Broadstairs History (Thanet)

«August 01, 2023»

Taken next to Suzannes and The Albion Hotel, late 1940s.

Created in 2013 with nearly 7000 Facebook followers today, the Broadstairs History page shares photos and memories of this Kent seaside town. Broadstairs, along with its neighbours Margate and Ramsgate, thrived in the late Georgian and Victorian period. This was due to the popularity of sea-bathing, which became more accessible with the introduction of rail links. Broadstairs is home to seven stunning bays, four conservation areas, five areas of high townscape value, and approaching two hundred listed buildings. This has earned it the reputation of "the jewel in Thanet's crown".

There are many events taking place throughout the year in Broadstairs, including:

  • The Dickens Festival in June, which celebrates the life and work of Charles Dickens, who lived in Broadstairs for a time.
  • Sea Sunday in July, a Christian celebration of the sea.
  • Broadstairs Folk Week in August, a week of folk music and dance.
  • The Food Festival in October, a celebration of local food and drink.
  • The November 5th Family Fireworks Event, a fireworks display to mark Guy Fawkes Night.

St Peter's Parish church dates back to the 11th century. York Gate in Harbour Street next to Viking Bay was built in the 16th century to protect the town, and restored in the 18th century to prevent the French from invading during the Napoleonic wars.

Many underground tunnels exist from times when smugglers operated quite openly in Broadstairs and surrounding areas. One famous (or infamous) character was Joss Snelling who lived in Lanthorne Road.

During the summer months (May through to September), a tour of St Peters Village transports you back in time to see what happened centuries ago. Other guided tours from the same venue include The Churchyard Tour and War Grave Tours of the two World Wars.

Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens, the famous author and writer, loved Broadstairs and visited it on many occasions. He even referred to it as "our English watering place". There are many places in Broadstairs that have links to Dickens, including:

  • Dickens House Museum: This museum is located in a house that once belonged to Mary Pearson Strong, a woman who Dickens is thought to have based his character Betsey Trotwood from David Copperfield on.
  • Bleak House: This house is now privately owned and not usually open to the public, but it was once the inspiration for Dickens' novel of the same name.
  • Dickens Festival: This annual festival takes place in June and celebrates the life and work of Charles Dickens. There are a variety of events taking place during the festival, including readings, performances, and exhibitions.

If you are a fan of Charles Dickens, then Broadstairs is a great place to visit. There are many places to learn about his life and work, and you can even follow in his footsteps by visiting some of his favourite spots.

For regular updates on the history of Broadstairs, you can follow the Broadstairs History Facebook page here.

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