Deal, Kent: these streets have tales to tell
What’s going for it? In his fierce part-memoir of Kentish oddballs, All The Devils Are Here, David Seabrook describes Charles Hawtrey in his dissolute dotage – during the long years after Carry On – living on Middle Street in old-town Deal, but “banned from nearly every pub... Reeling round town like an old wasted weasel turfed out of Toad Hall.” Deal is that kind of place, as racy, posh, cultured and seedy as Brighton at its best, only stuck out on the fat belly of Kent as far as possible from anywhere but Calais, without the hordes. “A villainous place... full of filthy people,” said professional Grinch William Cobbett. What better recommendation? Recent years have brought the inevitable artists and gentrifiers, with their Scandi-chic, fussiness about coffee and disdain for Harvesters. Perhaps they see in Deal the charm of times passed, without all the rickets and miseries that Seabrook still spied down its alleyways. But Deal can absorb such newcomers. It’s seen it all before. It has history. Three Tudor castles, Royal Marine barracks, Julius Caesar, sailors, coalminers, IRA bombs, Charles Hawtrey. Oh, yes, these streets have tales to tell.
The case against I see nothing. It’s a touch out on its own, and the local jobs scene is limited. Not everyone will like its bawdiness, raffishness and occasional tawdriness. Well connected? Trains: to Margate (29 mins), Whitstable (49 mins) and Rochester (88 mins) one way; and Dover (16 mins), Folkestone (27 mins) and Ashford (43 mins) the other; the fastest to London St Pancras is 1hr 23 mins. Driving: 30-45 mins to Ramsgate, Margate and the Isle of Thanet, 45 mins to Canterbury, 20 mins to Dover and the A2.
Schools Primaries: Sandown, Sholden CofE, Hornbeam, St Mary’s Catholic, Deal Parochial CofE and the Downs CofE are all “good”, Ofsted says, with Warden House and Kingsdown & Ringwould CofE “outstanding”. Secondaries: the town’s new Goodwin Academy has not been inspected yet.
Hang out at… Frog and Scot is the justly lauded culinary queen round here. The Rose is the new kid on the block. The Black Douglas cafe, on the seafront, for brunch/lunch.
Where to buy The old town of narrow streets and whitewashed cottages off Middle Street, and its higgledy-piggledy seafront Beach Street; it’s hushed and delightful. There’s a fine selection of Victorians and Edwardians surrounding it – especially around Victoria Park – and south to the plusher, posher, tawdryfree Walmer. Large detacheds and townhouses, £500,000-£1.4m. Detacheds and smaller townhouses, £275,000-£500,000. Semis, £200,000-£450,000. Terraces and cottages, £200,000-£400,000. Flats, £120,000-£450,000. Rentals: a one-bedroom flat, £600-£700pcm; a three-bedroom house, £750-£1,300pcm.
Bargain of the week Three-bedroom Victorian terrace south of the centre, but near the sea. In need of serious modernisation; £245,000, with jenkinsonestates.co.uk