Having studied history at my old public school, I believe I'm just the chap to put right some erroneous misconceptions regarding the history and events that have shaped this jewel in Thanet's crown.

Today we have over eleven thousand properties in the town. Some of these homes are lived in full time by local families many others are owned by those fine inhabitants of the higher classes who use them at weekends to view the habits of the peasants from the seaside.

Times have changed since Hagar the Horrible and Horsa first settled in Broadstairs soon after AD600. Being of Germanic\Nordic origin these settlers only real interests were in fish.

At Viking parties, the topic of after dinner conversations became very boring and consisted mainly of the size of herrings and what cousin Hengist had caught that morning.

They eventually got around to naming their new settlement Bradstow which vaguely means A Broad Plaice, due to (surprise, surprise) the large quantity of weighty flatfish that were caught from the beaches of the settlement.

Their family later went on to found the first fish shop in Bradstow, aptly named the Viking Restaurant. Unfortunately the family had to wait another 970 years for real business success when Sir Walter Raleigh finally got round to inventing chips.

It was only after our Nordic neighbours settled down, bought bungalows and were kept busy by tidying their nice little gardens when the Romans decided to pay us a visit.

First sent here by the roman Emperor Caesar who was looking for somewhere to start a dog food factory the Romans settled in Broadstairs very quickly, and in doing so they ingratiated themselves with the locals by opening up some very nice Pizza and Ice cream parlours.

It wasn't until around AD43 when they left after the rather slow and sleepy Emperor Ovaltine awoke late one morning to find most of his garrison had upped and left in the night. He later went on to become St Ovaltine, the patron saint of hot drinks.

Shortly after this time the small track leading from the beach had to be widened to accommodate the problems of ever increasing waistlines amongst the settlers, due to the huge intake of greasy cod, therefore it was decreed by Saint Augustine that Three score and nine wide steps should be cut into the cliffs, and the town be named hereafter Broadstairs.

The job was given to a John Buchan Builders who completed the thirty nine steps three months over schedule and at twice the price

Not much occurred until the 1600s, invaders came, stayed for the season bought holiday flats then moved on until finally a chap by the name of Joss Snelling invented sailing and decided to start building ships in the natural harbour which was also named Viking Bay.

Sadly our ancestors lacked any real imagination when it came to names.

To protect the boatyard from swarthy land lubbers who were inherently suspicious of salty seamen, a gate was built in the dirt track leading down to the marina, this was named York Gate after my great, great, great uncle the grand old Duke, who marched all his men to the top of the hill but had a huge problem extracting his troop from the Neptune alehouse, he didn't quite so much march them down again as roll them down.

Shipbuilding finally ended in the early 1800s mainly due to the Window Tax levy and the subsequent ban on portholes.

In the 1850s my late father, Lord Hugh Johnson donated a life-boat to the town which due to the lack of boats in the harbour was considered a little like shutting the stable door after the horse had bolted.

However in its time the lifeboat went on to aid stricken sailors 269 times ..... unfortunately 260 of these incidents involved my father ... he wasn't a good sailor, but as he said By God I'll get my moneys worth if it kills me.

Sadly my father died later that year when his cravat snagged on a pier-side railing, garrotting him as he was about to show off his diving prowess to the local ladies by jumping from the pier.

To this day you'll not see pier-jumpers wearing cravats should this terrible incident ever happen again.

The Napoleonic wars brought about the need for added measures against the threat from France so a semaphore system was installed atop of the church tower in St Peters to warn of invasion, this semaphore system is in place to this day warning of the greater threat of vicious pensioners, harridans and Hoi Polloi from the lower classes attending the jumble sales in the memorial hall.

So welcome to Broadstairs and feel free to ask for the Brigadier by name should you require any further interesting historical facts, oh, so long as it's your round of course.

- The Brigadier

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