Stephen Pritchard

Broad Street
196 Lower Street
129 Beach Street
16 Coppin Street

Coppin Street

Occupation: Druggist & Magistrate   

Stephen Pritchard was born in Deal on 9 October 1796 and, as the Congregational Church register says, he was “baptised three weeks later.”

A descendant tells us that Stephen was apprenticed, in 1811, to Odden Hambrook a Chemist & Druggist of Strond Street, Dover. As a rule, apprenticeships lasted for seven years but this was not always the case. Stephen seems to have had a five-year apprenticeship with Odden as, by October 1816, he had married Harriet Keys. Something that as an apprentice he could not have done.

The Elder Stephen

Stephen’s father (also named Stephen) died in September 1816 and was then buried in St. Leonard’s Churchyard. As the register records him dying in Lower Street, can we assume this was number 196 where his son later traded from? If so, it was first leased to an Elizabeth Brown until sometime after the 1821 census was taken.
As the elder Stephen was buried and baptised at St. Leonard’s Church it suggests that either, there was a family plot, or he still held with the Church of England. Maybe it was Jane, his second wife, and the younger Stephen’s mother, who was the Congregationalist as she was buried in Deal’s Congregational Church in 1838?

Chemist and Druggist
Following his father’s death and his own marriage, Stephen sets up home and business on Broad Street. Then on the 15th of December 1818, he is sworn in as a Freeman.
In 1820 he took on Thomas Mitchell as his apprentice who was fifteen years old, “…or thereabouts…”, as it says in the Articles of Agreement. The agreement also tells us that Sarah, Thomas’ mother, paid £150 for him to be apprenticed to Stephen who would “…to the best of his skill, knowledge and ability ….teach, instruct the said Thomas Mitchell in the knowledge, practice, business and profession of an Apothecary Chemist and Druggist….”  This too was to be a five-year apprenticeship but what happened to Thomas after this we don’t know as no further trace of him can be found.

Morning Chronicle -27 March 1835

By 1824 Stephen had moved into 196 Lower Street on the corner of Broad Street. Sadly, the property no longer exists as it was demolished when Broad Street was widened. According to the Lambeth Palace Archives Catalogue, he jointly leased the property with his mother, Jane. In 1835 they sold the lease and the Chemist and Druggist business to fellow Chemist, John Kingsley

Municipal Reform Act and Guardian of  The Parish of Deal
Following the 1835 Municipal Reform Act Stephen went into local politics becoming an elected member of the town council. Then in 1836, with the commencement of the New Poor Law, he was appointed, with Thomas Reader, as a Guardian of the Parish of Deal.
A new workhouse had been built in Eastry and the twelve-mile round trip to attend Board meetings there, in good or bad weather, was not only inconvenient but also expensive for Stephen especially, as, after the first meeting, Thomas Reader resigned because of opposition to the new system.
Having to travel between Deal and Eastry, probably helped him to empathise with those travelling to this new Union Workhouse. In his ‘History of Deal’, he certainly indicates that he had at least some sympathy with the “aged and infirm poor” being made to go there. Although this was only six miles away, it meant that they were essentially cut off from their families as anyone who wished and was granted permission, to visit them had a twelve-mile round journey to make. This may seem nothing to us today but for those in 1836 it meant a long walk and if they did not work then they wouldn’t get paid and this, in turn, could mean that they couldn’t feed their families.
By December 1836 it all became too much and he resigned. When pressed by the Boards secretary, Edwin Chadwick, he detailed the reasons for his decision. Top of the list was the cost and inconvenience to himself in getting there since he says “…my colleague, and possibly the largest ratepayer in the Parish, arranged it so I was to accompany him in his chaise…. resigned after one sitting of the Board.”  He stated that he had been walking there in good weather and hiring a “chair”, at his own cost, when the weather was inclement. He also felt that the “official agents living near him”, including the Mayor and Justices, were those who were opposed to the joining of the Union of Deal Parish to Eastry Union and, as he was a known supporter of the Union, he says “…a feeling very far from cordial has existed.”  Decisions, he says, were being made without his knowledge and ‘relief’ given without following the new rules. Applicants were being sent to his house “…some for relief and many sent from motives of pure annoyance that on some days 20, 30 and forty have come.” Ending his letter, he says “…great good has been accrued and will accrue” but he also says that “I am persuaded from the present working of the New Law.” No wonder the poor man resigned!

The Church-Rate
On 8 March 1837 Stephen is called before the Mayor of Deal, Comfort Kingsmill Esq. for not paying the church-rate
, something that as a non-conformist he disapproved of. Apparently, Reverend John Vincent had announced this happening from the pulpit, and so, as the newspaper report says, the ‘anti-church party’ rallied to support him. The Mayor patiently heard his reasons, or ‘excuses’ as the Canterbury Weekly Journal described them, for not paying the 3s 3d owed but in the end, he was ordered to do so or risk being sued.

Deal Pier
Never one to shy away from questioning financial matters Stephen, as one of the Board of Directors of the Deal Pier Company,  wanted an answer to the question of financing the pier approach and if an estimate had been obtained. A report said £20,000 was required and £15,000 was for the pier’s construction but what about the rest? He felt that they should know about any possible future expenditure including the approach to the pier. It appears from the newspaper report that he didn’t obtain a satisfactory answer. Mr. W. Hulke also tried to get an answer to this question but was told: “… that the matter should be left in the hands of those who could manage it.”  Sadly, the pier was never completed and what there was, was destroyed in a gale in 1857.

Soup Kitchen

Example of a Soup Kitchen. Illustrated London News – Saturday 07 March 1868

Winter was taking its toll on the poor and destitute of Deal by the December of 1851. So, a public meeting was called by Mayor Thomas Reaks where it was agreed to open a soup kitchen. Stephen was elected one of the Working Committee and suggested the purchase of iron boilers in which to eventually make the soup. Subscriptions were raised to cover the immediate need for ingredients and the making of the soup, followed by a method of ticketed distribution.
A permanent Soup Kitchen was really required so the following year a subscription was again raised to build the Kitchen. A plot of land, in Brewer Street, was donated by local solicitor James Edwards. In his History of Deal, Stephen praises Mayor Thomas Reaks and his son James for their “constant and untiring zeal” without which he says the undertaking would not have been a success. Stephen resigned from the Soup Kitchen Committee in October 1852. No reason was recorded for his resignation but he was a busy man. Aside from his Malting business, he was also an active member of the town’s Pavement Commission. In 1853, he became a Magistrate a role he continued in until about 1860. Then, of course, he must have been researching and writing his ‘History of Deal’ which was serialised in several of the local Newspapers including Dover Telegraph and Cinque Ports General Advertiser. It was then published as a book in 1864 and one that, when researching, we regularly refer to.
After the preface, which he signs Stephen Pritchard J.P., there is a list of subscribers including James R Apps, Dr. Watt, Mayor W. M. Cavell, confectioner Mr. Friend, T. V. Cavell, and his son, Stephen, in New York.

Death and Obituary

On the 2 February 1871 Stephen Pritchard died and was buried with his wife, Harriet, in Hamilton Road Cemetery where their Gravestone simply says

In affectionate remembrance of Harriet, the beloved wife of Stephen Pritchard,
who died 13th May 1870, aged 76 years.
Also of S. Pritchard Esq., who died 14th February 1871, in the 75th years of his age.

The newspaper obituary says more about the man who dedicated his life to the town he lived in and, as can be seen through the pages of his book, the town he loved.

Kentish Gazette – Tuesday 21 February 1871

Name Born Baptised Married Died Buried
Stephen Pritchard 9 October 1796 October 1796
Congregational Church, Deal
Harriet Keys
1 October 1816
St. Leonard’sBorn 1794
Died 13 May 1870
16 Coppin Street
20 February 1871
Hamilton Road Cemetery

The Children of Stephen Pritchard & Harriet Keys

Name Born Baptised Married Died Buried
Harriet Keys 20 July 1818 28 August 1818
Congregational Church
Charlotte Jane 13 January 1820 18 February 1820
Congregational Church
Unknown but before 1825
Stephen 1 July 1822 4 August 1822
Congregational Church
1)Caroline Kutz
21 January 1847
2) Mary Collins
18 February 1863
New York
25 November 1895
Brooklyn, New York
27 November 1895
Oswego Cemetery, New York
Charlotte Weston 23 April 1825 22 May 1825
Congregational Church
1826 28 April 1826
Congregational Church, Deal
George Munn 23 April 1825 22 May 1825
Congregational Church
Ann Dan 1 March 1831 18 February 1835
Congregational Church
1)George Blake
18 October 1871
St. John’s, Croydon, Surrey
2) John Ward
Croydon, Surrey
16 April 1906
Oaks, Cintra Park. Upper Norwood, Surrey


Year Address Name Number of Males Number of Females
1821 Broad Street Deal Stephen Pritchard


Year Address Name Relationship Occupation
1841 Beach Street Stephen Head Indepenent
Harriet Wife
Anna Daughter
Mary O’Brien Servant


Year Address Name Relationship Occupation
1851 129 Beach Street Stephen Head Proprietor of Houses & Land
Harriet Wife
Anne Daughter
Mary Ann Simmonds


Year Address Name Relationship Occupation
1861 129 Beach Street Stephen Head Magistrate
Harriet Wife Magistrate Wife
Hannah Daughter Magistrate Daughter
Sarah F Bushell Servant House Servant

Trade and Street Directory

Directory and Year Trade or Occupation Address
Pigot’s Directory 1824 & 26 Druggist 196 Lower Street
Melville’s Directory 1858 Under Clergy & Gentry 129 Beach Street
Kelly’s Directory 1862 J.P. & Magistrate 129 Beach Street

Poll Books (selected)

 Year Profession Qualifying Residence
1852-62 129 Beach Street
1864-1870 16 Coppin Street Malt House & Gardens.
West Street
Sources and further reading:
History of Deal by Stephen Pritchard
The National Archives re HO-73-51-41   ~Free download from
Newspaper image © The British Library Board. All rights reserved.
With thanks to The British Newspaper Archive (
London Illustrated News
With thanks to ©Illustrated London News Ltd/Mary Evans Picture Library