The History of Admiralty Mews


George Leith snr. (GLs) (1720-1810) acquires the use of private hospitals in Deal and becomes contractor to the “Sick and Hurt Board” of the Navy.


GLs and Thomas Peck (TP) (1732-1789) appointed agents for POWs in Deal.


GLs and George Leith jnr. (GLj) (1755-1831) buy the Manor of Walmer, having purchased land in the area surrounding Deal during the 1760s and 1770s.


Towards the end of the decade, the Leiths and TP make plans to build a Naval Hospital, on the land in Lower Walmer now occupied by Admiralty Mews.


The Leiths sell land for, and contract to build Cavalry Barracks and an Infantry Barracks (now South Barracks), and a Military Hospital (now North Barracks).


The Admiralty purchases, from the Leiths, a plot of land to the south-west of the Naval Hospital to serve as a burial ground.


The Naval Hospital is sold by the Leiths to the Admiralty, and is known then as The Royal Naval Hospital at Deal.


Plans are drawn up by the Navy Board to modify the Hospital, with completion of work on the North and South Wings by about 1811 (and little has changed since then).


Partly as a result of a lightning strike on the main range in 1809, it is decided that most of this part of the building should be demolished and completely rebuilt.  The foundation stone for the new section is laid on the 4th.June 1812 “by Governor Dowers, in the presence of all the officers, and several coins deposited; and in the ensuing year, (the hospital) received 100 patients”.

Shortly before the stone-laying ceremony, GLj sells another block of land to the south of the main complex.  This is used to extend the burial ground and provide space for Royal Buildings


The building programme is finished with accommodation for 300 patients.  The Dead House, The Insane House, and the Cookhouse to the west are the other new buildings of note.


The Wars with France come to an end, and the Royal Naval Hospital is disestablished in November.  Captain Dowers, “the late governor”, is allowed to stay on in his house in Royal Buildings.

“On the return of peace, a...depression in trade followed as cause and effect, which seems to be always a rule in Deal – war, prosperity, peace, adversity” (Pritchard). And so, for survival, back to smuggling.


Formation of the Royal Navy Coast Blockade for the Prevention of Smuggling under the command of Captain J W McCulloch.

Blockade men accommodated in the Naval Hospital and South Barracks until 1831


Chaplain appointed “to do duty to the Blockade Men”.


During additions to “Old” St. Mary’s Church, “Commander” Dowers allows parishioners to use the Naval Hospital.


The Coast Blockade is abolished and replaced by The Coast Guard.

Royal Marines are billeted at the Naval Hospital, (as was also the case in 1817-1818, when they were possibly involved in support of anti-smuggling activities).


Royal Marines stationed at the Naval Hospital until the end of the Crimean War and beyond.


On the 7 May, The Depot, Royal Marines Deal (1861-1940) is established at the Naval Hospital site.

(2 Officers, 16 N.C.O.s, and 35 Privates drafted from the Chatham and Woolwich Divisions of the Royal Marines, followed by the first 100 recruits three days later.

By August, the Depot was fully operational with 400 inmates.)


The Woolwich Division is disbanded.  The War Department hands over the North and South Barracks to the Admiralty for the use of the Royal Marines, in exchange for barracks at Woolwich.

(Between 1868 and 1872, a series of reforms of the British Army took place under the direction of the then Secretary of State, Edward Cardwell.  The creation of depots provided centres for recruitment, training and mobilisation of army units, along with better living accommodation and recreational facilities.)

1869 - 1872

To meet the Depot requirements, the “Southwest” Range, originally just the Dead House and Insane House, is extended with two-storey buildings to the south and three-story buildings to the north.  (The northern section was further extended by two bays, after 1872 but before 1898.)


Depot Band formed.


Building of the Clothing Inspection Store to the east of the Dead House and Insane House.


Infirmary Barracks opens on a site at the junction of Blenheim Rd. and Gladstone Rd. The old hospital is converted into barracks and renamed East Barracks.


Plans for a new Canteen, on the site formerly used as a dispensary to the north of the Southwest Range, are prepared and later implemented.


The Royal Naval School of Music moves from Portsmouth into East Barracks.


Following reorganisation, the Band Service is renamed The Royal Marines School of Music, with headquarters at Deal.


The I.R.A. Atrocity takes place on 22 September in North Barracks.


The Royal Marines School of Music finally closes, with a parade of massed bands on 22 March.


On 8 May, The Secretary of State for Defence transfers Land at Royal Marines School of Music, Deal, in the County of Kent to United Real Estate PLC.