Category Archives: Medway, Swale and the Kent coast

Medway, Swale and the Kent coast

The story of Hampton on Sea, Kent’s lost village

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Hampton on Sea pier. From the Wikipedia, photo by Linda Spashett

The North Kent coast has its own lost-in-the-sea village, I learned some days ago.

Hampton-on-Sea is Kent’s equivalent of Suffolk’s Dunwich and I guess South Devon’s astonishing Hallsands – and it’s story is quite surprising.

It began as part of what is now known as the Hampton area of Herne Bay, and grew from a tiny fishing hamlet in 1864, expanded through the oyster trade and was developed as a resort from 1879.

It was then abandoned as a result of coastal erosion and flooding problems (there are powerful tidal currents in the area) in 1916, and the land on which the settlement stood was largely lost by 1921 – what now remains is the stub of the original pier, a pub, the Hampton Inn, and Hampton-on-Sea’s ruined coastal defences, which are visible at low tide.

And then the story becomes a little unusual. For its case was taken up by eccentric resident Edmund Reid, who had previously been the Metropolitan Police head of CID who handled the Jack the Ripper case.

Reid lived at number 4, Eddington Gardens, and named it Reid’s Ranch, and painted castellations and cannon on its side. Inside the house were a parrot and many photographs of his London cases, while in his garden he set up a wooden kiosk that he named the Hampton-on-Sea Hotel, where he sold soft drinks and postcards featuring himself and the disappearing sights Hampton-on-Sea.

By 1915 he was the last remaining resident, and finally abandoned his house in 1916, moved to Herne Bay, married in 1917 and died aged 71 later the same year.

Faversham’s swing bridge needs £125,000

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Getting the swing bridge working again is crucial to revitalising the Creek, and to the wonderful work of the Faversham Creek Trust.

Here’s how to chip in: donations form

A weekend of shanties and sea songs aboard Morning Star

Fancy a weekend of sailing, shanties and sea songs aboard the fabulous Medway-based sail training ship Morning Star in a few weeks time?

Boarding is at 6pm on Friday 29th May 2015 at Chatham Maritime Marina and disembarking is at the same place at 3pm on Sunday.

You’ll learn to sing and sail you go, using old hauling and heaving shanties, as well as raucous songs of ‘Jack Ashore’ and haunting homeward bound melodies sung by sailors past and present.

The costs are £144 under 26 years and £180 over 26 years; all meals from supper on day 1 to lunch on day 3 re included, along with use of life jacket, waterproofs and boots, and all sailing and singing tuition.

For more information contact the Morning Star folks at support@morningstar.org.uk .