50 Objects

To mark our 50th anniversary, we have chosen 50 objects from our collection that have a story to tell.
50 objects in Deal Museum is now published as a book, with an introduction by Gavin Esler, priced £15.

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Silver medal presented in 1911 to Fireman F. Finnis for long service. He had been a Deal fireman for 31 years from 1880.


Wooden police truncheon issued in 1914 to Mr F Cavell for use as Special Constable in the First World War, 1914-18. Decorated with the town arms.


Nicholas Carter letter to Elizabeth Carter

Nicholas Carter MA was Perpetual Curate of St George the Martyr Chapel from 1718 until his death in 1774.
Known for his sermons and strong views, he was sometimes at odds with the Corporation of Deal. Written in 1759 by Nicholas to his eldest daughter Elizabeth Carter, it is one of two we have in our collection. It refers to his son Henry, ordained in 1762, who Elizabeth had helped to educate. Nicholas was also the Rector of Ham and Woodchurch. The letter tells of financial concerns, raised by Henry, over John Halcombe, then curate of Woodchurch.


Deal Banknotes, Issued by Deal Commercial Bank, 1837

Deal Five Pound banknotes, issued 1837.
In 1808 William Hulke (Snr), John Sampson, John Hollams and John Iggulden established a bank which traded under the name of Hulke & Company. William Hulke, or his son, William Hulke (Jnr), later bought out the other partners. The bank became Hulke & Son, known as Deal Commercial Bank, which issued its own banknotes. It’s not known where in Deal they were located. They were taken over by National Provincial Bank, in existence from 1833 until 1970, when it was amalgamated into today’s Natwest Bank.


Lauderdale boat board

These beautiful and highly unusual items were decorative stern boards from the fleet of ships owned by Captain John Willis, owner of the Cutty Sark, given to the Museum by Mrs Kirkaldie, Captain Willis’ daughter-in-law after being found locally. No similar boards are known of in Europe.
The Lauderdale was built at Rotherhithe in 1858 by Bilbe & Perry.
A composite ship (timber hull on an iron frame) of 851 tons, she was 187 feet long. Under the command of Captain True, she made a voyage of 156 days from Shanghai to Deal. On a voyage between Nagasaki and Shanghai, she went missing.
The White Adder, sister ship to the Black Adder, was built in 1862, also by Bilbe in London. Under Captain Bowers, she was fourth out of 15 ships competing in the 1863 tea race. Under the command of Captain Moore , who was later to command the Cutty Sark, in 1868 she made a voyage from Shanghai to London in 116 days, her best time.
Later she took 154 days for the voyage, but the Cutty Sark, which had left port 58 days later, arrived in 100 days. The White Adder was reduced to a barque rig in 1876 before finally being broken up nine years later.
Both John and his father, John ‘“Old Stormy” Willis, who founded the company, were born in Berwickshire. That county’s coat of arms features a bear tethered to a wych elm tree, a pun on Berwick (be+ wych), which may explain the bears that grace these boards.

Whiteadder boat board


This board comes from the Sabrina, the first Kingsdown lifeboat.
Its coxswain, Jarvist Arnold, was a lifeboat man for 20 years, responsible for saving more than 100 people from the sea.
Among Sabrina’s rescues were of the Glendura (the first on the board’s list, 1870), and the SS Sorrento (1872), in which 31 lives were saved. The latter was documented in the book The Heroes of the Goodwin Sands.

For twelve years from 1870, Jarvist Arnold was landlord of Kingsdown’s pub, the Zetland, whilst saving lives on the Goodwin Sands.
Jarvist’s death was recorded as far away as Australia, such was his fame.
Local children used to sing this song:

“God bless the lifeboat and its crew,
Its coxswain stout and bold,
And Jarvist Arnold is his name,
Sprung from the Vikings old”

The lifeboat board of the Sabrina


A dish to be returned to F. Lass, 84 High Street, Deal.

The Lass family ran and owned a bakery at 84 High Street, established by Frederick Lass’s father in 1851. The bakery sold bread, cakes, pastries and confectionery in the shop and catered for weddings, balls and private parties.
Later, Frederick expanded the business to provide a tea room.
They produced ready-made pies, selling them in returnable dishes. (Above)


Bristow Family Notebook

This small notebook is part of our Bristow Family Collection. Dating from around 1799, when mast and block maker John Bristow married Elizabeth Petty, it contains a treasure trove of family, business and local information. There are lists of John’s tools, food for the family pigs, family shoes purchased and repaired, groceries ‘had of Mr Milgate’, Collier boats on the beach and the loss of local vessels and men.
On September 15th 1803, he wrote ‘The Deal Gun Boats Fired of(f)’. The Kentish Weekly Post describes the assembling of these boats “with their cannonades” in preparation for attacking and repulsing the French.
In the back of the book John Bristow has written:

“Two hearts I have instead of one
and is not that a wonder
that I should have a heart of yours
and we are so far asunder”


Judge Bruce Charles’ gloves

Three pairs of High Court Judge’s gloves, unworn, former property of Sir E Bruce Charles CBE (1871 ~ 1950)
Two pairs with gold tassel trim, one pair with gold ribbon trim. 
Sir Charles lived in Bruce House, Beach Street. (Look for the blue plaque).
The Charles Road Football Ground is named in his honour, as are Charles Road and nearby Bruce Close.
A benefactor to the town, Judge Bruce Charles was the first President of The Deal Protection Society.