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.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Broadstairs, in Thanet and Kent | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 28th April 2017
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