The history of Deal has been shaped by its position on the extreme eastern coastline of Kent. Close to France, it was of such significant naval importance that Henry VIII chose to erect a castle here on the concentric circle plan. Revolutionary at the time, it is beautifully preserved today. Barracks were established here from 1861. This corps of the British Army was infamously bombed by the IRA in 1989, and the School of Music departed seven years later. Many literary references to Deal refer to its villainous populace, which was often associated with smuggling. Today, chic cafes, shops and holiday cottages reveal an atmosphere of quiet prosperity. Pepys' and Cobette's derogatory terms of 'pitiful' and 'detestable' are a world away from modern Deal. Instead, as the images collected here show, through time the town has become a hidden gem of idyllic existence.