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



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.

2 thoughts on “The story of Hampton on Sea, Kent’s lost village”

  1. This area, a little to the west of Reculver, and the sweep of the North Kent coast has suffered from coastal erosion since the loss of and closure of the Wantsum which exited a little east of Reculver. When this happened the sand banks and spits in the river’s mouth were attacked by ‘longshore drift’ with nothing to impede it, it gradually cut through the banks separating them from the land – they’re still there off shore beyond the Gore channel… Reinstate the Wantsum … in time the banks will build back up and erosion will reduce!

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