Home ... Herne Bay ... Buildings’ hidden history captured on early camera

Buildings’ hidden history captured on early camera

HOME FOR DEMOCRACY: Herne Bay Town Hall, photo courtesy of Herne Bay Historical Records Society curator and archivist Mike Bundock
HOME FOR DEMOCRACY: Herne Bay Town Hall, photo courtesy of Herne Bay Historical Records Society curator and archivist Mike Bundock

IN HIS book, Herne Bay Historical Records Society curator and archivist Mike Bundock take a look at some of the more interesting stories behind famous buildings in town. The first picture is taken from the top of the clock tower, looking east. The allotment gardens featuring in the pictures are now occupied by one of Herne Bay’s former cinemas and now the former Talk of the town nightclub. Discussing this 1896 picture in his book Victorian Herne Bay” Mr Bundock says:

“This bird’s eye view affords an excellent perspective of the allotments and St Augustine’s front gardens. The Jubilee Fountain can just be seen in its original position to the bottom left of the image.”

He added:

“St George’s Terrace was built in the early 1830s for the founders of the town and others with the wealth to enjoy such a home. Building in front of the terrace was strictly controlled so the view was not spoiled by unwelcome development. The section in the centre of the terrace became the site of Herne Bay College.”

WHEEL TRACKS: William Street from Mortimer Street in Herne Bay. Photo from Herne Bay Historical Records Society curator and archivist Mike Bundock
WHEEL TRACKS: William Street from Mortimer Street in Herne Bay. Photo from Herne Bay Historical Records Society curator and archivist Mike Bundock

The Town Hall building, which stood on the corner of High Street and William Street until it burned down in 1925. The Town Hall dated back to 1859, when the land it was built on was purchased from George Burge esq. A private company was formed with the purpose of providing a building as a home for the Governing Body of the Town’s Commissioners and a Magistrates Court. It was home to other events such as public meetings, theatricals and balls. A picture from 1886 and shows the crossroads of William Street with Mortimer Street. Mr Bundock writes:

“Evidence of the wheel tracks from numerous carts can be seen on the dusty road surface. The people standing in the road face little danger from traffic and are probably watching the photographer at work.”

He added:

“Many of the shops to the left of the image were built in the 1850s, while those to the right are slightly earlier, dating from around 1835. The gap that can be seen between the two terraces on the right led to the stables where Thomas Sayers kept his horses from his horse bus business.This was filled in around 1886 to create a broadly uniform terrace.”

To read more buy Victorian Herne Bay for £7.50 from the Demelza House Bookshop and A Bundle of Books, Bank Street, Herne Bay.

Herne Bay Times, February 25th 2015

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