However the sand got into Sandwich, it did Deal a big favour. As the Cinque Port’s harbour silted up from about 1500, the merchant ships out in the downs, protected by those hidden shallows from the Channel’s full fury, began to offload their cargo into small boats called hoys that came out from Deal. A new town was the result, expanding until about 1860, by which time bigger ships had forced trade away and the Royal Navy depot was closed. Although there was a flurry in the 1920s, when they started to mine coal at Betteshanger, nothing much has happened since, with the result that what is left is as if pickled.
The beach front, Middle Street and the High Street and the small streets and alleys that run between them are a kind of zoo of domestic architectural and decorative styles, with houses grand and not so grand from about 1600 onwards.