Deal timeline

1650 First leases for dwellings in Lower Deal herald the building of a town. Buildings had been in place for many years unofficially.

1668 Strangers burial ground set up by the Vestry paid for by the parishoners and consecrated.

1697 Celia Fiennes writing about her visit ‘Deale Looks like a good thriveing place, ye buildings new and neate Brickwork with gardens. I believe they are most masters of shipps houses and seamen or Else those that belong to ye Cordage and Saile makeing with other Requisites to shipping.’

1699 St Leonard’s Parish Vestry appealed to the King (William III) for Deal to be given its own charter giving it ‘Borough and Market Town‘ status, which he granted.

1703 November 27th. Great storm with huge losses to Royal Navy ships. Greater storm over Daniel Defoe's book 'The Storm'.

1783 After the American War of Independence, the British navy was obliged to keep a large fleet in the Downs to protect merchant ships from the marauding French. This brought prosperity with great employment and many trades people flocked to the town to service the large fleets, all demanding provisions which became greatly inflated in price.

1793 French declared war on Britain.
Chain of Martello Towers needed ½ million bricks for each tower and caused a shortage throughout Kent and Essex for two years.

1795 Old Naval hospital in West St (200 beds) was deemed too small and a new one erected (500 beds) in Walmer. (Pritchard and Laker have 1812)

1797 William Mudge first triangulation survey of Kent results in 3 inch to 1 mile, first accurate map. (Ordnance Survey)

1797 Turnpike Act (Dover to Deal and Upper Deal to Sandwich). The toll roads made it possible to get to London in 11 hours. Not shown on Mudge's 1797 map.

1806 Feb 5th Unusually low ebb tide, the sea retreating 450 feet from the shore.

1807 Feb 15th. Huge storm wrecking many ships.

1807 Sept 30th. Very high tide and inundation covered a large area right out to Cottington Alders.

1812 Huge increase in food prices due to Napoleonic War caused riots in many parts of the country.

1816 Government established a coastal blockade to put an end to smuggling with a frigate “Ganymede” stationed in the Downs commanded by Capt. Mc.Culloch.

1818 Renewal of 1797 Turnpike Act and extension of the Turnpike from Queen Street, Deal through to Upper Deal on the current main route. Allowed fares to increase.

1819 Large number of Deal Boats burned to reduce smuggling.

1823 William Cobbett writing about Lower Deal – ‘Deal is a most villainous place. It is full of filthy-looking people. Great desolation of abomination has been going on here; tremendous barracks, partly pulled down and partly tumbling down, and partly occupied by soldiers. Everything seems upon the perish. I was glad to hurry along through it, and to leave its inns and public-houses to be occupied by the tarred, and trowsered, and blue-and-buff crew whose very vicinage I always detest.'

1826 Deal held a Regatta attracting many yachts from all parts especially Cowes and the Isle of Wight.

1830 A hoard of Roman coins found in the Sandhills, with some Roman vases.

1831 end March. Earthquake shook Deal.

1832 A small Gasometer was erected to provide lighting for the streets of Deal.

1835 The Municipal Corporations Act reformed all the Corporations in the country. Deal Assembly became Deal Borough. Very little changed here, but the record keeping became better.

1836 New Poor Law came into effect. The poor of Deal were moved to the Union at Eastry, the second largest in the country. Further information

1836 Deal's first pier was built.

1836 Nov 29th. Tremendous storm. 400 merchant vessels riding at anchor in the Downs. 10 ships dismasted. Several sunk. Lot blown asunder out of the Downs. Over 100 chimneys overturned in Deal.

1838 60 million bricks from Kent were needed to build a viaduct for the railway at Bermondsey on the London to Greenwich route.

1839 Repeal of Dover – Deal – Sandwich Turnpike Acts.

1840 Act of Parliament obtained for erection of large waterworks near Upper Deal Mill. Piped to Lower Deal.

1840 New organ installed in St Leonard's church as recorded in Kentish Gazette April 21st

1847 The railway reaches Deal by branch line from Minster. It now takes just over two hours to get to London.

1857 Deal gets the Time Ball, replacing the Semaphore system. Operated by electrical signal from Greenwich it drops precisely at 1pm each day to provide a reference for shipping in the Downs.

1861 Excise duty on Newspapers was abolished. Many local newspapers sprang up as the new readership could now afford them.

1861 Royal Marines Depot established in Deal.

1874 Removal of Tollgate at Upper Deal.

1878 Highways Authorities took over from Turnpike Trusts.

1881 Deal and Dover connected by railway, a new station at Walmer.

1882 A second Corporation Reform Act allowing corporations to buy land and make local bylaws

1889 County Councils took over responsibility for main roads.

1974 Municipal Corporations were abolished and Town Councils retained very little power.

Researched by Alan Buckman, Lis Pallett

A History of Deal by S.C.Pritchard 1864
Kent 1800-1899 A Chronicle of the Nineteenth Century by Bob Ogley 2003
Vestry Minutes St Leonard's Church