Deal Index Along the Promenade
Pier Parade
Sunday Stroll
Boatman's Rooms
Beach Street
If Not, Why Not?


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The picture above shows Beach Street as seen from the end of the pier.  The building on the far left is the Royal Hotel, with the Star & Garter Hotel just to the right and behind it.

The picture extends to somewhere near Silver Street, just beyond the Pelican.  There were once as many as 7 or 8 public houses and hotels in this short stretch of road.  Those on the side nearest the sea were all demolished by the Council in the late 19th century (with the exception of the Royal Hotel) to provide a promenade.  Several others (including the Pelican) are now private houses.

Pier Parade
Pier Parade looking north - Royal Hotel in the background

This view looking towards the Royal Hotel from the pier entrance is almost unchanged in 60 years, as can be seen by the picture below, which shows a family outing on a summer Sunday afternoon around 1938.  The couple are June's great grandparents, Richard and Elizabeth Sparnon, with one of their grandchildren.  They were probably on their way to the cemetery to put flowers on a family grave.

Pier Parade
A Sunday afternoon stroll along the promenade

Seen below, the fishing boats "IF NOT" and "WHY NOT" were for many years a familiar landmark on the beach opposite the Timeball Tower.

On the corner of Exchange Street, opposite the Royal Exchange, stands the Boatman's Reading Rooms, built in 1884 (now a private dwelling).  The small square plaque on the wall to the right of the window reads:
1913 - 1993
Big Chief I-SPY
lived here
odhu / ntinggo"
Boatman's Reading Rooms
Boatman's Reading Room

The building was originally occupied by the Missions to Seamen; the Chaplain, the Rev. T.S. Treanor, is commemorated by another plaque affixed below the one mentioned above.

The only building left on the beach side of the seafront is the Royal Hotel, which can be seen in the far distance in the picture below.  With the exception of the rather ugly block of flats in the foreground (and the row of parked cars!) this view probably hasn't much changed in almost a hundred years.

Beach Street
Beach Street looking south from the Rowing Club

In the last century, there were a number of buildings that backed on to the sea, including the Crown Hotel and "Seagirt".  There were also a number of capstan grounds, where boats were hauled up.  Unfortunately, the sea is not a very good neighbour, and all except the Royal Hotel have long since disappeared, mostly demolished by the Council to provide space for a Promenade.


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"If Not", "Why Not" and "Rose & Mary" on the beach opposite the TImeball Tower

This short extract from the first edition of the Deal, Walmer and Sandwich Mercury (2nd June 1865 paints an idyllic picture of Deal in the middle of the last century:

"To persons unacquainted with the locality and visiting Deal at this season of the year, and more particularly within this last month, a greater part of which our roadstead has presented the appearance of one vast mirror, whilst on the Beach there has scarcely been a ripple sufficient to move a pebble stone.   The water has also been of such transparency that the fish could be distinctly seen and also the bottom as far from the shore as the end of our new pier, to the great amusement and attraction of those who stroll thither to spend a quiet half hour: ..."

This was, of course, in the days before oil-fired ships and sewage outfalls polluted the waters around our coastline.  We still get days when the sea is calm, but you can rarely see the bottom a yard or two from the shore!