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Whitstable's Steam Packet

Issue: 4 Date 1st February 2021

A copy free feature of a brief history of the public house on the South Quay of Whitstable Harbour, illustrated in photographs and old postcards

From a Public House serving passengers, sailors, dock workers and railway staff at Whitstable Harbour, a Customs and Excise Office, Harbour Masters Flat, Social Amenity, Whitstable & District Angling Society HQ and a Commercial Radio Station

Steam Packet in 1900

The original 'Steam Packet' on Harbour Street, leading to Tankerton Road

* Gorrell Reservoir to the right

The SE & CR (South Eastern & Charham Railway) railway link between Caterbury and Whitstable known as the 'Crab and Winkle' opened in 1830 taking seafood from the new harbour

SECR Gates

Last remnant of the 'Crab & Winkle' line, gates at the harbour (29th June 2015)

England's first railway to convey passengers and container transport in steam, it boasted the first railway tunnel and first to issue season tickets

By the arly 1950's it became uneconomical and closed on 1st December 1952, opening briefly to provide aid following the catastrophic flood of the eastern coast in February 1953

SECR Gates

Last remnant of the 'Crab & Winkle' line, gates at the harbour (29th June 2015)


Steam Packet in 1900

'Steam Packet' built in 1836 destroyed by fire

Marmion Road

Marmion Road now Cromwell Road (1890's)

Gorrell Reservoir

Gorrell Reservoir (1903)

Once named Marmion Road was the Northern section of Cromwell Road

Gorrell Reservoir 1903

Gorrell Reservoir (1903)

The 'Steam Packet' right of centre

Gorrell Reservoir

Gorrell Reservoir (1903)

Return view towards the sluice gates feeding the reservoir

Steam Packet 1913

'Steam Packet'

Burnt down and totally destroyed by fire from a faulty stove in the early hours of Sunday 19th October 1913

Documented Report

Cromwell Road

Cromwell Road looking at the boarded up plot of the old 'Steam Packet'

Stephens Family

Louisa (Louie) standing, daughters, Winnie, Vera and Joan with Richard Stephens

Document 1

Bar Maids

Winnie and Vera

The girls probably assisted in the pub

1953 Floods

Reservoir Road in the 1950's floods (1953)

Steam Packet 1962

'Steam Packet' from the North Quay (1962)

Document 2

Reference CCA-UD-WT/O/P/ES/69/361 the 'Steam Packet', Harbour Street, Whitstable, change of use of ground floor only from club to dockers welfare amenity block (1969)

Anggling Club Logo

Whitstable and District Angling Society Emblem

In 1986 Whitstable and District Angling Society with Chairman Roland Joint leased the 'Steam Packet' Harbour Street, Whitstable, Kent, CT5 1AB from the Harbour Board (Canterbury City Council)

When the Red Sand Maunsell Sea Fort Southern Gun Tower lost its fendering in 2008, Red Sands Radio came ashore to broadcast from the old Steam Packet from 2009-2014

Buildin in August 2014

The 'Steam Packet' (07.01 on 2nd August 2014)

Building in use by Whitstable & District Angling Society with above the Red Sands Radio Studios

With the threat of the buildings closure Red Sands Radio looked at relocating elsewhere at the Harbour

Vattenfall generously offered their building on the West Quay but 'red tape' thwarted the plan

Subsequently, the Red Sands Radio model was trialed in Greenwich and ultimately rewarded a full term commercial radio licence to broadcast as Maritime Radio

Press Report 2016

The 'Steam Packet' (Whitstable Times 3rd February 2016)

Large Image

Two years passed before the Angling Society pulled out, subsequently still under threat of demolition the building has been leased to Michael Marsh for preserving seafood for the Harbour Garden Cafe (2019)

Ancestral Research by Margaret Lewis, images courtesy of the Jerry Pitcher Collection, Douglas West, Garth Wyver and Red Sands Radio

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