Pegwell Bay Regatta, 1828
Pegwell Bay, 2007
Pegwell Bay is one of the most scenic and interesting parts of East Kent. Rugged and wild, the coastline around this pretty bay has seen a lot of change over the centuries, along with the constant erosion of the chalk cliffs. Pegwell Bay was very popular during Victorian and Edwardian times as a busy holiday spot, with tea rooms, regattas and bathing facilities amongst other things. The remains of two wooden jetties can still be seen today.
Pegwell Bay, c 1800's.
This picture was drawn prior to the distinctive Belle Vue hotel tower was built. Note the two covered piers or jetties, extending out to sea. The remains of these wooden posts can still be seen jutting out of the beach at low tide today.
Pegwell Bay, 2006
The tower of the Belle Vue hotel is now the most dominant feature of the skyline. The piers and bathing facilities have long since disappeared
Pegwell Village, c.1895 and 2006
The BelleVue tavern can be seen clearly on the left, and what is now the "Sir Stanley Gray" is next door. Previously this pub was called "The Moonlighters" after it's smuggling connections. There are numerous smuggling tunnels known to have run from beneath these pubs through the chalk cliffs and to the sea. The building straight ahead (in the old picture) appears to be the top floor of a four storey building (since demolished) shown in a later picture.
The Old Convent, Chilton. c1890 (Assumption Convent)
Site of the Convent, 2006.
The convent was demolished some years ago, to make way for a new housing estate. The only prominent feature that remains is the archway, on Goodwin Road, shown on the left of both pictures, and the "Nun's Graveyard", located near the adjacent Convent Walk.
The whole site is now a new housing estate with several new roads and streets intersecting across it.
The Sportsman Inn, c 1910
The Sportsman Inn, 2006
Not much has changed, other than the mode of transport in the car park!
(Plus the houses on the left and an extension to the pub on the right (not shown)
Pegwell Bay, early 1900's
Compared to the earlier picture above, the piers and bathing facilities have disappeared, and the Belle Vue Hotel has been built, with it's characteristic tower
Pegwell Bay, 2006
The 4 storey house in the foreground of the early photo has completely disappeared. This can be seen rising above the cliff top in previous photos, with an entrance from Pegwell Road. The building next to it (partially obscured) is still there however. It is part of the Belle Vue hotel complex. Also the carefully manicured lawns in the foreground of the original picture have now become very overgrown and wild. Sadly, rubbish is also dumped here on this wasteland. The concrete cliff reinforcements are also clearly seen in the recent picture, which were not present on previous ones.
Pegwell Bay and Belle Vue gardens, c1900
Similar to the above pictures, this view shows the once immaculate lawns and gardens at the bottom of the cliffs at Pegwell, which I believe were the grounds to the Belle Vue hotel.
Pegwell Bay and Belle Vue gardens, 2006 (opposite direction)
Here is another view of the grounds to the Belle Vue hotel, on the undercliff at Pegwell. As you can see, rather than the well kept grounds in the original picture, they have been 'laid to lawn' over many years, and are now unkempt and overgrown. However, I feel this lends itself to the rugged nature of Pegwell Bay now, and adds to it's natural beauty. It is also creates a haven for the many different types of wildlife and birds
Coastguard Station, c.1900
In the early view, the coastguard station was the wooden scaffold structure in the foreground, with ladders leading down to the beach below. This provided the coastguards with a convenient lookout across the bay for smugglers, and other things. Over a century later, the remains of this lookout station can clearly be seen in the modern picture, what is left of the wooden structure hanging fore-lornly against the chalk cliffs, long forgotten in time. The station at the top of the cliffs is now completely buried in undergrowth
Pegwell High Street, c.1912
Pegwell High Street, 2009
The earlier view was taken in the winter. Note the old cottage in the foreground on the left of the picture. In the modern picture you can see this has since been demolished, and the car park for the Belle Vue tavern is in its place. You can clearly see the original outline of the old cottage on the white wall in the modern picture, where it used to be. (its chimney breast and inglenook still remain). Also the white house with its two bay windows next door (Banger's old florist shop) has now become two seperate houses, with the second having been built up higher in the modern picture, with an extra storey. Everything else remains rather similar though!
Pegwell High Street, 1860
Here is an even earlier view looking up Pegwell Road, from the same spot as the previous two pictures. The public house on the right in the recent picture has not been built yet (what is now the Sir Stanley Grey pub). Instead, Tatnell's old barn stands in its place (where potted shrimps were once produced). The building in the foreground on the left (with the nice shutters) was there prior to the Pegwell Bay Hotel being built on the site in 1898.
There is one very obvious addition to the skyline in the modern picture!
The famous cooling towers of Richborough Power station lie dormant across the bay. These famous landmarks have dominated the landscape here for over half a century, but are obviously missing in the earlier view across the bay.
Pegwell Beach, c.1920
These two views are dramatically different. What was once a private sheltered beach was completely destroyed in the 1960's, when it was replaced with a Hoverport. The hoverport was used by hovercraft crossing the channel, throughout the 1970's and early 80's before being left derelict. The vast concrete aprons still remain, but are slowly being reclaimed by nature. The arrival of the hovercraft at Pegwell has been blamed for ruining what was once a thriving shrimping industry, and the once sandy beach was soon replaced by mud and quicksand. However, the old remains of what was once a busy hoverport lend their own silent beauty to the area.
Other pictures of Pegwell (old and new)
The beer garden of the Belle Vue Tavern, c1900
The Belle Vue hotel is now on the opposite side of the road, (with the distinctive tower), and is actually linked with the pub next door to the Belle Vue Tavern (The Sir Stanley Gray) via an underground tunnel.
A Bait Digger on the sands at Pegwell Bay, c 1905
Even today, at low tide, you can still see bait diggers far out on the sands at Pegwell Bay, carrying on the profession in much the same way as they have for hundreds of years
Looking out over Pegwell Bay at high tide, November 2006
A choppy sea, and the distinctive towers of the derelict Richborough Power Station on the horizon near Sandwich.
Pegwell Bay Pier, 1870
Pegwell Bay, 1820
Thanks to Richard & Janet's Genealogy Homepage for permission to use many of the old postcards on this page
"Ramsgate - Then & Now" has recently been published by the History Press, in an attractive 96 page book. This first edition includes all of the old & new images from this site, as well as many more, and over 10,000 words of supporting captions and historical information, to complement the images.
If you have enjoyed visiting this site, why not buy the book, which would make the perfect gift for any Ramsgatonian, old or new!
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