serving of strong drink, the Mermaid room also plays host to gambling.
Research by Sarah Buckman