Memories Continued

Having seen the lovely picture of the school with all the proud school children circa 1940 below is how it looked like after Hitler decided to close it.

Taken around 1950 it shows the author and, younger, Uncle on the rather unstable roof.   No one had heard of ‘Health and Safety’ in those days.  Rather sad really as there seems to be very little  left for the ‘adventurous’ growing up these days.


                The railway station, taken at the same time, had simply run into disrepair. 

  This line ran past the old school and provided an additional  playground for youngsters.


Still looking for a photograph of the original ‘Britannia’ pub, which had been burnt out.   But still inside was the old ‘Joanna’ which still made a good noise by plucking the strings.

And of course, even in the ‘Fifties’ there was still no running water, electricity or means of sewerage disposal.

Water came from a pump in the beach – usually situated in the kitchen.   Some shacks had small pot bellied multi fuel heaters – otherwise nothing as there was no electricity.  Light came from paraffin lamps or pressurised  mentholated spirit contraptions and just can’t remember how we heated food or made hot water – possibly from an adaption of the aforementioned  pressure  lamps.  Milk was delivered in bulk and was collected from the lorry in jugs.   Fish were caught by tying hooks to a line with a large pebble with a hole through it – and a length of rope with a wooden handle or in the mackerel season hooks were floated from sealed bottles that simply floated about.

Back stays were the order of the day – like flip flops but made of flat pieces of wood – to stop one sinking into the beach (yes there was no vegetation in those days so no believing English Nature saying so many plants have been here forever are are indigenous to the area).

And finally the bucket with the human waste  was taken over to the sea at high tide.   Frequently one got their own back if the wind was blowing the wrong way.

Those were the days.

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House of the Year 2016 – Another Dungeness ‘Shack’ Shortlisted

Dungeness new build house ‘North VAT’ has been longlisted for the Channel Four ‘Grand Designs’ RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) ‘House of the Year 2016’. THURSDAYS 9pm to 10pm and repeated at other times!

The following is an article from the RIBA (apologies for not obtaining permission)

ARCHITECT: Rodic Davidson Architects CLIENT: private

AWARDS WON: riba SOUTH EAST award 2016

This house is the latest in a series of new homes at Dungeness. The trend for inhabiting the beach was set by Derek Jarman with his garden at Prospect Cottage, and since then architects have take inspiration from the open, often bleak, beach to design new occasional homes. This house, by Rodic Davidson Architects, is one of the best in the collection.

The architects had previously worked with the clients on the refurbishment of their London home. Here the brief was to create a single living environment, allowing for entertainment, enjoyment and art. This was to be a calm and simple space where everyday activities could co-exist and all aspects of the surrounding landscape could be observed. There was no question about replacing the existing fisherman’s cottage and the form was conceived as a ‘cluster’ of small shed-like structures, referential to the local vernacular of pitched roof huts scattered along the beach front. The plan form of the proposed cluster was derived from the locations of the existing cottage and sheds, minimally adjusted to provide a simple living layout whilst maintaining a low impact on the ground ecology and sustaining the sense of randomness that was found in the original buildings.

The resulting house alludes to these familiar influences and even mimics some recent nearby homes (some of which are award winners themselves), but does so in a manner which is arguably truer to the original precedent of dark stained beach hut or ‘net shop’. The jury was persuaded by the ambiguity of ‘one home’ versus ‘a cluster of sheds’ approach, and won over by the intimate relationship between designers and client which has resulted in a finely-judged balance of high architecture and comfortable beach living.

Despite the temptation to celebrate the panorama of the vast beach and seascape, views are framed judiciously like pictures at seating- and standing-height, providing a sequence of selected connections to the outside. Only in the circulation spaces between the ‘sheds’ is that connection seamless, with frameless glass taking one within millimetres’ distance of the frequently harsh external elements. As the architects suggest, ‘walking in and out of the rooms feels like walking in and out of the landscape’.

Each Dungeness black box has to be measured on its own merits, but this particular synthesis of client aspiration, site character, and thoughtful detailing left this year’s jury feeling very comfortable with its decision.



Looked good on t.v. Simple bright and hopefully around for the next 100 years – by which time most of the ‘oldies’ will have been long gone.

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Examples of Power Plants Used as Filming Locations

Power stations are often used as filming locations for films and television series. Science fiction films are the most common genre to use power stations as a location due to the futuristic environment and feel of the stations.

In this article we will look at how Dungeness’s nuclear plant and three other power stations have been used as a backdrop for film scenes ranging from sci-fi to comedy.

Dungeness’s Nuclear Power Station, Kent


The Dungeness Nuclear Power Station was used in an episode of Doctor Who. The Kent Film Office state that the station was featured in the 1971 episode, The Claws of Axons starring Jon Pertwee as the Third Doctor. The Kent Film Office writes on their site that the power station doubled as a “Nuton power complex”. Cole Moreton a Doctor Who fan wrote in The Telegraph that the Dungeness beach was also used in the episode and featured in a key scene where an alien craft landed.

Cherokee Nuclear Plant, South Carolina


The abandoned nuclear power plant is famous for its connection with James Cameron’s 1987 film The Abyss. Cameron chose the power station after deciding against filming underwater scenes in the ocean. According to film review and news site io9 the film crew constructed one of the largest underwater sets ever built. The site also reports how the set was abandoned to nature, as the cost to disassemble it was too high. The set was eventually demolished in 2007.

Battersea Power Station, London


The iconic power station has been used as a film location for many famous films. The Guardian produced an online gallery that showed some of the films that had used the station ranging from blockbusters to science fiction films. Also included in the article was the British comedy Monty Python’s Meaning of Life. In the Monty Python film the station was used as the backdrop to the naked chase scene. Monty Python is famous for using unusual locations in its productions, to create a mixture of comedy and satire. Online gaming site Betfair Casino used this Monty Python principle of strange combinations in their Monty Python slot game Spamalot. The game combines comedy and gaming, creating an unusual juxtaposition that brings the core principles of Python’s work together for players. It also represents how popular Monty Python still is among the masses even today.

Satsop Nuclear Power Plant, Washington


The Satsop power plant is a great example of how a disaster can turn into something productive. News Grio informs that the nuclear power plant is considered one of the biggest project blunders in US history as the $2 billion power plant was never completed due to budget issues in 1983. The site has found a second life as a dystopian film set and was recently used in the 2014 science fiction film Transformers: Age of Extinction.

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Further Memories

The following pics were taken by Peter ion the summer of 1959, who has fond memories of this desolate place – well it was in those days.    The first being the now long gone ‘Experimental Station belonging to ……………………. followed by the first digging of the large hole that was to be the bowels of the ‘A’ station nuclear power reactor.   And ‘they’ were told not to build it so close to the sea – but then ‘they’ know better.


The last pic is of Peters lady wife at the New Roney railway station – agin in 1959


Peter writes:-


I knew Dungeness well during my childhood.   Our family stayed in one of the  “rescued” railway carriages known as “Mossy-Cot” between the Fog Horn and Lighthouse during 946 and 1959.

I remember the filming with Googie Withers on the beach towards where the Power Stations are now.  In 1959 I took a photo of the first works concerning the future Power Station and still have it !
I remember the RHDR railway track being twisted and unusable in 1946 but in good repair and with trains running again the following year.
There was a community then which has sadly been lost to many week-enders in the interim but I remember the Tart and Oiler families and became first interested in Lifeboats when watching a beach-launch in fog early one morning. I was seven years old!
  It is my desire that Dungeness remains the beautiful and fresh-smelling area that I have been privileged to experience for a very long time and to say how fortunate anyone is to live there now.
You may also like to know that I have been a RNLI fundraising volunteer for some years now, due to my first experiences at Dungeness when Mr Tart was Cox’n.







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Chrissie Callaghan Photographs

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted, through the website, by a lady (now known as Chrissie Callaghan) who said she was paying her first visit to the area from somewhere ‘up North’ – well beyond Watford Gap anyway.  However her journey was to be via Hastings, from where she would walk to Rye, stay overnight and then hire a bike for the trip to Dunge.   She gave up the cycle ride in favour of public transport and then spent the rest of the day meandering, as one does, taking the odd ‘snap shot’!   As you can see from below the results are far from mere snapshots but well composed photographs and all the better from being produced in black and white.


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Storm Force Angus

Now copying the U.S. we are naming our storms – and yesterday (November 20th) was the first this year and called Angus.   Yes it rained and the wind was quite strong and it did cause a little havoc along the coast here.

The Dungeness lifeboat, along with Dover’s’  and two helicopters, was called out at 08.52,  to assist in the rescue of several seamen who became endangered when their vessel, the Saga Sky, collided with another vessel, loaded with rocks, some three miles off the coast.  11 of the 23 man crew were airlifted to safety but returned later when the damaged vessel managed to leave the area. 

None were hurt and the lifeboat returned safely

In the meantime we had lost our electricity.  It went off about 3 a.m. then back on for half an hour or so and then remained off until 7.30 in the evening.  The nuclear power station seemed to have its lights on – but we – a mere half a mile away had to suffer in the gloom.

Despite the high winds – no damage other than a few fences blown over.

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Fish Hut/Snack Shack wants to expand!

The success of the local ‘Fish Hut/ snack Shack’, run by the local Thomas family (Lee and Kelly Smith) goes from strength to strength and is now looking to expand their fayre.

‘We would like to sell more local produce from the Fish Hut/Snack Shack’ says Shelly ‘  ‘We already have Kent Crisps and Hastings Lemon Ketchup and next year we’ll have Romney Marsh Ale.too.   Not forgetting the freshest of local fish  straight off our own boats.’

‘We would like to know if there is any interest in our providing locally made specialty breads  –   probably at weekends only.   We are looking to work with my friends at ‘The Lazy Bakery’ from Rye or with ‘Dockers Bakery’ in Folkestone – both being really good artisan producer specialising in lovely sourdoughs and the like.   If this is something you think you’d consider purchasing, please just drop me an email at  or better still pop in for a bite and let me know personally. Good positive feedback will help us decide if this is something we’can work towards.’   Thanks Kelly

Crew mmember Paul with all that is left from todays catch!

Fish Hut 1

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Dungeness circa 1885 – Local Author ‘Secrets of the Shingle’

Local author Emma Batten has just released her first work of fiction – and a very good read it is.
The story is set in Dungeness around the 1890’s and really does provide a good ‘picture’ and feel for the area around that time. Emma has gone to great lengths for  factual accuracy – even down to the times of the trains running from Lydd to Dungeness.
The story of a school teacher from Ashford expecting her new position at the Dungeness school to be in a lovely seaside village. Some hopes!   And of course her difficulty in fitting in with the locals.

‘Secrets of the Shingle’ is available on kindle for £2-50 or for other formats of e-reader on: /

Also available as a paperback (£9.99) from the Romney Marsh Visitor Centre, and at both Dungeness and New Romney RH&DR Stations or by contacting Emma through her website A copy can be delivered locally for £7.50 or posted for £9.99

Again – a very good read and well worth a ‘tenner’. A nice little stocking filler!!! Reviews would be most welcome through this website!

About Emma Batten – Self Publishing Author
I live on Romney Marsh and love to combine my interest in local history with creative writing. It’s important to me that the historical details are accurate and to give my readers an authentic insight of life here on Romney Marsh, as well as creating believable plots.

I am an active member of  Marsh Ink Writers’ Group. Meeting other local writers gives me motivation and there is always something new to learn.

Coming soon ‘A Place called Hope’, based around New Romney and Hope.

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Award Winning Photo

Reproduced with the kind permission of the Kentish Express.

Photograph by Alex Lacobet

The picture also appeared in the national press.

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Lifeboat Donation

The RNLI lifeboat station at Dungeness has  received a donation in excess of £800.00 from the family of the late Mark Stanley.   The money came from individual contributions made by the many friends and family who attended the recent funeral service.

Mark, who died at the early age of 58, made national headline news, following the disasterous ‘Herald of Free Enterprise’ sinking in March 1987, which claimed the lives of  193 people.  Following the incident Mark had his sea faring licence revoked and the memories of that fateful day were to haunt him for the remaining years of his life.

His family stated he spent many hours on the beach at Dungeness, in quiet private reflection and the family, having a sea faring tradition, felt it appropriate to make the donation to the local lifeboat station.

A sad affair all round!.

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