In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Broadstairs like this:
BROADSTAIRS, a village and a chapelry in St. Peter parish, Thanet, Kent. The village stands on the coast, adjacent to the Kent Coast railway, 2½ miles N by E of Ramsgate; and has a station on the railway, a post office‡ under Ramsgate, and two hotels. It is an ancient place; was the scene of a fierce battle, in 853, between the Saxons and the Danes; had extensive fortifications, pierced by a sea-gate, with a portal arch, some part of which remains; took its name from the "broad stairs" which led up from the sea-gate; possessed, a little above the fortifications, a Lady chapel, of so high repute that ships lowered their top sails in going past it; and sent, about the middle of last century, a number of vessels to the cod fisheries of Iceland and the Northern seas. ...
Its old pier was swept away by a storm in 1808; and its present pier is a rough, picturesque, timber structure. The village is now frequented as a bathing place; has good accommodations and a firm sandy beach; and commands splendid views. It is also a coastguard station. The chapelry includes the village, extends into the country, and was constituted in 1850. Rated property, £4,628. Pop., 1,378. Houses, 300. The property is much subdivided. Old coins have been found in the cliffs; and a spermaceti whale, 61 feet long, came ashore in 1762. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Canterbury. Value, £260. Patron, the Vicar of St. Peter. The church was built in 1828; and has a tower added in 1852. A Baptist chapel includes a portion of the old Lady chapel. There is also a Wesleyan chapel.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Broadstairs has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Thanet. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Broadstairs and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Broadstairs, in Thanet and Kent | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 31st January 2015
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