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The Deal Family Robinson

  The pictures on this page were kindly loaned by Roger Divito and date from before the First World War.

The photographer in each case is not known.


This picture shows the Robinson family of Middle Deal Road in about 1915

It seems to have been fairly common for soldiers who joined up in the First World War to have a studio picture taken of their families before going off to the front.  No doubt they would have kept a copy in their tunic pocket to remind them of what they had left behind and the family would have framed them and put them on the wall so the children wouldn't forget what their father looked like!

Edward Francis (Ted) Robinson and his wife Leonora Annie (nee Belsey) were living at "Homestead", 88 Middle Deal Road when this picture was taken, probably to mark the occasion of their daughter Joan's christening at St. Leonard's Church on 29th October 1915.  There is one child missing from this picture - their second son, Edward, died in 1908 aged just 16 months.

The picture (right) shows the house today (2007).

Ted was a Corporal in the Royal West Kent Regiment; he was over 40 when he joined up in 1915.  Before the war he had been a publican, helping his father in running the Queen's Arms Inn at 145 High Street, where he was born in 1874. 


Edward and his family moved out of the pub and into "Homestead" before 1904, but Ted is still giving his occupation as Publican up to October 1914 and his address as the Queen's Arms until 1908, at the baptisms of his other children at St Andrew's church.

  After leaving the army, Ted worked as a gardener.

Deal beach used to be lined with boats over much of its length.

Edward "Ted" Robinson named his boat Nora after his eldest daughter.

In the background is a typical Deal boat, similar to the Lady Irene, owned by "Doc" Bailey, another well-known Deal boatman.

We haven't yet identified the exact location on the beach where this picture was taken.

  This magnificently moustachioed Salvationist was affectionately known as Banjo Charlie.  Can anybody throw some light on exactly who this gentleman was?

Notice the cobbled surface going right up to the front of the house.  The lady's costume would seem to indicate a much earlier date than the other pictures on this page; it must be after 1878 as the Salvation Army was called the Christian Mission before that date.

Charlie is standing on what looks like a cellar cover - probably outside the Queen's Arms at number 38 Lower Street (later 145 High Street), which was run by Ted's parents, Richard Henry Robinson (born in Deal in 1844) and Julia (nee Stroud, born in Canterbury in 1847). 

The 1881 census shows Richard Henry as the licensee; he is still listed there in Pike's Directory for 1903 and 1913.

  In 1891 the licensee was listed in Pike's as Edward T. Robinson.  He was also there in 1885, when the local cemetery records show his son, Edward Thomas, died there at the age of 4.  Edward Thomas, born in 1840, was Richard Henry's brother.  Charlie, born in 1842/3, also have been a brother, but we have not yet found any evidence to support this.

The map (above) is part of Ordnance Survey Sheet LVIII.4.5 and dates from the 1870s
(courtesy of Deal Library)

The site is now part of the Union Road Car Park, the venue for the Saturday Market.  There is still evidence in the cellar of the carpet shop on the corner of Farrier Street of a tunnel that once led under the High Street to the cellar of the Inn - probably a relic of the age of smuggling.


This picture shows "Grandpa" Robinson on a PT course

The rifles and bayonets should give an idea of the date of this picture.  The uniform of the officer (2nd Lieut?) seems to suggest a Scottish regiment.

  This picture is later than the family group at the top of the page; taken around 1918 it shows Edward (Ted) Robinson, now elevated to Sergeant, with his wife Leonora.

The crossed swords insignia indicates that he was a PT specialist.

  The picture below shows "grandpa" Robinson at the oars of the  Hugin; a replica of a Viking ship which, having sailed from Denmark to Thanet in 1949, was given to Ramsgate and Broadstairs by the Daily Mail to celebrate the 1500th anniversary of the invasion of Britain by Hengist and Horsa and the betrothal of Hengist's daughter Rowena to King Vortigern of Kent.   The ship is on permanent display on the cliff-top at Pegwell Bay.

Hengist and Horsa are remembered in street names in North Deal.