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Second Whitstable Sea Scouts

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Sea Scouts and the Old Carnivals


The Sea Scouts have been regular participants in local carnivals for many years and, thanks to Jock Harnett, we can supply some very old photos as evidence. These should create some "name spotting" and "date identification" games around the world.... but don't overlook the backgrounds as these are as fascinating as the main subjects!


First.... A Carnival Note


As you will see, most of the carnival photos on this page feature the Second Whitstable unit in Cromwell Road... and that may confuse some of our younger readers.

The reason is that the carnivals originally followed a very different route from those of today. In the past, the procession formed in Cromwell Road - facing north towards the harbour. It then followed the route shown below - rotating around the Tollgate at the foot of Borstal Hill and making a second pass through the town centre before proceeding on to the Carnival Ball at the Marine Hotel in Tankerton....



Our Oldest Photo?


I am going to hazard a guess here.... and suggest that our first photo is also our oldest contribution...


Photo supplied by Jock Harnett


It was taken in Cromwell Road alongside a builders merchants site that is now occupied by the Royal Mail sorting office. The floppy style of the caps suggest that this could be the 1920s or early 1930s.


An Un-Developed Junction?


Our next shot is probably taken around the same time and the background is of particular interest.    


Photo supplied by Jock Harnett


The photo is taken at the corner of Cromwell Road and Railway Avenue - looking south towards the main London-Thanet rail line. The scouts are standing in Cromwell Road but the houses are located in Railway Avenue.

The fenced-off area to the left is a garden that would later be developed as Weatherly's bakery/shop and become Stock's DIY centre of modern times. That very distinctive style of fencing was quite popular during the 1920s. 

The detached house in the centre of the photo was occupied by a very important person at one time. That was Mr Gann - the station master. Back in the 1920s, the position carried great responsibility as it included control of the main line station, goods siding in Belmont Road and Tankerton Halt on the old Crab & Winkle line. It also included the role of... wait for it..... harbour master!


Sea Scouts of the 1930s?


Now we move to some shots that I am tentatively placing in the 1930s.... but, please email me if you know different! Let's start with the one that I am most sure about....


Photo supplied by Jock Harnett


The Sea Scouts are lined up alongside the entrance to Westmeads recreation ground and, for the first time, they are using a prop.... in the form of a decorated scout sailing dinghy. A very young Shirley Harnett is featured alongside the bow... on the port side (next to the scout cubs)! The back of the photo is annotated "Jubilee Carnival". That refers to George V who reigned from 1910 until his death in January 1936. His Silver Jubilee took place in.... 1935.

Armed with this knowledge we can place the next photo as early-to-mid 1930s. It was taken close to the junction formed by Cromwell Road and Regent Street and the houses back on to the main London-Thanet railway line.....


Photo supplied by Jock Harnett


I am going to date it around 1933 or 1934! The reason is that an "even younger looking" Shirley Harnett is the tall lad holding a collecting tin in the front row. Ken Treliving  is featured (second from right) and it doesn't look as if he had become scout master. Ken was obviously still making his way up through the ranks!

Incidentally, just to the left of Shirley, there is a lad with a cloth cap in the background. Jock Harnett tells me that this was Alf Tilley. He turned up without his uniform and was discretely hidden away at the back of the line up! Alf is still around town and may be able to name some of the personnel for us.

The final photo in this sequence shows the scouts making ready near the entrance to Westmeads recreation ground. The old drill hall can be seen in the background.... 


Photo supplied by Jock Harnett


By then, Ken Treliving (flag in hand) was wearing the complete "officer" outfit and his attire matches a late 1930s photo that we have featured on our "Sea Scouts at Long Beach" page. So, I will place the carnival photo in a similar time frame. However, there is perhaps a reason to suggest that it is a year or two later than the Long Beach shot.

The scouts look younger and I cannot locate Shirley Harnett. Had the older lads been conscripted into the armed forces in readiness for war? Was this one of the last carnivals before the conflict began?


Over To You...


I must admit that I am a bit lost as far as the next selection of shots is concerned! The first is taken alongside the Seath & Sons builders merchants in Cromwell Road (ie the current day Royal Mail sorting office).....


Photo supplied by Jock Harnett


Quite a few scouts progressed to the armed forces... but they never forgot their connections with the Second Whitstable. Thus, when on leave, some returned to take part in parades and carnivals. Apart from the soldier with the drum, we can pick out a member of the Royal Navy at the rear. This could mean that the photo was taken in the late 1930s during the build up to WWII.... or "early 1950s" when national service was in full swing. The membership of the unit seems to be much larger than our 1930s photos. Thus, I will tentatively plump for the early 1950s... and wait to be corrected!

The builders merchants also provides the backdrop for the next shot taken at the junction of Cromwell and Wheatley Roads.....


Photo supplied by Jock Harnett


Suggestions would be welcome!   


Sea Scouts of the 1950s?


We appear to have reached the 1950s in our final shot....


Photo supplied by Jock Harnett


Ken Treliving is now leading the unit (wearing the officer's cap). However, the key piece of evidence is on the lorry following behind the scouts. The vehicle is the carnival entry of the Whitstable & Tankerton Hospital and the narrow banner has a message.... 



Nye Bevan is accredited with being the founder of the National Health Service and that came about in 1948. However, things may have moved on a bit by the time that the hospital float was created because the staff of the Whit-Tank are clearly unhappy about something financial. So, could this be 1952 when prescription charges were introduced. Blimey..... our carnivals could get quite political at times!

I certainly wouldn't date the photo much later.... for a very good reason. During the mid-to-late 1950s, the Sea Scouts really got into the spirit of carnivals by appearing in fancy dress. For that story, you will need to consult our Carnival Fancy Dress of the '50s page.   

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