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.
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.