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Broadstairs Interesting Facts



Did you know?

• The town was originally called 'Bradstowe' (sometimes spelt ‘Bradstow')

• North Foreland Lighthouse was the last manned lighthouse in the country. It was automated in 1998. The lighthouse inspired the author Wilkie Collins’ famous novel The Woman in White (1859).

• The large dome ‘beehive’ at Crampton Tower Museum has an amazing echo and was used, along with the Tower, as an Air Raid Precautions (ARP) centre during WWII. Thomas Russell Crampton (1816-1888), the Victorian inventor and engineer, was born in Broadstairs and brought gas and water works to the town.

• St. Peter’s church tower was used as a signalling station by the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic wars. The church still claims the right to fly the White Ensign.

• Viking Bay served as a training ground for British troops, stationed in Chandos Square, during the Napoleonic Wars.

• St. Peter’s churchyard is one of the longest in the country and the largest “Closed Churchyard” in England.

• Broadstairs gained the first lifeboat to be stationed on the south coast in 1850. One year later it carried out a rescue from the Goodwin Sands.

Joss Snelling (1741-1837), known as ‘The Famous Broadstairs Smuggler’ and head of the Callis Court Gang was born in Lanthorn Road. The lifestyle must have suited him as it is recorded he was fined £100 for smuggling when he was 89 years old. It is said that he is named after Joss Bay, now a popular beach for surfing and stand-up paddle-boarding.

Broadstairs Dickens Festival started in 1937 and takes place in June each year.

• Broadstairs has seven beautiful beaches and bays, three with Blue Flag Awards and one with a Seaside Award.

Morelli’s, in Victoria Parade, is a coffee bar and ice cream cafe preserved almost unaltered since its refurbishment in 1957. It’s one of very few original 1950s coffee bars left in the country and has been described by one enthusiast as ‘a symphony of Formica, vinyl and lino’. Morelli’s opened at this location in 1932.

• In 1827, the widowed Duchess of Kent and her young daughter Victoria lived at Pierremont Hall for three months. The house belonged to Edward Fletcher who rented it to the Duchess for 25 guineas per week. This was just one of many visits to different parts of the Isle of Thanet before 18-year-old Victoria became Queen in 1837.

• Charles Dickens loved to holiday in the town and declared, ‘You cannot think how delightful and fresh the place is and how good the walks’. He got inspiration for his books here

Kingsgate Bay was originally called “St Bartholomew’s Gate” until King Charles II landed here and ordered that the name be changed

• York Gate is a pointed arch in Harbour Street. It was built in 1540 with 2 wooden doors to protect the town from attack by the sea.

Louisa Bay was originally called ‘Goodstone Steps’. Thomas Russell Crampton built a lattice-work bridge across the gap here and it was renamed ‘Louisa Bay’ after one of his family members

Viking Bay was renamed in 1949 after the commemorative landing of the Viking Ship ‘Hugin, marking 1500 years since the landing of Hengist and Horsa. The ship can be seen on the clifftops above Pegwell Bay in Ramsgate Viking Bay was actually the training ground of the British Olympians for the 1924 Paris Olympics. (A very famous storyline depicted in the film ‘Chariots of Fire’)