Situated between Chapel Street and Five Post Lane, two old
thoroughfares which disappeared in the early seventies, managed by Spice in
1838 and an outlet of Leney by 1847.
The police, military and civil, were not fond of this one.
People they wished to speak to had the habit of disappearing over the back
From the Dover Telegraph and Cinque Ports General
Advertiser, Saturday 7 May, 1853.
FLAGRANT CASE OF IMPOSITION
Never within the range of our experience have we witnessed a more
awful instance of depravity - a more daring case of imposture, vice, and
crime - shall we say of effrontery to the Omnipotent? - than the case
this morning of:-
James Mason, aged about 35 years, who was charged with obtaining
charity under the pretence that he was "deaf and dumb." For arresting
such a villain in the prosecution of a scheme of infamy that almost
staggers belief, the public are principally indebted to Mr. Wells, the
landlord of the "Chance," and some few others whose names have not
transpired. It appears that on Sunday evening, about 9 o'clock, the
prisoner went into the "Chance," and putting down 1½d.,
wrote that he wanted a glass of sixpenny ale; with which he was
supplied. A party in the house commiserating his apparent affliction, a
subscription was forthwith commenced, and 10½d. was thus raised for the
man, who in gestures attempted to express the gratitude his lips were
supposed to be incapable of acknowledging. The landlord, who appears to
be a man of some acuteness and penetration, narrowly scrutinized the
physiognomy of the impostor, and a ray of suspicion darted across his
mind that all was not right. After Mason left the house, Mr, Wells
communicated his suspicions to the company, and told them he believed
they had all been gulled. The matter however was not allowed to rest
here; Mr. Wells started off to watch the movements of the prisoner, and
soon observed him in close contact with two females in Last Lane. After
Mason had moved on, the women were accosted by Wells, who asked them
what the man (meaning the prisoner) wanted? They replied, "He asked us
the way to the "Queen's Head." The
imposition was at once apparent, and no time was lost in conveying
intelligence to the police. Shortly afterwards, the prisoner was found
at the "Antwerp Tap," and in a few
minutes transferred to a cell at the police station; where his power of
speech was developed in repeated threats to do for those who apprehended
him. One would have supposed that the accumulated evidence of prisoner's
possessing the faculty of utterance would have appalled him when before
the Court, and rendered such a subterfuge of no avail. Such was not the
case; with all the nonchalance of a consummate rogue he
maintained a dogged silence for a while, attempting to give the lie by
his mute lips to what his accusers advanced. On Mr. Wells being
examined, Mason exhibited the most complete indifference, save when an
observation from the Bench, touching his ear-holes threw him off his
guard, his sudden lifting of a hand to his left ear sufficing to show to
those who observed the movement that in "hearing" he was not
deficient. - A married woman names Amos was next examined; this witness
was one of the parties stopped in last lane by Mason, and she deposed -
I saw the prisoner near the shop of Mr. Binfield, grocer. He asked me
the way to the "Queen's Head." Not knowing exactly, I replied, through
the lanes; and prisoner said "Thank you," and moved on. I am sure the
prisoner is the same man. After the examination of each witness the
usual privilege of cross-examination was allowed to Mason. He made no
remark, but wished to converse by the dumb alphabet of fingers, when
spoken to in reference to Mr. Wells; but at the close of his evidence
the witness Amos, when asked if he had any question to put, he replied
"No! nothing at all." The audience, though satisfied of the imposture,
were startled by the speaking of the prisoner, and for the moment a
murmur of execration burst forth; which was broken by the prisoner's
exclaiming "I would not confess to such things as these, (pointing to
the police,) but to gentlemen. Distress has led to the step I took. As
may be expected, no further evidence was adduced. Mr. Wilkins, who
passed sentence, pointed out by an exceedingly well-timed narrative the
awful character of the offence, and that the fearful consequence in the
case cited might be visited on Mason, and doubtless would, if the
Supreme Being was actuated by the same feelings and passion as man. A
more flagrant case had never come before Dover Bench; and the full
penalty of the law would be inflicted - three months' imprisonment
as a rogue and vagabond. Wilkins, as he retired, said he believed that
was the full extent of punishment the law allowed in such case.
On being searched by the police at the station, about 50 cards were
found on the prisoner, stating what he pretended to be, &c. These were
gathered by the Court to be destroyed. We give below a verbal copy of
the production, by which the charitable have doubtless been often duped,
not only by Mason, but we fear others of the vagrant class, who scruple
at no means to live upon the industry of others, and destroy all
sentiments of sympathy in the benevolent towards what appear to be (and
probably are) really deserving objects of charity. We trust that the
publicity given in this case, will be the means of preventing any from
being tricked by such an infamous course. The following is the card
DEAF AND DUMB
Without TONGUE, or EAR-HOLES!
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, - We, the undersigned, do hereby certify that
the Bearer hereof, JAMES MASON, has been both DEAF and DUMB from his
BIRTH, and was educated by me, Mr. CHARLES WATSON, at the Asylum for the
Deaf and Dumb, in the Old Kent Road, London. He is by trade an
ORNAMENTAL HAIR CUTTER, PLATTER, and PERFUMER; but being for a length of
time out of employment, owing to the death of his late Master, Mr.
PHILLIPS, of 97, Old Bond Street, he is now left in a truly distressed
situation, and humbly solicits your kind aid, if you please.
The said JAMES MASON has undergone two operations for the use of his
Speech and Hearing; but painful to say without effect. He has two
Sisters also Deaf and Dumb, each of whom was educated in the above
Asylum, in the Old Kent Road, London.
The Bearer makes all sorts of Hair Work, such as Wigs, Ladies'
Fronts, Necklaces, Bracelets, Watch-guards, and Finger-rings, out of
your own or any of your Friend's Hair, and will work your name in equal
to print, if required. All Orders thankfully received and carefully
attended to on the most reasonable terms by your afflicted Servant,
Recommended by Mr. William Brown and Mr. Charles Cooper, Magistrates;
Mr. Alfred Davis, Secretary; the Rev. George Gordon, Chaplain; and by
me, Charles Watson, Teacher and Governor to the above asylum, in the Old
Kent Road, Borough, London.
From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer,
11 September, 1868.
THE ANNUAL LICENSING DAY
Monday last was the annual licensing day, and the Sessions House, in
which the Magistrates sat, was filled with licensed victuallers who were
desirous of renewing their respective licenses. Twelve o'clock was the
time appointed for the commencement of the proceedings, but more than
half an hour elapsed before the Magistrates entered the Court House. The
assembly Bonifaces manifested considerable impatience at this delay, and
as the time wore on they stamped with vehemence and gave utterance to
observations anything but complimentary to their worships in the inner
chamber. At length, however, the Magistrates made their appearance, and
the storm was hushed.
The Magistrates' Clerk then proceeded to call out the names of the
various persons making application for the renewal of their licenses,
and as they answered they were informed that they might leave the Court.
The renewal of the license of the "Chance Inn," Adrian Street, to the
present landlord, Henry Baker, was opposed.
Mr. Fox said he appeared on behalf of Mr. Swoffer, Mr. L. Adams, Mr.
Haynes, Mr. Reeves, Mr. Allchin, Mr. P. Penn, Mr. G. Kennett, Mr. G.
Carrier, and Mr. Crosoer, all residents in the neighbourhood, - to
oppose the application. The grounds of this opposition were that the
house was badly conducted and was a source of great annoyance. Woman of
bad character were harboured in the house; and there had been a case
before the Bench that day arising out of the irregular proceedings
in the house in which a conviction had taken place, three soldiers
having left the "Chance" not by the usual means, but by scaling the back
premises and making their way through the shop of Mr. Reeves, one of the
gentleman who now complained, much to the annoyance of himself and
family. He should call before the Bench the provost-marshal, who would
prove that the house was conducted in a disorderly manner, and he should
produce other evidence in support of the complaint; and he had no doubt
in the end he should succeed in convincing the Magistrates that this was
a case in which the license ought not to be renewed.
Alfred Swoffer; I am a green-grocer and live at the corner of Five
Post Lane. The "Chance" is next door, and some of the rooms of that
house are over my living-room. Since the house has been conducted by Mr.
Baker, I have been continually annoyed. The "Chance" is frequented by
soldiers and woman, and there is occasionally dancing over-head.
Soldiers occasionally lock themselves up in another room. On Thursday
night, all day on Friday, and part of Saturday the annoyance was very
objectionable. I have continually seen prostitutes go in and out of the
house, and I know that they live there. Occasionally we overhear
language of the most horrible and disgusting nature. I should think it
impossible for a house to be conducted in a more disorderly manner.
In Cross-examination by Mr. Baker the witness said the noise he
complained of were perpetual - from morning till night. He knew
that men and women were locked in one of the rooms because he could hear
their voices and hear the key turned in the lock after they had entered.
He had seen girls of improper character about the premises early in the
morning, and had seen them enter the house late at night. Last Friday
morning when he got up, at four o'clock, a terrible row was raging.
In answer to the Bench Mr. Swoffer said that of course he could not
swear that the men who locked themselves up with the women were
soldiers, but he knew the house was frequented by soldiers and loose
women, and he therefore concluded this to be the fact.
Mr. Haynes said he lived in Snargate Street, and that his back
premises abutted on the rear of the "Chance." He had frequently seen
women leaning from the window of one of the rooms the last witness had
referred to and had heard noises proceeding from the same room. He had
also observed women on the housetop, throwing pegs at the passers-by. On
Saturday he observed two or three women at the window of one of the
rooms referred to by the last witness, looking after the soldiers as
they were making their way through the back premises into Mr. Reeves.
The garrison police were after the soldiers, who tried to escape by
scaling the walls dividing the "Chance" from Mr. Reeves's and witness's
own premises. Witness ran through the house and intercepted the men, who
were then taken in charge of by the police. He could not say that he had
experienced the same annoyance from the house as Mr. Swoffer had deposed
to, as witness lived further off; at the same time the frequency with
which loose women were to be observed hanging their heads out of the
window was a source of annoyance to him, besides which their language
was not by any means select.
By Mr. Baker: I know your daughter, and I have not mistaken her for
any of the women I have described.
Mr. G. H. Carrier said he lived in Adrian Street, opposite the
"Chance." The windows of his house overlooked the rooms of the
public-house, and he had frequently observed disorderly practices going
on there; in fact the house had not been respectably conducted since it
had been in the hands of Mr. Baker. He had seen soldiers and prostitutes
assembled. These proceedings had been nearly of daily occurrence, and
altogether the house had been kept in a very disorderly way.
Mr. Baker expressed his surprise that this witness, if the conduct of
the house had been such as he had described it, had not spoken to the
police; but Mr. Carrier said he had drawn the attention of the police to
the subject once or twice.
Baker, in his cross-examination of Mr. Carrier, made allegations of a
serious nature touching proceedings he said he had witnessed in the
house of Mr. Carrier; but the Mayor stopped him, remarking that such
observations were most unjustifiable, and that Baker was converting into
license that free privilege of speech to which, in the position he was
placed, he was entitled.
Edward Robins, garrison provost-marshal, was also examined. He said
his attention had been directed to the "Chance" numbers of times by the
residence in the neighbourhood, and that in his official capacity he had
frequently directed pickets to remove soldiers who were found drunk in
the house. In his judgment the house was conducted in a disorderly
manner. He had seen prostitutes in the house. Whether they slept there
ha did not know, as it was not his duty to go into the private
apartments. On Friday night he saw a soldier very drunk coming up
Snargate Street in company with another more sober. The man who was
drunk was very disorderly indeed. He saw both go into the "Chance," and
he did not take his eyes off the door, but when he called the picket,
who were a short distance up Adrian Street, and entered the house in
search of the men, they could not be found. Where they were put to he
could not say; but he knew they did not come out of the front door, and
it was not witness's business to go into the private rooms. He had had
occasion to report the house twice to the brigade-major.
The young man in the employ of Mr. Reeves, named Walter, examined in
the assault case already referred to by Mr. Fox, was called and deposed
to the facts already before the Magistrates with respect to the
incursion of soldiers to his master's premises on Saturday morning. He
also spoke in general terms as to the disorderly character of the house.
Sergeant Barton was also examined. He said he knew that the "Chance"
was frequented by prostitutes and soldiers from his own observations. He
had seen five or six prostitutes in the house at one time.
The Mayor enquired how it was, then, that the house had not been
Sergeant Barton said that he had never visited the house officially.
None of the residents in the neighbourhood had complained to him.
Superintendent Coram, in reply to the Magistrates, said he could not
add anything to his testimony already given. The house had been recently
visited by the police in consequence of complaints by the inhabitants.
baker had been convicted of harbouring disorderly characters in his
house under a previous license.
Baker denied that this was the fact. He had kept a public-house for
ten years, and had never been fined a shilling. In this case the
neighbours had felt annoyed from the soldiers endeavouring to escape the
picket by going through their premises, and for this he was not
responsible. But for that occurrence, however, he believed the
Bench would have heard nothing of this complaint.
The Magistrates said that after the evidence which had been given
they must decline to renew the license.
From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer,
11 September, 1868.
ASSAULT BY A SOLDIER
A private in the King's Own Regiment, named Jamed Whelan, was charged
by Alfred Walter, in the employ of Mr. Reeves, boot-maker, Snargate
Street, with assaulting him.
Mr. Fox appeared in support of the complainant.
The complainant stated that behind the premises occupied by his
employer was a public-house called the "Chance." On Saturday morning
last between ten and eleven o'clock, three soldiers, of whom the
defendant was one, tried to force their way from the back of the
"Chance" into Mr. Reeves's premises. He (Walter) endeavoured to prevent
them, but Whelan pushed him violently to one side, and went through the
house. In order to get into the premises, they had to get over a wall.
This was not the first case of the kind. The evidence of the complainant
was corroborated by Frederick Humphreys, shop-boy to Mr. Reeves, who
witnessed what took place and identified Whelan as one of the soldiers
who forced their way through the house.
The statement of the defendant was that whilst he was drinking at the
"Chance" the picket came there, and he tried to escape by passing
through Mr. Reeves's place.
One of the non-commissioned officers of the 4th Regiment gave Whelan
an excellent character, and Mr. Reeves, through Mr. Fox, said that he
did not wish to press the charge harshly, but rather to prevent the
recurrence of what to him was a great source of annoyance, as men before
had escaped from the "Chance" into his yard.
The Magistrates took a lenient view of the case, and fined the
defendant 2s. 6d. and costs, amounting in all to 13s., which was paid.
The house was closed in 1868 in order
that the "Liberty" might open. Certainly the licence was refused that year
but there must have been a successful appeal because the public were served
for another fourteen years at least.
From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 25
The "Chance Inn," Adrian Street, was transferred from Mr. Wells to
Mr. William Smith Banks. It appeared that the new landlord had never
kept a public house before, and he was therefore recommended by Mr.
Elsted to peruse his licence carefully so that he might guard himself
against many of the offences peculiar to the keepers of licensed houses.
It was common, when such persons were proved to had infringed their
licenses, for them to plead they they had never read it; but this was an
excuse the Magistrates could not receive, and it was well, therefore,
that those who were receiving a licence for the first time should be
made aware of that fact and the necessity there was for them to inform
themselves of what they might do, and what they might not do, which
their licence fully set forth.
From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday,
31 December, 1869.
Stephen Fisher, the landlord of the "Chance" public-house, was, on
the information of Police-sergeant Barton, summoned for harbouring
prostitutes in his house on the 17th instant, and was fined 11s. 6d.,
From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 8 September, 1871. Price 1d.
ANNUAL LICENSING MEETING
THE CHANCE, ADRIAN STREET
In this case the applicant for renewal, Mr. Francis Shipley, was
reminded that during the year there had been a conviction against him
for a breach of the covenants of his license; but there had been only
one, and under these circumstances the Magistrates would be content with
giving him a caution.
Mr. Shipley said that he had kept a public-house for ten years, and that
this conviction was the only one which had ever been recorded against
The Magistrates were very glad to hear it. They felt, however, that it
was their duty to notice every breach of this sort, and in the case of a
second conviction it was their intention to notice it very seriously.
They hoped, in the case of Mr. Shipley, that the same circumstance would
not occur again.
From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 31
August, 1877. Price 1d.
DOVER LICENSING MEETING
The landlord of this house, in Adrian Street, was called forward, and
told that there were reports against the house, and cautioned that if
the house were not better conducted, the license might be withdrawn.
The landlord declared that there had been nothing worse in the house
than a drunken soldier.
The Chairman said they were satisfied with the report of the police,
and hoped the caution would be observed.
From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 20 September, 1878
CHARGE OF EMBEZZLEMENT
Charles Philis, butcher, in the employ of Richard Wood Pepper, 108, High
Street, Charlton, was charged with embezzling various sums of money the
property of his employer.
Mr. Worsfold Mowll appeared for the defence.
From the evidence of Mr. Pepper it appeared that there were nearly
fourteen or fifteen cases in which the prisoner had delivered orders for
meat and at various times had received payment for the same without ever
having accounted for the amounts either to him or his book-keeper, the
principal items being from Mrs. Sneller, of the “Chance Inn,” and Mr.
Chard, of Maxton.
The prisoner, who has been in Mr. Pepper’s service between five and six
years, pleaded guilty to the charge, and was sentenced to six months’
imprisonment with hard labour.
From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer,
10 January, 1879. Price 1d.
TRANSFER OF LICENSES
Application was made for transfer of the "Chance."
Mr. Worsfold Mowll defended.
Superintendent Sanders said: This house has been very badly kept. On
Boxing Day my attention was called to the house, as there had been
fighting with some soldiers. I went at once to the house, and found many
soldiers there. One was bleeding very much from the face, and another
very drunk in the bar. I cautioned the landlord, but he said "I could
not help it, I must serve the people that come in." I told him he would
get into trouble if he did not conduct his house better, I got rid of
the soldiers, and I had one that was drunk taken to the guard room by
By Mr. Mowll: I found several redcoats there but was not informed
that one regiment had been fighting against another. The house is at the
top of Five Post Lane, where all the soldiers have to pass to go to the
Police-sergeant Johnstone said: My attention having been called to
the "Chance" on the 26th Dec. last. I visited the house with another
police-constable. It was about nine o'clock, I went and found seven
prostitutes at the bar, three of which I had seen in the house earlier.
About 9.55 the same evening I visited the house again, and found five
prostitutes and a number of soldiers. I cautioned the landlord several
times about the conduct of the house. I watched the house from nine
o'clock till 9.55, and I only saw two prostitutes leave the house. On
the second visit I went into a side door and found the landlord and some
navvies drinking. The landlord was drunk. I cautioned him again, but he
would not take any notice.
By Mr. Mowll: I visited the house three times during the evening. It
has been a very bad house with the present and last landlords, and is
frequented very much by prostitutes and soldiers. I have had a great
many complaints about it.
George Church said: I am a garrison sergeant-major. My attention was
first called to this house, the "Chance," on the 8th or 9th December
last. On going there in the evening I found a great number of soldiers,
navvies, and five or six prostitutes. They were creating a great
disturbance, so I ordered all the soldiers out and put a Garrison
Military Police outside, to see that no soldiers came in the house that
evening. I have reported it to the General, who sent a letter of caution
to the landlord. I have cautioned the landlord several times.
By Mr. Mowll: The house has not been put out of bounds.
The transfer was not granted.
From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 4 February, 1881.
THIS WEEK IN DOVER
On Saturday evening, at about nine o’clock, information was received at
the Police-station that a fire had broken out at the “Chance”
public-house, situate in Adrian Street, occupied by William Eversfied.
The Superintendent of Police (Mt. T. O. Sanders), Sergeant Barton, and
Constable Bowles, Stevens, Pilcher, Baker, Knott, and Bath were quickly
on the spot, with hose and reel. A stand pipe was fixed, and a good
supply of water being obtained, the fire was extinguished, after the
room in which it broke out, together with the furniture and the
adjoining landing, had been destroyed. The origin of the fire is
unknown, but very considerable excitement prevailed during the time it
raged, from the fact that the house is situated in a narrow thoroughfare
and adjoining a large furnishing warehouse, in which is stored immense
quantities of furniture. It is understood that the loss is covered by
FIRE IN ADRIAN STREET
The Superintendent of Police read a report on the fire at the “Chance”
public-house, Adrian Street.
The Mayor remarked that although the fire was not a serious one, it
might have been but for the promptness of the Fire Brigade, to whom much
praise was due.
SPICE Robert 1838-47
WELLS George 1858-Jan/62
BANKS William Smith Jan/1862-63+
PACKHAM Isaac 1865
BAKER H 1868 (Licence refused)
FISHER Stephen 1869-70
SHIPLEY Francis May/70-1872 dec'd
BARTLETT Mrs Sarah Jane Jan/1872-73
JACKSON William Charles Rowe 1874
SNELLER Mrs Mary 1875-78+
EVERSFIELD William Jun/1879+
WALKER Robert Hansley Apr/1881-July/82
(pensioner sergeant of the 109th Regiment)
MIDDLETON Mr J July/1882+
From the Pigot's Directory 1840
From Bagshaw Directory 1847
From Melville's Directory 1858
From the Kelly's Directory 1874
From the Post Office Directory 1874
From the Post Office Directory 1882
From the Dover Express