Westgate Heritage Centre, Westgate on Sea, Thanet, Kent
Westgate Heritage Centre, Westgate on Sea, Thanet, Kent

Welcome to the Westgate on Sea Heritage Centre

Doctor Dawn Crouch, Curator of the Westgate Heritage Centre
Doctor Dawn Crouch,
Consultant Historian for the Westgate Heritage Centre
Founded in 2007, 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”.

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. St Saviour’s Church has fourteen War Memorials. Do visit the church and learn about those remembered on them.


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.

At 10.30am on the first Saturday of each month, a short talk on some aspect of the History of Westgate and Westbrook.

Books and files on many aspects of Westgate's story available to study. Booklets available for purchase.

Dawn Crouch Made Honorary Freeman Of Westgate-on-Sea

At a ceremony in June 2016, Dr Dawn Crouch, Consultant Historian of the Heritage Centre, was recognised for her many years of hard work researching and speaking about the local history of Westgate.

Dawn Crouch Made Honorary Freeman Of Westgate-on-Sea

Images courtesy James Brazier.

Do you remember this event?

Heather, Westgate-on-SeaHeather, Westgate-on-Sea

In September 1973 Westgate suffered severe flooding and one resident was drowned. On Sat 3rd October at 10.30 a.m. at the Heritage Centre at St Saviour's Church John Naden, who was a young Police Constable at that time, will share his memories. We would welcome particularly anyone who remembers the event, as we would like to build up a collection of any stories - or photographs.

Does anyone recognise Heather?

Heather, Westgate-on-Sea

The Heritage Centre has been given one of its hardest tasks ever and the likelihood of success is small. Our researchers, however, are very persistent, so we shall try!

Raymond Duncan, who now lives in Devon, used to visit Westgate with his family in the 1950s. They stayed at the caravan park in St Crispin's Road. He made friends with a girl about his own age called Heather – like most young boys he did not bother to find out her surname. He is now anxious to contact her, if she is still around and has sent photographs of those sunny days at St Mildred's Bay and at the caravan park, hoping that they may strike a chord in someone's memory. Does anyone remember a family living, probably in one of the bungalows in St Crispin's Road, with a daughter named Heather? Please contact me via the website, if you do. Sometimes miracles happen and we always want to be of service to the community.

Please contact us with any information.

UPDATE. We have been informed that Heather was Heather Simpson who lived in St Margaret's Road. She married and had a daughter but sadly passed away in 1971. Thank you to those who made contact with us. We are especially grateful for the information received about the caravan park in St Crispin's Road, which will be the subject of a future article.

Can you help identify the young girl in the picture?

Mrs M E Glover, 22 Wellington Street, Westgate on sea

An address on the back of the photo reads - Mrs M E Glover, 22 Wellington Street, Westgate on sea.

Please contact us with any information.

Our school classroom, full of memories and exhibits of life in the local Westgate schools.
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.
Our school classroom, full of memories and exhibits of life in the local Westgate schools.
MP for Thanet North, Roger Gale at the opening of the 2008 Westgate Heritage Centre
Roger Gale MP at the 2008 opening.
View more images in our photo gallery
Heritage Lottery Fund