Welcome to the Westgate on Sea Heritage Centre
Now in our sixth year, the Westgate Heritage Centre aims to tell the story of Westgate on Sea, a unique Victorian development, from 1865 the year when the first houses were built to the present day by a series of displays called “Time Line”.
Doctor Dawn Crouch,
Consultant Historian for the Westgate Heritage Centre
Commemorating The First World War
The Heritage Centre is commemorating the anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War with a series of talks and events from May 2014 to the end of the year. The theme will be the effect of the war on Westgate’s residents and will be based on the rich archival material in our collection. There will be displays in St Saviour’s Church, from the beginning of May until the end of September. The Centre is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays. from 10.00 a.m. until 12 noon. St Saviour’s Church has fourteen War Memorials. Do visit the church and learn about those remembered on them.
One of the most important areas that we shall explore is the Royal Naval Air Service base at St Mildred’s Bay, which was of national importance.
Dates to note:
Sat 3 May 2014 St Saviour’s Church 10.30 a.m. Talk “Westgate in the summer of 1914”
Sat 7 June 2014 St Saviour’s Church 10.30 a.m. Talk “The waterplanes come to Westgate” This talk will be based on the way in which the lives of the residents were affected by the presence of the RNAS in the town – come to hear the stories of Mrs Lamb and Mrs Griffiths, of Farmer Hedgecock and the young Bill Hambidge and how romance came to Westgate when an unprecedented number of weddings were conducted at St Saviour’s church.
Tues 10 June 2014 The Knot Beach Road Westgate 7.00 p.m. for 7.30 p.m. Illustrated Talk by James Brazier on the seaplane base, followed by buffet supper. Ticket only (Described in full elsewhere in the newsletter) Numbers limited
Sat 5 July 2014 St Saviour’s Church 10.30 a.m. Talk “The role of the parish church” based on St Saviour’s records.
Wednesday 30th July 2014 7.30 p.m. Starting from St Mildred’s Bay and ending at West Bay. . Guided, illustrated walk and talk, relating to the seaplane base, led by Marcus Russell. Buffet supper. Numbers limited..
About the Centre
It was opened officially on 31st March 2007 by Roger Gale 2007 M.P. for North Thanet and is located in St Saviour's, the Parish Church for Westgate on Sea. includes something of the history of Westbrook, which lies east between Westgate and Margate, because the history of the “two new towns” as they were called in a letter of 1871, is inextricably linked.
There is also much supplementary material both pictorial and written available in files and boxes - we have too much for it all to be put on display. It can easily be accessed by anyone interested – there are facilities for sitting down and reading.
There is a list of material available from the stewards. It is being added to all the time, as people bring in things they think may be of interest.
The section on Wartime Westgate contains a great deal of oral history of Westgatonians who were living in the area during the Second World War.
The permanent “Time Line” exhibition is supplemented by smaller displays about particular subjects of interest often linked with anniversaries – for example in 2007 “Westgate in 1917” linked with the 90th anniversaries of the Battles of Arras and Passchendaele.
In 2008, the Westgate and Westbrook Residents’ Association celebrated its 50th anniversary we held a special exhibition “Focus on ‘58”. It was interesting to see what were the concerns of the Association in 1958 and compare them with the concerns today.
Also in 2008 we started a special permanent section on the history of St Saviour’s C.E. School founded in 1886. There are some really fascinating exhibits. Come and read about the troubles of the school during World War I or the poignant stories of the evacuation of the school to Staffordshire in 1940 or the post-war problems when their classes were accommodated all over the town or the exciting story of the building and opening of the new St Saviour’s Junior School in 1995!
The Centre relies upon generous donations from local residents and businesses and we are grateful to receive a £200 grant from Thanet District Council’s Councillor Tom King. The members of the Heritage Centre's Steering Group who lead it and the stewards are all volunteers. Two members of the group are students whose IT skills are particularly valuable – they designed the logo.
|Children from Chartfield School in Westgate with curator Dr Dawn Crouch
|Our school classroom, full of memories and exhibits of life in the local Westgate schools.