News 2019

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320th anniversary of Dexit

"The town and parish of Deal", 13th October 1699-2019

"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 …"

Lower deck closed for a week from Monday

Dover District Council, 15th March 2019

The council informs us that the lower deck will be closed to the public for a week from Monday to allow TMS an opportunity to complete their works.

Anglers are strongly advised to call the Pier Attendant (01304 363185) on Friday 22nd March for news regarding progress of these works, access to the lower deck and any other fishing restrictions.

2019 Pier Midnight Fishing Dates

Dover District Council, 1st March 2019

A weekend in … Deal

Gemma Bowes The Times, 15th February 2019

Poor old Deal. The seaside town in Kent has been left in the shade of late as the art and vintage of Margate, the cutesy nostalgia of Broadstairs and the food and beach huts of Whitstable steal the show.

Not any more. The opening of the Rose, a trendy boutique hotel, has put the sweet little fishing town on the map, bringing a cavalcade of style-seekers and foodies to poke about the galleries and cool homeware shops that have been quietly multiplying over the past five years.

Yet as soon as I drive in, along a rolling sylvan lane, I have to wonder why we haven't all been coming here for years. Pretty streets of tipsily leaning, Georgian terraced townhouses and fishermen's cottages, the Tudor artillery castle and that sparkling sea - surely this is the loveliest resort on the Kent coast?

We arrive in time for dinner on Friday in the converted pub's packed restaurant, where Rachel O'Sullivan, the Polpo alumna who launched London's Spuntino with Russell Norman, is at the helm. Hers is a subtly interesting menu that does not cling desperately to locality and seasonality, but leans that way. Even grilled courgettes with cheese are terrific; there's a Tracey Emin on the wall and schnitzel on the children's menu.

"I wanted the hotel to be fun and punchy; a look you wouldn't have at home, but is fun to be in," says the owner Alex Bagner, who runs the hotel with her husband, Chris Hicks, whose family hail from the town. Wes Anderson-colour combinations, vintage furniture and fun touches such as record players in the rooms have been pulled together by the interior designers Michelle Kelly and Nicola Harding for a very 'now' look.

Modern art includes a fantastic painting of a whale by the local artist Edward Bridges and pieces from the Carl Freedman Gallery, which recently relocated to Margate from Shoreditch in London. Clever bargain hunting and upcycling are evident: a G Plan dining table bought on eBay for £9 was laminated a fabulous ochre by car mechanics. With toddlers in tow, dinner is as far as our Friday night goes, and there's something sorrowful about my lack of a hangover the next day, considering that a good night out could certainly be found. Smugglers Records has craft beer and DJs on Friday and Saturday evenings; Le Pinardier wine bar hosts live acoustic sets; and a town built on ill-gotten gains will always have plenty of pubs for clandestine encounters. The Ship Inn, traditional and dark, is full of nautical memorabilia, including a poster listing the sale of spoils from a wreck in 1817: "Cavalry saddles, pieces of barbozettes, firkins of butter."

Deal's maritime past sits close to the surface here, not buried beneath layers of touristy razzmatazz as in other seaside resorts. Much of this is revealed on a coastal walking tour with Will Thomson, whose jolly 'tide walks' teach the public about the ebb and flow along our coasts. He leads us down the steep shingle, pointing beyond the unusually brutalist pier, which is undergoing a £500,000 refurbishment. A seal pops up its head. A Spitfire whirls overhead. Out there, more than 2,000 ships came a cropper on the notorious Goodwin Sands, submerged sandbanks a little way offshore, he says. Wrecks appear now and then, when the sands shift, and treasure hunters must dive on them fast before any valuables are reburied and lost once more.

Sheltered anchorages between the sandbars and the land helped to make Deal one of the busiest ports in England by the 16th century and a haven for smugglers. Returning from France, they would drag their shallow boats across the sands to escape customs officials in bigger vessels, which couldn't follow.

I had expected a nerdy cagoule-wearing Nicholas Crane-alike, but surfer Will is typical of the new face of Deal: young, inventive, alternative. Enlightened too - he's building a catamaran with a plan to sail the globe, investigating climate change solutions, with his artist wife and their tots.

Deal seems to rear, or attract, these kinds of entrepreneurial bohemians, who mix in with the DFLs (down from London), the creative aristocrats, fishermen, theatre folk and Royal Marines to form an interesting population. And the town is freighted with history, from Julius Cæsar's landing at Walmer in 55BC to the Carry On actor Charles Hawtrey, who was known for his drinking during his retirement here. Descendants of another infamous local character, Oscar Wilde's boyfriend Lord Alfred Douglas, run the Black Douglas coffee house on the seafront.

We find time over the weekend for the Saturday market and the braderie - an annual street fair. At Henry VIII's Walmer Castle, whose circular keep and half-moon bastions were the latest thing when it was built to defend against invasion by Catholic powers in 1539, we admire Wellington's boots. The charming Deal Maritime Museum has boats more than a century old and a sunny boatyard perfect for a quiet cuppa, while the funky Popup Café's "kim-cheese" toasties and vegan brunch are just the ticket after all the salty air. We skip the renowned modern French bistro dinners at Frog and Scot, fine Italian at Salentino's and the quirky menu at Victuals & Co, and plump instead for the popular Middle Street chippy, eating fish and chips on benches looking out at black waves beneath a full moon.

That sea keeps calling us back, and the last of the autumn sunshine urges us towards the beach. We like it best at Kingsdown, the next village south after Walmer and many grand Edwardian villas. Elated after a surprisingly warm dip, we spy the Zetland Arms and amble across the shingle, past colourful beach huts, to the cosy, shabby-chic pub. We decide that if there's more than a ten-minute wait for food, we'll move on. I go to order the fish chowder. An hour, they say. I look around at the smiling families enjoying what is clearly their favourite local, all the Kentish ales on tap, my kids playing on the beach by the pub benches. "No problem," I reply.

On Saturday night I duck out of bedtime duties to join a sea-shanty session at the Saracen's Head pub. White-haired folk sit, heads down, singing softly of ports, drowned sailors and lost loves. One man turns to me in tears. "My grandfather was a sailor, snatched from school to work on boats aged 13. He knew lots of boys who drowned. That's why these songs mean so much," he says. Call me maudlin, but this is exactly the sort of thing I want from a weekend by the sea.

Need to know: Gemma Bowes was a guest of the Rose, which has B&B doubles from £90 a night (01304 389127).

Lower deck partial reopening

Dover District Council, 16th February 2019

The council informs us that the lower deck has partially reopened but will close again in a fortnight's time when a start on the concrete repairs will be made.

Anglers can expect further closures for the foreseeable future and are strongly advised to call the Pier Attendant (01304 363185) for the latest news regarding access and fishing restrictions.

Deal one of the six best UK towns for spring breaks

Jane Dunford and Sarah Baxter, The Guardian, 4th February 2019

From Bath to Belfast, these destinations are all compact enough for a short break yet packed with culture, shopping and great food …

Deal, Kent

This seaside town is perfect in spring, with good restaurants, cool shopping, a smattering of galleries and flower-filled walks on the doorstep.

Meander down the Georgian lanes to a high street crammed with shops like the Hoxton Store, for eclectic homeware and fashion, and J Cosmo for retro-style clothes. Galleries include Taylor-Jones & Son and nearby Will & Yates. For foodies, there's a Saturday market with wine tasting and good bakeries, and the Wild Kitchen runs seashore foraging days, followed by feasting and cocktails (£75). On the Pier, the Deal Pier Kitchen has opened, serving breakfast and lunch with views over the ocean, or eat French bistro-style at the Frog and Scot.

Walk west along the coast from Deal towards Kingsdown and onto the cliffs beyond, or join local William Thomson for a tide walk. Down the road, the gardens of Walmer Castle are magnificently flowery in spring. For family fun, nearby Betteshanger park has everything from cycling trails to geocaching, and Kent Mining Museum opens in March.

Book it - The Rose has doubles from £100 B&B.

Lower deck closed again

Dover District Council, 6th February 2019

We understand that the lower deck has been closed again - this time for a period of two weeks - with a partial reopening scheduled for Friday, 15th February.

As the council has not confirmed this closure, if you are planning a trip to Deal to fish from the Pier you should first call the Pier Attendant (01304 363185) for the latest news regarding access and fishing restrictions.

Lower deck partial reopening

Dover District Council, 28th January 2019

We understand that the council has reopened the north-facing (Ramsgate) wing of the lower deck but no formal confirmation or notice to that effect has been received. Since

anglers can expect further disruption and unannounced closures for the foreseeable future.

Accordingly, if you are planning a trip to Deal to fish from the Pier you should first call the Pier Attendant (01304 363185) for the latest news regarding access and fishing restrictions.

On Monday, 28th January 2019 the council informed us as follows:

"Last Friday we made the decision to open up the north and south decks that have now had all the grilles installed. I had to make this choice because the contractor has had to leave site for a further two weeks until all the other grilles are fabricated for the triangular areas around the cabins. The contractor has fenced off to make safe and this does still mean there is no access to the cabins, but further space to fish off the lower deck. The contractor is due back on the 4th February when we will need to close for a further two weeks to completely finish off and open up again."

Phase two of renovation of Deal Pier

KentOnline Friday, 1st February 2019

New lighting and a range of refurbishments are set to feature in the second phase of renovations for Deal Pier. The new £600,000 investment will include:

Dover District Council will discuss the works at its meeting next Monday morning. The second phase is set to take place during the financial year 2019/20. Work already completed under the first phase includes:

Repairs to the lower deck are also nearing completion.

The new café restaurant Deal Pier Kitchen also opened on January 4.

The first £500,000 phase of refurbishment works was announced in 2018, following the celebration of Deal Pier's Diamond Anniversary in November 2017. Cllr Trevor Bartlett, DDC cabinet member for corporate assets said:

"Deal Pier is the jewel in the crown of Deal Seafront, and is a popular site for local people and visitors. We are delighted to invest in upgrading this fantastic amenity, to provide an enhanced visitor experience, and to make it fit for the next 60 years."

For more information, please see report to Cabinet on the DDC website, or for more details on Deal Pier, please see the council's Deal Pier page.

Meet the creators of Deal Pier Kitchen

Deal Community Ad Magazine, 27th January 2019

Meet the team behind Deal Pier Kitchen

Deal Pier Kitchen

Deal Pier Kitchen, 2nd January 2019

… will open its doors every day from 9am until 5pm as of Friday 4th January.

Deal: Popular pier café reopens with new look and managers as part of £500,000 refurbishment scheme.

Kent Online, Friday 4th January 2019

A popular café at the end of Deal Pier was re-opened today with a new look and management team. The Deal Pier Kitchen has been completely overhauled as part of the council's £500,000 refurbishment of the Pier on which it sits. The unit closed on 31st December 2017 after former occupant Jasin Kaplan's lease was terminated by mutual agreement with Dover District Council.

Council chairman Cllr Sue Chandler cutting the ribbon alongside Cllr Trevor Bartlet (right), Tim Biggs (centre left) and Rebecca Hodson (left)

Not only has the interior been modernised, but the previous leaseholders have been replaced with two new managers, Tim Biggs and Rebecca Hodson. Speaking at the opening, 27-year-old Ms Hodson said:

"We're absolutely ecstatic to finally be open and operational. It's a beautiful town and I've got to spend a huge amount of time here while improvement work was underway. We feel so lucky and immensely grateful to have won the lease and we're excited to see how it goes. The people in the town are great and it's lovely welcoming them through our doors."

Chairman of Dover District Council Cllr Sue Chandler cut the ribbon on the new eatery, which features in the Deal-based ITV drama series Liar. The councillor said:

"This is a special opening for us as the council owns the Pier and it's a key part of our refurbishment plan. It's also great to see two younger people decide to take on this exciting venture."

Having first pitched for the lease in May, the new managers will be working closely with the council over the course of their 20-year lease. Cllr Trevor Bartlett, portfolio holder for property management and environmental health, has played an integral role in the renovations and attended the opening. Speaking about the café, he said:"

"It's absolutely lovely. It's an iconic building and we felt that we wanted it to lend an essence to that and capture the lovely Pier itself. We interviewed Tim and Rebecca and we were so impressed with their enthusiasm. They came along for the interview and brought along some wonderful samples of their food. That didn't sway us but it was lovely having to try all the food. Other people did that as well but there was something about Tim and Rebecca. It was their enthusiasm and you could just sense that from them, that they were really keen and wanted to run this Pier. It's taken maybe a little while longer than we wanted. We had issues with the previous owners and it wasn't just a straight forward process of them just leaving and Tim and Rebecca coming in, but we are where we are and today is the official opening so we're now just looking forward."

Owners, Rebecca Hodson and Tim Biggs with their team at the opening of their new business - Deal Pier Kitchen café - at the end of Deal Pier

The venue - which will be open daily from 9am to 5pm - is dog-friendly and offers a wide range of drinks and brunch options. All of the 300m Pier's seating was replaced ahead of Christmas as part of the council's £500,000 renovation scheme, which was announced on the structure's Diamond Anniversary in 2017. The project was completed ahead of schedule by Walmer-based contractors, Hipperson.