Deal, Kent: these streets have tales to tell

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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

Tom Dy­ck­hoff

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