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Deal, Kent facts for kids

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Deal seafront.jpg
Deal seafront
Deal is located in Kent
Population 30,085 (2011 census Deal Urban Area)
OS grid reference TR375525
• London 83.9mi
  • Dover
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town DEAL
Postcode district CT14
Dialling code 01304
Police Kent
Fire Kent
Ambulance South East Coast
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament
  • Dover
List of places
51°13′21″N 1°24′02″E / 51.2226°N 1.4006°E / 51.2226; 1.4006

Deal is a town in Kent, England, which lies where the North Sea and the English Channel meet, 8 miles (13 km) north-east of Dover and 8 miles (13 km) south of Ramsgate. It is a former fishing, mining and garrison town whose history is closely linked to the anchorage in the Downs. Close to Deal is Walmer, a possible location for Julius Caesar's first arrival in Britain.

Deal became a 'limb port' of the Cinque Ports in 1278 and grew into the busiest port in England; today it is a seaside resort, its quaint streets and houses a reminder of its history along with many ancient buildings and monuments. In 1968, Middle Street was the first Conservation Area in Kent. The coast of France is approximately 25 miles (40 km) from the town and is visible on clear days. The Tudor Deal Castle, commissioned by King Henry VIII, has a rose floor plan.


Deal is first mentioned as a village in the Domesday Book of 1086, where it appears as Addelam. It is referred to as Dela in 1158, and Dale in 1275. The name is the Old English dael meaning 'valley', cognate with the modern English 'dale'. Deal developed into a port by the end of the 13th century. Sandown, Deal and Walmer castles were constructed around the town by Henry VIII to protect against foreign naval attack. In 1861 a Royal Marines Depot was established in the town.

Maritime history

The proximity of Deal's shoreline to the notorious Goodwin Sands has made its coastal waters a source of both shelter and danger through the history of sea travel in British waters. The Downs, the water between the town and the sands, provides a naturally sheltered anchorage. This meant that, despite the absence of a harbour, the town became a significant port (both for merchant ships and for the Royal Navy) with transit of goods and people from ship to shore conducted using smaller tender craft. Deal was, for example, visited by Nelson and was the first English soil on which James Cook set foot in 1771 on returning from his first voyage to Australia. The anchorage is still used today by international and regional shipping, though on a scale far smaller than in former times (some historical accounts report hundreds of ships being visible from the beach).

In 1672, a small Naval Yard was established at Deal, providing stores and minor repair facilities. On the site of the yard there is now a building originally used as a semaphore tower linked to London, and later used as a coastguard house, then as a timeball tower, which remains today as a museum of time and communication.

The Deal Maritime and Local History Museum is housed in an historic complex of light-industrial buildings in St George's Road, dating from 1803. It contains a series of displays and artefacts, narrating the town's maritime, industrial, domestic and leisure history.


By the time Dickens came to Deal it had been largely forgotten how the government of 1784, under Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger, ensured that the Deal boats were all set ablaze, suspecting some of the Deal luggers of being engaged in smuggling. Pitt had awaited an opportunity that January, when the boats were all 'hoved up' on the beach on account of bad weather, to send a regiment of soldiers to smash and burn them. A naval cutter was positioned offshore to prevent any of the boatmen escaping.

The boatmen's ancestors had the right, under charter, freely to import goods in return for their services as Cinque Port men in providing what had been long recognised as the sole naval defence of the realm. These men continued to risk their lives and their boats, in saving the lives of shipwreck victims. The irrepressible spirit of the Deal boatmen remained undaunted by these events throughout the Napoleonic Wars, and they continued to assert their hard-earned right to trade. From these activities news of the events unfolding in France would reach England quickly and regularly, with about 400 men making a living off Deal beach at that time. The war only made the boatmen’s efforts more profitable, so that afterwards the Government immediately turned a part of its naval blockade into a coastal blockade, which lasted from 1818 to 1831.

Naval and Military

The Navy Yard

A Naval storehouse was built in Deal in 1672, providing for ships anchored in the Downs. In time, the establishment grew to cover some five acres of land, to the north of the castle. There was also a Victualling Yard on site. In contrast to other naval yards, there was no place for ships to dock alongside at Deal, so instead a number of small supply boats were maintained at the yard; these would be launched from the shingle beach, carrying supplies, provisions, personnel or equipment as required. The Yard closed in 1864.

The barracks

The Royal Marines Depot, Deal were constructed shortly after the outbreak of the French Revolution. They originally consisted of adjacent cavalry and infantry barracks (later known as South Barracks), alongside which were separate hospitals for the Army and Navy. In due course the hospitals were also turned into barracks (known as North Barracks and East Barracks respectively). From 1861 the complex served as a sizeable Depot for the Royal Marines; latterly it was known in particular for the Royal Marines School of Music, which had moved there in 1930.



Deal Pier
The 1957 Deal Pier

The seafront at Deal has been adorned with three separate piers in the town's history. The first, built in 1838, was designed by Sir John Rennie. After its wooden structure was destroyed in an 1857 gale, it was replaced by an iron pier in 1864. A popular pleasure pier, it survived until the Second World War, when it was struck and severely damaged by a mined Dutch ship, the Nora, in January 1940. This was not the first time the pier had been hit by shipping, with previous impacts in 1873 and 1884 necessitating extensive repairs.

The present pier, designed by Sir W. Halcrow & Partners, was opened on 19 November 1957 by the Duke of Edinburgh. Constructed predominantly from concrete-clad steel, it is 1026 ft (311 m) in length (a notice announces that it is the same length as the RMS Titanic, but that ship was just 882 feet in length), and ends in a three-tiered pier-head, featuring a cafe, bar, lounge, and fishing decks. The lowest of the three tiers is underwater at all but the lowest part of the tidal range, and has become disused. The pier is a popular sport fishing venue.

Deal's current pier is the last remaining fully intact leisure pier in Kent and is a Grade II listed building. Its structure was extensively refurbished and repaired in 1997, with work including the replacement of much of the concrete cladding on the pier's main piles. Work began in April 2008 to construct a new pier-head with a modern restaurant, with the restaurant opened in December 2008.


Deal has several museums; all are related to Deal's maritime history. Both Deal Castle and Walmer Castle are operated by English Heritage - Deal has a display on the events in the reign of Henry VIII that led to the invasion threat which caused its construction, along with some material on its subsequent history, whereas displays at Walmer concentrate on Walmer's post-Tudor role as the Lord Warden's residence. There is also a ruin of the third Tudor castle, Sandown Castle, in North Deal. The Deal Maritime and Local History Museum has exhibits of boats, smuggler galleys and model naval ships. It also contains extensive histories of the lifeboats as well as local parish registers. The Timeball Tower Museum, on the other hand, focuses on the importance of timekeeping for ships, and the role the building it occupies played.

Sport and leisure

Deal has a non-League football club Deal Town, which plays at The Charles Sports Ground.

The rugby club, Deal & Betteshanger Lions plays at the old RM Drill Field off Canada Road.

Deal Rowing Club is located on the seafront north of the pier.

There is a farmer's market on Wednesday which sells local produce, as well as a long-running market on Saturday. The town has an independent retail sector in the North End of Deal High Street, and a number of chains on the High Street, though there are some retail voids.

The Astor Theatre in Deal offers musical performances, live theatre, exhibitions, movies, classes and clubs.

Deal had two cinemas up until 1981, but these finally closed in 1984 with the closure of the Cannon Classic in Queen Street and although a small cinema re-appeared in the former Cannon Classic Cinema building, that too closed in 2007. Deal's former bingo hall the Regent, another art deco cinema building, closed in 2008 and was sold by the local council to reopen as a cinema or arts space. As of April 2018, the building remains shuttered with no plans submitted for its regeneration.

Twin towns


The nearest UK Met Office weather station is in Langdon Bay. Deal has a temperate maritime climate, with comfortable summers and cold winters. The temperature is usually between 3 °C (37 °F) and 21.1 °C (70.0 °F), but the all-time temperature range is between −8 °C (18 °F) and 31 °C (88 °F). There is evidence that the sea is coldest in February; the warmest recorded February temperature was only 13 °C (55 °F), compared with 16 °C (61 °F) in January.

Climate data for Langdon Bay (Nearest station to Deal) (1981-2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 16
Average high °C (°F) 7.8
Average low °C (°F) 3.3
Record low °C (°F) -5
Rainfall mm (inches) 74.9
Humidity 88 86 84 81 83 84 84 82 82 84 87 88 84.4
Avg. rainy days (≥ 1 mm) 12.3 10.6 10.6 10.5 8.1 8.2 8.2 8 10.2 11.6 12.6 12.7 123.5
Sunshine hours 66 83.4 117.5 185.2 214.7 213.3 221.6 223.4 159.4 126 76.7 55.8 1,743

Notable people

  • Admiral Sir John Harvey KCB (1772 in Eastry – 1837 in Upper Deal) was an officer of the British Royal Navy during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars
  • Antonio Blitz (1810 in Deal – 1877) magician, who worked mainly in Europe and the United States.
  • John Hulke (1830 in Deal – 1895) surgeon, geologist and fossil collector and son of a physician in Deal
  • Freddy McConnell, a Guardian multimedia journalist and trans man
  • Edward Millen (1860 in Deal – 1923) an Australian journalist and politician, the first Minister for Repatriation
  • Alan Patterson (1886 in Deal – 1916) track and field athlete, competed at the 1908 Summer Olympics in London and at the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm.
  • Captain John William Pinder DFC (1898 in Deal ) was a British First World War flying ace
  • Carole White (born in Deal 1950) former model, and co-founder of Premier Model Management, but raised in Ghana
  • James Arbuthnot, Baron Arbuthnot of Edrom PC (born in Deal 1952) Conservative Party politician, last served as MP for North East Hampshire from 1997 to 2015
  • Linda Ann Martin (born 1954 in Deal) fencer, competed in the women's individual and team foil events at the 1980, 1984 and 1988 Summer Olympics
  • Richard Ovenden (born 25 March 1964), librarian, author, and current Bodley's Librarian in the University of Oxford


  • Charles Hawtrey (1914–1988) comedy actor and musician, he moved to Deal in 1968 and lived at 117 Middle St.
  • Sir Norman Joseph Wisdom OBE (1915–2010) actor, comedian, and singer-songwriter; lived for a period in a children's home in Deal, but ran away when he was 11
  • Bruce Montague (born 1939 in Deal) actor, best known for his role as Leonard Dunn in the television sitcom Butterflies
  • Neil Stuke (born 1966 in Dover) actor best known for his role of Matthew in the TV sitcom Game On and more recently for playing Billy Lamb in the BBC legal drama Silk
  • Jack Scanlon (born 1998) actor and musician, best known for his role in the Holocaust film The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2008). Lives in Deal with his parents and younger brother
  • Hywel Bennett (1944 - 2017) Film and TV actor, best known for playing lead role in Shelley (TV series).


  • Edward Francis Fitzwilliam (1824 in Deal – 1857), composer and music director.
  • John Ireland (1879–1962) was an English composer and teacher of classical music, lived at Comarques, 122, High Street, Deal from 1936 to 1939
  • Nigel Rogers (1935-2022), tenor
  • Dick Morrissey (1940–2000 in Deal), jazz musician and composer; he played the tenor sax, soprano sax and flute.
  • Adrian Brett (born Deal in 1945), flautist; his album, Echoes of Gold appeared in the Top 20 of the UK Albums Chart


  • Elizabeth Carter (1717 in Deal – 1806) poet, classicist, writer and translator, and a member of the Bluestocking Circle around Elizabeth Montagu
  • Stephen Phillips (1864–1915 in Deal) poet and dramatist, popular early in his career, he lodged & died in Deal
  • Nathaniel Gubbins (1893–1976) journalist and humourist, lived at 109 Beach Street from 1947 to 1958, known as The War's Leading Humorist
  • Elizabeth Bartlett (1924 in Deal – 2008) poet
  • William Horwood (born 1944) novelist, he grew up on the East Kent coast, primarily in Deal
  • Sean Gabb (born 1960 in Chatham) writer, lecturer and broadcaster, lives in Deal. He was the Director of the Libertarian Alliance from 2006 to 2017
  • Charlie Connelly (born 1970 in London) author and broadcaster
  • Alexander James Kent (born 1977 in Dover) cartographer, geographer and academic, and co-author of The Red Atlas. President of the British Cartographic Society from 2015 to 2017 and lives in Deal.
  • Jake Corey (born 1950 in Ashbourne, Derbyshire) novelist

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