Friday, 27 March 2009

The real Deal

A walk down from the Monument to Kingsdown gives a fine view towards Deal. This small town is still one the most attractive of Kent's seaside resorts.

At one time Deal was one of England's busiest ports and was made a 'Limb Port' of the Cinque Ports in 1278. Its prominence as a port was due to its position by the downs, the sheltered area of sea between the notorious Goodwin Sands and the shore. There are still quite a few small fishing boats on the beach and at the right time it is still possible to buy fresh fish on the beach. The Cliffs in the back ground are at Kingsdown.

This fishing boat is for sale, the notice suggests it would make a good garden feature or shed. This is a better fate the Deals ships had in 1784, when the Government, under Pitt the Younger, had all of Deals boats destroyed as they were suspected of smuggling.

Deal Castle is one of the finest Tudor artillery castles in England. It is one of a chain of coastal forts, which includes Camber and Walmer Castles that were built between 1539 and 1542 by order of King Henry VIII, who feared an invasion by European Catholic powers. The fort guarded the sheltered anchorage of 'the Downs' . The foreign invasion never materialised, but Deal Castle saw hard fighting during the Second Civil War (1648). Taken by forces from the rebel Royalist fleet, it was twice besieged by Parliamentarians, and finally surrendered after the bloody repulse of a relief attempt.

Deal's present pier was built in 1954 but there have been two previous constructions. The first was built in 1838, but was never completed and was eventually demolished by a storm in 1857. The second was opened in 1864 but suffered a fatal blow in 1940 when it was hit by a crippled Dutch Vessel, Nora.

Strong local pressure came to bear after the war and in 1954 and work began on Deal's third and existing pier. The new pier took 3 years to build and was formally opened by the Duke of Edinburgh on 19 November 1957. The pier was the first seaside pleasure pier of any size to be built since 1910 and was designed by Sir W Halcrow and Partners. Constructed of reinforced concrete the structure is 1026ft long and steel piles surrounded by a concrete case make up the main supports. The pier head originally had 3 levels but a miscalculation of the tides has led to the lower deck being permanently covered by the sea. Deal Pier continues to be a significant local landmark and public amenity.
In 2008 a new-look cafe-bar andother improvements were made to the pier. The chosen design is by renowned architects Niall McLaughlin, featuring a pier-end cafe-bar with timber frames, edge walls made of glass, and a range of environmentally friendly features.

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