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Bradshaw’s Guide

View from pier W, Deal, England. Taken between ca. 1890 and ca. 1900. Original: Library of Congress


This town stands close to the sea shore, which is a bold and open beach, being defended from the violence of the waves by an extensive wall of stones and pebbles which the sea has thrown up. The sea opposite the town, between the shore and the Goodwin Sands is termed the Downs. This channel is about eight miles long and six broad, and is a safe anchorage; and in particular quarters of the wind, as many as 400 ships can ride at anchor here at one time. Deal was formerly a rough-looking, irregular, sailor-like place, full of narrow streets, with shops of multifarious articles termed slops or marine stores. It is however being much improved, and is now resorted to for sea bathing, especially on account of its good repute for moderate charges. The bathing establishment at Deal is well conducted, and there are good libraries.

It is a great pilot, station for the licensed or branch pilots of the Cinque Ports; the Deal boatmen are as fine, noble, and intrepid a race of seamen as any in the world, and as honest as they are brave. Deal Castle is at the south end of the town. The village of

Walmer is a detached suburb of Deal, towards the south on the Dover Road. Since Her Majesty resided here, Walmer has been much improved and extended. It now contains several handsome villas, inhabited by a large body of gentry. The air is very salubrious, and the surrounding country pleasant and agreeable.

Walmer Castle, one of the fortresses built by Henry in 1539, is the official residence of the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. It is surrounded by a moat and drawbridge. The apartments are small but convenient, and command a splendid view of the sea; but they will always have a peculiar interest for Englishmen, as having been the residence of the Duke of Wellington, and at which he died in 1852.

Sandown Castle is about a mile to the north of Deal; it consists of a large central round tower, and four round bastions with port holes, and on the sea-side it is strengthened with an additional battery.

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