16 January 2008 December saw the departure of a well known character and equally well known ‘landscape’. I refer to the departure for sunnier climes of Jim Moate and of course ‘The Smokery’. I know it was Jim’s desire to have the Smokery continue in business after he left but not to be – but you never know!!!! Jim had worked hard for many years to provide traditional smoked, local, fish as well as cheeses, garlics etc. He had customers return year after year and had featured in numerous TV, film and magazine articles. I am sure all who knew him will wish him well in his retirement. Over the past few months we have seen ‘Helevetia’ undergoing a long awaited renovation. We were surprised to see that the old and very neglected building was not flattened but with the roof remaining intact the supporting timbers were carefully replaced and we now await for the final transformation with the addition of the external cladding and new windows. Bad weather of late has unfortunately held up work on this final leg but the end is insight. All this after at least 20 years total neglect. Congratulations to the ‘local’ family who managed to acquire the property and was willing to return it to its former glory. In contrast to what is considered ‘the norm’ for Dungeness, ‘El Ray‘ is undergoing a complete face lift/rebuild albeit with the original railway carriage forming the centre piece. If you could view this property from the air you would see the outline of the structure resembles that of a wine bottle. A feature close to the owner’s heart – in a professional capacity! Not sure if there is to be a ‘Chateau Dungeness’ but we live in hope.
Only one more ‘shack’ left for re-development and full planning permission has been granted for its transition. ‘Channel View’ has a fine example of a turn of the century railway carriage within the structure boasting beautiful craftsman ship in the all wood structure. This should look really amazing when completed. We hope the new owners will permit some interior shots to be published. Work is progressing on conversion of the various ‘out-buildings’ which were left over from WW2 close to the old lighthouse. These are being transformed into very high spec accommodation for those wishing to visit the area.
Dungeness continue to ‘pop up’ on the T.V. in various guises, from ‘East Enders’, more cops and robbers films and in the not do distant past featured in the short movie ‘The Other Man’, which incidentally won the Edinburgh Film Festival Award for ‘Best Short Film’ – starring the very fine actress Anna Maxwell Martin (BBC’s ‘Bleak House’), repertory actor Neal Barry and six year old local girl Tilly O’Neil who following her debut in film making subsequently ended up on location in Budapest and Malta to appear in the feature film ‘Eichmann’ – to be released this year in the UK.. Also, now in the dim past but still being shown on Sky, two properties were featured in the Channel 4 production of ‘Up Your Street’, (in which two local residents visited (for the first time) each others properties. The programme designed to highlight the difference of interiors and what could be done to each to improve values. Latest land registry figures show one ‘shack’ selling for £199,000.00 although it is understood another has recently exchanged at £204K. what price peace of mind?