Pavement Commission

Stephen Pritchard in his History of Deal, tells us, that in 1706, it was“ordered that the market be raised and paved…”  Showing that the newly formed corporation was even then thinking about improving the town’s paving. The improvements were to gradually continue well into the next century and in some ways, this continues today.

The Pavement Act

Up until 1790 Deal had no paving or lighting and an Act of Parliament was required to bring this about. So a Bill was presented to the government

‘For paving repairing, cleansing, lighting, the highways and lanes within the town and for removing encroachments and obstructions.’

This was approved by Parliament in 1791 and, as per the provisions of the act, Deal appointed a Trust of  100 Pavement Commissioners and as vacancies occurred they were filled by election.

The Trust could then obtain contracts to surface and pave the streets and once done to keep them clear and clean. These activities would obviously come at a cost to the town, so the Act allowed for the Commissioners to –

  • Raise funds from a new ‘Pavement Rate.’
  • Charge an extra shilling duty was placed on each choldren of coal brought into the town by land or sea.
  • Have the power to borrow money against the rates.

The Act also stated that all inhabitants were to have their paving swept in front of their houses every day before 9 am.

Further amendments to this Act were obtained to give more powers to the commissioners and to increase the Pavement Rate and coal duty, so they could

“light the streets and other places, to maintain a nightly watch for the security of the inhabitants  and to erect Watch boxes.”

The Pavement Commissioners continued to act until it was abolished in 1873 when a new Act, the Public Health Act, transferred it’s duties to the Borough Council.

Sources and further reading:
Journals of the House of Commons, Volumes 35-55
History of Deal by John Laker B.A., B.Sc.