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Walmer's Past
Important dates: Walmer and Deal
The following list is believed to be accurate, although it is by no means complete! If you spot anything that needs correcting or ought to be added, please contact us.

55BC (August 27) Julius Caesar and his legions first landed in England on Walmer beach. A combination of storms, damaged ships and lost supplies and reinforcements meant that it amounted to little more than a reconnaissance mission with Caesar forced to return to the continent within a few weeks.

54BC (July 6-7) Second invasion by Julius Caesar, landing between Deal and Sandwich with five legions and 2,000 cavalry. They got as far as (today's) London but trouble on the continent forced Caesar and his troops to leave England in mid-September. Further invasion and incorporation of Britain into the Roman Empire had to wait until the time of Emperor Claudius.

circa 1100 Founding of Old St. Mary's Church, Church Street, Upper Walmer.

1540 Construction of Deal, Walmer and Sandown Castles - built as coastal defences by Henry VIII.

1648 (July 12) In the aftermath of the English Civil War, Oliver Cromwell's parliamentary forces, under Colonel Rich, took Walmer Castle from occupying Kentish royalists. On August 25, Deal Castle royalists surrendered and on September 5 so did those at Sandown Castle.

1699 (October 13) King William III signed the Charter of Incorporation giving Deal the status of 'A Borough and Market Town'.

17th Century to early 19th Century Deal port becomes one of the four most prominent seaports in the country. Today, it remains a "limb" of the Cinque Ports.

1708 Walmer Castle becomes the official residence of the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports.

1792 - 1806 William Pitt the Younger serves as Lord Warden. His niece Lady Hester Stanhope creates the Castle gardens.

1794 Building of Walmer Barracks. A Royal Naval Hospital was added in 1800-12. The buildings later housed the Royal Marines School of Music (see 1930).  

1801 Lord Nelson and his mistress Lady Hamilton stay at Royal Hotel, Deal.

1816 Acquisition of an ancient (probably Tudor) small brewery at Upper Walmer by Edmund Thompson. He operated it as Thompson & Sons - until 1867 when John Matthews bought the business and greatly expanded it under the banner of "The Thompson Brewery". Production ceased in 1974 and it was demolished in 1981 for the Downlands housing development.

1829 - 1852 The Duke of Wellington holds the post of Lord Warden. The "Iron Duke" as he was known died whilst in residence at the Castle on 14 September 1852.

1835 Formation, under the Municipal Act, of Deal Borough - a local authority with a mayor, six aldermen and eighteen councillors.

1847 Railway link to Deal opens.

1856 Establishment of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) lifeboat station on Walmer Green.

1875 Fleeing from persecution in Poland and Germany, the Convent of the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary relocated at the Roselands estate, Walmer. The Convent left Walmer in 1971 and of the various buildings built by the Order only the distinctive Gothic Chapel of the Sacred Heart, designed by Pugin in 1890, remains.

1878 (October 24) The Walmer Tornado - recorded to be between 450 and 700 feet across and travelling at 20mph.

1881 Completion of railway line from Deal to Dover, followed by opening of Walmer Station.

1883 Foundation of the Walmer Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on The Green Park garden area at Archery Square, Walmer.

1904 Baptist Church established on Dover Road, Walmer.

1905 (March) Formation of the Deal, Walmer and District Motor Omnibus Company to provide motorised public transport in the local area.

circa 1914 Establishment of World War I airfield at Hawkshill chalkdown, on the southern outskirts of Walmer. The area is now a public common owned and maintained by Walmer Parish Council.

1927 Purchase of land to create the Marke Wood recreation ground, Dover Road, Walmer.

1930 Establishment of the Royal Naval School of Music at Walmer. Renamed the Royal Marines School of Music in 1950.

1940 (January) Deal Pier accidentally demolished by torpedoed Dutch merchant ship, The Nora.

1940 (May) The Walmer lifeboat Charles Dibdin is one of 19 lifeboats taking part in evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk.

1941 Sir Winston Churchill appointed Lord Warden. He never resided at Walmer Castle though.

1942 (October 22) 16 Deal residents killed in one of the worst air raids of World War II.

1945 (May 8) Declaration of end of war in Europe and local VE Day celebrations.

1957 Re-built Deal Pier opened.

1974 Deal Rural Borough Council absorbed into the wider Dover District Council.

1978 An easterly gale and high spring tide combined to cause serious flooding and damage to sea-front houses and nearby streets in north Deal. The Sandown Castle public house was badly affected and had to be demolished.

1989 Eleven Royal Marines musicians killed by an IRA bomb attack at their Barracks.

1993 (September 19) Dedication Ceremony for the new Memorial Bandstand on Walmer Green.

1996 (March) Closure of the Marines Barracks, Walmer.

1996 Deal Town Council and Walmer Parish Council established as minor local authorities.

1997 Creation of a new garden at Walmer Castle for HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, the then Lord Warden, to celebrate her 95th birthday.

2002 Creation by local volunteers of a mosaic wall at Walmer Green to mark HM Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee.

2008 (Friday, 21 November) New cafe restaurant opened at head of Deal Pier.

2009 (Sunday, 12 July) Parade by The Royal Marines Band and concert at the Memorial Bandstand on Walmer Green to mark the 20th anniversary of the IRA bombing of the former School of Music.

2013 Deal town centre wins the title of Daily Telegraph High Street of the Year.

2014 (Sunday, 13 July) Parade and concert by the Royal Marines Bands Portsmouth and Collingwood at the Memorial Bandstand on Walmer Green to mark the 25th anniversary of the IRA bombing of the former School of Music.


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