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Deal Pier History - Part 4

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Articles
  1. "Three Deal Piers", by Gregory Holyoake (1981)
  2. "The landing-place of Julius Cæsar in Britain", by the Reverend E. Cardwell, D.D. (1860)
  3. "Wreck fishing off the S.S. Patria", by Stanley Tooth (1910)
  4. "Floating furnace - 1899", by David Chamberlain
  5. "Photos of the Pier (1924/25)", by Paul Tooth
  6. "Mr Turner's paintings of our town", by Gregory Holyoake
  7. "Sea-fishing as a sport", by Lambton J. H. Young (1865)
  8. "The fine art of smuggling: King's cutters vs. smugglers (1700-1855)", by E. Keble Chatterton
  9. "The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent (1800) Edward Hasted"
  10. Deal Pier Café: online resources
  11. Deal Pier Café, Architectural Review (February 2009)
  12. "Revealed: Kevin McCloud's favourite house", The Daily Telegraph (2015)
  13. "The dark side of Deal", The Guardian (2016)
  14. L.S. Lowry painting and drawing of Deal Beach to go on sale
  15. "Pier and Fishing" reports from the Deal, Walmer & Sandwich Mercury, 1903 (work in progress)
  16. "An account of the sinking of the 'Rooswijk' in 1740", by David Chamberlain
  17. "Where have all the fishing boats gone?", by David Chamberlain
  18. "Deal, Mecca of sea angling", by David Chamberlain
  19. "Deal's tackle shops in the early 1960s", by David Chamberlain
  20. "The winter of '63", by David Chamberlain
  21. "Deal and Walmer angling clubs in the early 1960s", by David Chamberlain
  22. "Deal's tackle shops in the mid 1960s", by David Chamberlain
  23. "Boating off Deal", by David Chamberlain
  24. "The 'Morning Haze' charters", by David Chamberlain
  25. "Enjoying breezy times on Deal Pier", by Judith Gaunt (2008)
  26. "The dogfish skinning contest", by David Chamberlain
  27. "The Goodwin Sands yields its secrets", by W. H. Lapthorne (1984)
  28. "Deal smuggling in Victorian times", by J. M. Bower (1987)
  29. "Beachcombing bottles", by David Chamberlain
  30. "Dispelling a myth", by David Chamberlain
  31. "A sad occasion", by David Chamberlain
  32. "The best job in the world, Part 1", by David Chamberlain
  33. "The best job in the world, Part 2", by David Chamberlain
  34. "Christmas on the Goodwins", by David Chamberlain
  35. "An unhappy Christmas", by David Chamberlain
  36. "Jack Hargreaves comes to 'Our Town'", by David Chamberlain
  37. "Swinging the Lead", by David Chamberlain
  38. Daily Express, Daily Mirror, Watchman and South Eastern Gazette archived articles from 1838 to 1962
  39. "Dishonest Deal boatmen", Kent Online, March 2019
  40. "Deal is a most villainous place", Kent Online, 10 March 2019
  41. "The town and parish of Deal" in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 10, Edward Hased, pages 1-23
Articles, drawings and publications relating to the landing-place of Julius Cæsar in Britain
  1. "General History: Roman Kent" in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 1 (Edward Hasted, Canterbury, 1797) pages 13 to 44
  2. "The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent" (1800) Edward Hasted Volume 10 at page 1 and Volume 9 at page 549
  3. The South Eastern Gazette Tuesday 4 January 1853 at page 6
  4. The South Eastern Gazette Tuesday 18 March 1856 at page 5
  5. "On Cæsar's Landing-Place in Britain" (1858) R.C. Hussey, Archæologia Cantiana, volume 1 at pages 94 to 110
  6. "The Landing-Place of Julius Cæsar in Britain" (1860) Archæologia Cantiana, volume 3 pages 1 to 17
  7. The South Eastern Gazette Tuesday 6 November 1860 at page 3
  8. "Archaeologia or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity" (1863) Society of Antiquaries of London at pages 277 to 314
  9. "Ramsgate Scientific Association" (1873) The South Eastern Gazette, Tuesday 25 November at page 5
  10. "The Landing-Place of Julius Cæsar" (1873) The South Eastern Gazette, Tuesday 2 December at page 6
  11. "Deal and its Environs" (1900) Archæologia Cantiana, volume 24 pages 108 & 109
  12. "A Peep into the Past: Britain in the Days of Cæsar" (1904) The South Eastern Gazette, Tuesday 16 February at page 3
  13. "The Coming of Rome - Britain before the conquest" (1979) John Stewart Walcher at pages 2 to 8 and 51 to 53
  14. "Richborough Environs Project, Kent"Aerial Survey Report Series AER/12/2002 at page 9
  15. "Julius Cæsar's First Landing in Britain" History Today, Volume 55 Issue 8 August 2005
  16. "Tide and time: re-dating Cæsar's invasion of Britain" Texas State University, Thursday 25 June 2008
  17. "Doubt over date for Brit invasion" BBC, Tuesday 1 July 2008
  18. "Hidden Roman coastline unearthed by archaeologists in Kent" The Telegraph, 2 October 2008
  19. "First evidence of Julius Cæsar's invasion of Britain discovered in Kent" The Independent, 29 November 2017

Jack Hargreaves comes to 'Our Town'

by David Chamberlain

Many years ago the south coast had a local television station called 'Southern Television'. If my memory serves me well, there used to be a program on Friday nights at 7 pm called 'Out of Town'. This was hosted by Jack Hargreaves who, with his wife, was also a director of Southern Television. 'Out of Town' was produced by Jack and his wife and sold under a different franchise to STV; therefore, a win-win commercial venture for him. Although Jack was not the best of anglers there was not that much on TV about the sport at that time.


Deal boatman Rob Abel talks to Jack Hargreaves

Jack Hargreaves managed to get the TV company involved in a boat fishing championship where Kent and Sussex clubs could send their champions to fish a couple of local heats (Deal and Newhaven) to find the champs to fish the final. Obviously these were televised to offset costs.

Although I was boat fishing at the time, I was never good enough to be club champion and represent my club. However, as a Deal boatman I was involved and did take some anglers out on one of the heats. As I have always taken the sport seriously, it would have been prestigious for me (as a boatman) to have got my crew through to the finals.


Jack Hargreaves chats to the President (Bill Peacock) and Chairman (Arthur Allsopp) of the Deal Angling Club (1919)

This was in the late 1960s when we did not have any electronics in our open boats. I took my anglers into the deep water off Kingsdown where we fished on a neap tide. We were catching in a steady stream and the bags were being filled. I must have been close to a wreck as one of the anglers hooked into a conger which I lost on the gaff. The angler (understandably) was not happy. However, I managed to land the next one and he came third in the tournament. It was an embarrassment for me and one I will never forget (still trying).


The weigh-in (where's Waldo ?)

Jack used the Deal Angling Club (1919) to set up the competition in this area. The officials and committee set up hiring the boats (when we had plenty at Deal), weighing the fish and recording the results - or basically organising the whole event.

So there you have it … another piece of local angling history.

Copyright © David Chamberlain 2016


Swinging the Lead

by David Chamberlain

A few years ago, when I was a charter boat skipper from Walmer beach, I used to grapnel around Deal Pier to clear and collect weights. Along with another crew man or two we would spend around three hours dragging and hauling.


Deal Pier from the sea

The weights would come up entangled in skeins of 50/60 lb monofilament. Even with the use of a hydraulic capstan it was hard work and put a lot of strain on the machinery and boat - plus the mess. It was also quite dangerous, as there were thousands of rusting hooks imbedded in the rubbish. Any skeins of monofilament that were too heavy or unmanageable were towed to my beach plot and pulled up the beach on the winch. Towing 50/60 feet of mono, leads and rubbish (sometimes thicker than a roll of carpet) put the boat at some risk; if it had fouled the prop then I would have had problems, big time.


The crew haul aboard a skein of mono

Once the garbage was offloaded from the boat to the beach it was left to my crew and me to cut away the decent weights. These normally comprised Geminis and Impacts. This would take a few days of back-breaking work and very sore hands, plus hook pricks. The remaining pile of mono then had to be disposed of, either by burning or by taking to the dump.


Another load comes over the side

In theory the salved weights should have been presented to the Receiver of Wreck, however … We then spent days going to the tackle shops selling our finds, usually £1 for three Geminis or Impacts. All in all, for the time and effort we put in, it was not really profitable but it kept me out of the pub.

The reason anglers lose more tackle today when fishing from the Pier than in 'the good old days' is because they use heavy leaders and thin main line. If an angler has a couple of crack-offs in the same vicinity it will (together) produce a snag with a breaking strain of about 120 lb. As the next set of gear gets entangled then that will be impossible to break out of it and will add to the obstruction … and so on.


Sorting through the rubish

The dilemma of snags on the seabed around Deal Pier is, and will be, a never ending problem. Even the Pier staff admit that they are never going to clear all of the snags; however, they, and Dover District Council are doing their best on behalf of the anglers. It should also be noted that they have jurisdiction of an area of 100 mts around the structure (as Dover Harbour has 1 nautical mile around their harbour walls). They occasionally arrange for a local boat to drag-up some the rubbish off the seabed.


"Dishonest Deal boatmen", Sam Lennon, Kent Online, March 2019

Events in Deal did not often attract national attention in Victorian times. Unfortunately when they did it was usually for the wrong reasons. In 1880 it was the massively corrupt by-election, which led to the constituency being disenfranchised.

Earlier, in the 1860s, it had been the discreditable behaviour of certain Deal boatmen, William Spears and William Middleton in particular. The 1860s were a relatively good time for the 400 or so Deal boatmen. It was a hard and dangerous occupation, but there could sometimes be large rewards.

The most celebrated bonanza came in 1866 when the Iron Crown, homeward bound from Shanghai with a valuable cargo, struck the Goodwin Sands. The ship was saved with the help of lifeboats, steam tugs from Ramsgate and the Deal 'South-end' lugger England's Glory. Sixty two local boatmen shared an award of £7,000. Among them were Spears and Middleton, part owners of the lugger. Perhaps the windfall encouraged them to chance their arm, to put it mildly, in search of further rewards.

Boatmen derived much of their income from rescue and salvage work and from supplying sails, anchors and chains to ships in the Downs. The way costs were calculated and claims settled left plenty of scope for sharp practice.

In January 1867 the owners of the American ship Kit Carson were comprehensively fleeced. Spears and Middleton (with Baker, a pilot) took the Antwerp-bound ship to an unsafe berth in the Downs, and played only a minor and rather ineffectual part in putting things right. Then followed grossly inflated claims for services rendered and for the supply of replacement anchors and superfluous new sails. Local arbitration failed to protect the interests of the owner and underwriters, on whom the preposterous costs were intended to fall. The captain, anxious to be on his way, joined in the scam. At the subsequent enquiry only one person who had been on the Kit Carson was reckoned to have given honest and trustworthy evidence - a Belgian pilot.

In a parallel case involving a second American ship, the Bazaar, "the discovery of the truth … was rendered impossible by the determined obstinacy of W Spears to remember any circumstances happening while he was on board the ship." But it took the case of the Olivia to bring Spears and Middleton down. Having persuaded the ship to anchor in the Downs they connived in - possibly caused - the parting of the anchor chain and the slipping of the cable, and persuaded the captain to falsify the log. In August 1868 Spears, Middleton and Baker were brought to trial at the Kent Summer Assizes on 18 counts of fraud. They were found guilty, and received six months' hard labour. The cases were extensively reported in The Times.

Set against the undoubted bravery of Deal boatmen in saving life "was the habit of demanding exorbitant sums for the slightest assistance in saving property". For the Solicitor-General it was a national disgrace: the facts of the Olivia case would "in great measure justify the character given by foreigners to the English coast".

The people of Deal, of course, were on the side of the boatmen. For the Mayor and Alderman Cavell, appearing at the trial as character witnesses, Spears and Middleton were honourable, upright and honest. How was their behaviour to be squared with this glowing testimonial ? In part perhaps because cheating far-distant owners and, especially, anonymous underwriters felt to them like a victimless crime. But there was more to it than that.

It was the constant complaint of boatmen at that time that, although they could be well rewarded for a successful salvage, there was no reward for saving a life. As the author of the official report on the Bazaar case explained: "If boatmen save a collier and its hands, at the risk of their own lives, they are very poorly paid." They therefore consider, he said, that when they render "little or no service to a large and valuable vessel they are to be overpaid to make up for the deficiencies in the former case". Fair's fair, in other words.

The two boatmen in the Olivia case met very different ends. Poor William Middleton was one of those who drowned when the lugger Reform sank in 1871. William Spears, in contrast, lived to be 83. "The hale and hearty appearance which characterised his personality to the last was not out of harmony with the more prosperous and adventurous days with which his memory will be associated". He left an estate worth over £1,600.


"Deal is a most villainous place", Kent Online, 10 March 2019

When William Cobbett visited Deal in 1823, he wrote:

""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. Every thing seems upon the perish. I was glad to hurry along through it, and leave its inns and public houses to be occupied by the tarred and blue-and-buff crew whose very vicinage (vicinity) I always detest.""

By 1834, the townsfolk of Deal wanted to start making an effort to prevent any further decay of the town. Pavement Commissioners' accounts showed Deal's general collapse into turmoil. Receipts showed that in 1815 they amounted to over £1,584, while in 1864 they reduced to £848. Some felt the government should help, while others believed that the Admiralty might be able to further develop the Naval Yard. But it soon became clear that it would be down to the townsfolk of Deal to prevent further decay.

As part of the improvements a Committee purchased and demolished all the houses on the eastern side of Beach Street that had existed between King Street and the mansion (later the Temperance Hotel). These houses were part of the estate of the See of Canterbury, and the Committee anticipated the archbishop would not oppose demolition.

It was soon proposed to form a building company to construct an esplanade of around 590 feet in length, that would be protected by a seawall topped with an iron fence.

The following year the Pavement Commissioners appointed an Improvements Committee chaired by Captain Edward Boys its chairman, who had originally suggested that a company should be established to furnish and improve the state of many of the dwellings around Deal, especially those properties that were situated on the seafront and were first to be seen by newly arriving visitors to the town approaching from the sea. Captain Boys proposed three improvements: Firstly from King Street to Broad Street, the second consisting of a parade immediately to the north of The Crown Inn, that was situated at the northern end of Beach Street, and thirdly the widening of the central part of Beach Street.

With these proposals adopted by the Commissioners it was necessary to raise a loan of £4,000, with £2,500 devoted to the south end improvement and £1,500 to the north. The Pavement Commissioners purchased these various properties and then demolished them to allow for the plan of road widening and improving the streets. However, they had no authority to use public money in building a seawall and instead issued an appeal for public subscriptions, which eventually raised £870. This led to the construction of the South Parade (Pier Parade) and the North Parade (Pilots Parade). The North Parade had not existed for many years because a shop stood directly opposite Broad Street and a capstan plot lay between that area and the property that was considered as the mansion.

In 1837, plans were envisaged to purchase the shop and the capstan plot to build a library, reading room and bath, until a private company opened the Adelaide Baths. In 1858, the same shop and capstan plot were purchased by the Commissioners and the parade continued to the garden wall of the mansion. It was not until 1892 that the Deal Corporation constructed the road and parade, which connect Pier Parade and Victoria Parade. It was at this time the capstan plot in front of the Timeball Tower was purchased and the bandstand was erected.

To widen the central part of Beach Street the Commissioners purchased and demolished the Rodney public house, close to the beach between Oak Street and Brewer Street. By 1912, Deal Town Council had purchased most of the properties along the seaward side of Beach Street in order to demolish them, and wanted to begin creating a long and open parade north of the Royal Hotel.

However, one of the properties situated along Beach Street had been subject to a lease, which resulted in a large amount of compensation being paid to surrender the lease. It was finally taken by jury under the provisions of the Deal Pavement Act 1812, with the jury hearing the arguments and evidence on behalf of the lessee and Corporation in 1913 at Deal Town Hall. As part of the improvements to this promenade there were two separate shrubberies built and laid, which each had low level hedges surrounded by ornate low level fencing and provided all round access for two glazed shelters with seating.


"The town and parish of Deal"
in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent (1800) Edward Hasted, Volume 10 at pages 1-23

The town and parish of Deal

THE PARISH OF DEAL, so early as the year 1229, anno 14 Henry III appears to have been esteemed within the liberty of the cinque ports, and annexed as a member of the port of Sandwich, and it was expressed to have been so in the general charters of the cinque ports time out of mind; nevertheless, in king Henry VI's time, there arose disputes concerning the assessing it to the general subsidy of the county at large upon which that king, as a mark of his favour to so thriving a town, determined the dispute by again annexing and confirming it by his letters patent, in his 16th year, to the jurisdiction of the cinque ports.

The borough of Deal was at that time governed by a deputy and assistants, nominated by the inhabitants of it, and appointed by the mayor and jurats of Sandwich, and it continued so till king William III's reign, when violent disputes arose between the inhabitants of Deal and the corporation of Sandwich, which in great measure originated from the former having grown wealthy by the resort of shipping to the Downs, in the wars of the preceding fifty years. They began to feel the inconvenience of resorting to Sandwich upon every trifling occasion for justice, which was heightened still more by their own importance. This produced a restlessness and impatience to cavil on every occasion, and they seized the opportunity of the mayor of Sandwich's having too violently pressed for a market, pursuant to the lords justices reviving an old statute for the payment of toll, &c. as the ground of petitioning for an exclusive charter of corporation, to render them independent of Sandwich; which, after much solicitation, a strenuous opposition being made to it by the latter, they at last obtained, in the year 1699, anno II king William III, on the 13th October, in which year the charter is dated.

By this charter, it was made a free town and borough of itself, and a body corporate and politic; and now by it consists of a mayor, twelve jurats, and a commonalty of twenty-four common-council, or freemen, together with a recorder and town clerk, two sergeants-at-mace, bearing silver maces, a clerk of the market, and other inferior officers. The mayor, who is coroner by virtue of his office, is elected annually on the first Tuesday in August. Those of the jurats, who are justices within this liberty, are so, exclusive of the justices of the county of Kent, and hold a court of general sessions of the peace and gaol delivery, together with a court of record. The corporation has liberty to purchase and possess lands in mortmain, of the clear yearly value of one hundred pounds, and it has other privileges, mostly the same as other corporations within the liberties of the cinque ports.

There is a market held in Deal on a Tuesday and Saturday, weekly, by the above-mentioned charter; but vegetables are very scarce here, being mostly brought from Sandwich; and a fair likewise twice in each year, now by the alteration of the stile on the 5th and 6th of April, and on the 11th and 12th of October, for cattle, goods, and merchandises, with a court of Pie Powder (French for a pedlar, pied puldreaux) during these markets and fairs.


These courts had unlimited jurisdiction over personal actions for events taking place in the market, including disputes between merchants, theft, and acts of violence. In the Middle Ages, there were many hundreds of such courts, and a small number continued to exist even into modern times. Sir William Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England in 1768 described them as "the lowest, and at the same time the most expeditious, court of justice known to the law of England".

The Court of pie powder eventually fell into disuse; the last one convened in 1858. The court of pie powder was officially abolished by the Courts of Justice Act 1971.

A pie powder court was held in front of the mayor and bailiffs of the borough (or the steward, if the market or fair was held by a lord). The number of justiciars often varied but was usually limited to three or four men. Punishments typically included fines and the possibility of being held in a pillory or being drawn in a tumbrel (a two-wheeled cart) in order to humiliate the offender. More serious crimes would often be reserved for the royal justices, but sometimes the jurisdiction was still held by a pie powder court.

When the time came for the trial, both parties would be summoned; typically, the defendants would be summoned an hour earlier. Here, the burden of proof was on the plaintiff with documents and witnesses often being provided as evidence. After the plaintiff made his case, the defendant then had the right to respond to the accusation and counter with evidence of his own. This method of proof was actually rather advanced for its time. When it came to evidence in other European courts, things such as compurgation (taking an oath over your stance and getting around twelve others to swear that they believe you) were still used in many cases.

Trials at courts of pie powders were short, quick and informal. In 12th century England a decision had to be made within a day and a half (before the third tide) of the accusation. If the court ruled against the defendant and the defendant could not pay the decided amount, his property could be seized, appraised, and sold to cover the costs.

Courts of pie powders existed because of the necessity for speedy justice over people who were not permanent residents of the place where the market was held. By the seventeenth century, most of their powers had effectively been transferred to the regular court system, for practical reasons rather than as a result of legislation, the standard district courts being well established. The most recent sitting of a pie powder court was in 1898, in Hemel Hempstead.

The last "active" court of pie powders, at the Stag and Hounds public house in Bristol, was abolished by the Courts of Justice Act 1971. It had not actually sat since 1870, but a proclamation was still read in the marketplace each year. All other courts had their jurisdiction removed by the Administration of Justice Act 1977, though they may technically continue to exist even in the absence of officers, cases, or premises.

There is no one standard spelling of "pie powder": the most common variant is perhaps "pie poudre" (as in Bristol). In the past, variations included "pipoulder" in the sixteenth century, "pepowder" in the fifteenth, and "pipoudre" in the fourteenth. "Pie powder" is a modern respelling of the term based on more familiar English words. Originally, it referred to the dusty feet (in French, pieds poudr├ęs) of travellers and vagabonds, and was only later applied to the courts who might have dealings with such people. Also, since the members of courts of "pie powder", weren't sitting on a bench, but walking around in fairs, they would often get their feet dusty. This can be another explanation of the name, that is given by some common law history teachers. In modern French, the word pied-poudreux is still occasionally used for travelling beggars; it occurs, for example, in the works of Victor Hugo. Another literary reference is Ben Jonson's Bartholomew Fair, in which Justice Adam Overdo patrols the fair in disguise, saying (Act 2, Scene 1):

"Many are the yeerly enormities [crimes] of this Fayre, in whose Courts of Pye-pouldres I have had the honour during the three dayes sometimes to sit as Judge."

And finally … St Leonard's, the parish church of Deal, is dedicated to St Leonard of Limoges, an Abbot who lived in France during the 6th century, who is the patron saint of prisoners.


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