1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Broadstairs

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BROADSTAIRS, a watering-place, in the Isle of Thanet parliamentary division of Kent, England, 3 m. S.E. of Margate, on the South-Eastern & Chatham railway. Pop. of urban district, Broadstairs and St Peter's (1901) 6466. From 1837 to 1851 Broadstairs was a favourite summer resort of Charles Dickens, who, in a sketch called "Our English Watering-Place," described it as a place "left high and dry by the tide of years." This seaside village, with its "semicircular sweep of houses," grew into a considerable town owing to the influx of summer visitors, for whose entertainment there are, besides the "Albion" mentioned by Dickens, numerous hotels and boarding-houses, libraries, a bathing establishment and a fine promenade. Dickens' residence was called Fort House, but it became known as Bleak House, through association with his novel of that name, though this was written after his last visit to Broadstairs in 1851. Broadstairs has a small pier for fishing-boats, first built in the reign of Henry VIII. An archway leading down to the shore bears an inscription showing that it was erected by George Culmer in 1540, and not far off is the site of a chapel of the Virgin, to which ships were accustomed to lower their top-sails as they passed. St Peter's parish, lying on the landward side of Broadstairs, and included in the urban district, has a church dating from the 12th to the end of the 16th century. Kingsgate, on the North Foreland, north of Broadstairs on the coast, changed its name from St Bartholomew's Gate in honour of Charles II.'s landing here with the duke of York in 1683 on his way from London to Dover. Stonehouse, close by, now a preparatory school for boys, was the residence of Archbishop Tait, whose wife established the orphanage here.