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It’s hard to believe this is the city centre

A view of St Georges Gate and the crossroads, featuring E R Bates’ gun shop, taken in the 1960s
A view of St Georges Gate and the crossroads, featuring E R Bates’ gun shop, taken in the 1960s

St George’s Gate was once a short stretch of Canterbury’s main thoroughfare that ran from St George’s Crossroads (with Upper and Lower Bridge Street) to the beginning of St George’s Street. In fact, up until 1801, the City Gate, after which this short stretch of street was named, separated it from the rest of the main thoroughfare. In the small hours of June 1, 1942, St George’s Gate found itself at the heart of the incendiary conflagration. Predous Canterbury photographer, Mr W Fisk-Moore had to witness both his shop at No. 5 St George’s Gate and his studio in nearby St George’s Place go up in flames, together with all his precious negatives and camera equipment. Unable even to record the sudden demise of his business. Mr Fisk-Moore had to borrow a camera from the police station (one usually used to make mug shots) in order to record the immediate aftermath of the Baedeker Raid on the City. Today, his photographic record of that morning still remains one of the most vivid and emotionally charged of all those made. Between 1942 and 1969, only two businesses remained in St George’s Gate — the tobacconist Pettit & Son at No 1 and gunsmiths E R Bates in a wooden hut within the blitzed remains of their building at No 2. Both premises finally went when the Street itself disappeared to make way for St George’s Roundabout and the second stage of the city ring road.

Herne Bay Gazette, July 3rd 2014

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