Sea Scouts at Long Beach -
Long Beach has always been the spiritual home of the Sea
Scouts even when their HQ was located south of Harbour Street in
the old railway station building. After all, this stretch of
their boats and provided the launching point for all sea-based
The scene below was captured
on the promenade some time in the mid-twentieth century -
looking east towards Beach Walk and the high ground of Tankerton.
The photo was kindly provided by Jock Harnett and it is
fascinating for so many reasons....
Photo supplied by Jock Harnett
By the time the shot was snapped, Ken Treliving had obviously worked his
way up to the role of scoutmaster. He is leading this parade and
Shirley Harnett is pictured playing the drum on the left.
However, it has been a bit of a task to provide a date for the
scene! My first reaction
was ....."1950s!". However, there are some very good
reasons for saying that it is a little bit earlier.
On the left, you can just about see the
scaffolding of the old swingboats. In the "early to
mid-twentieth century", Long Beach was quite a popular piece
of waterfront and Beach Walk had an array of amusements. The swingboats were
a key feature of the 1920s/1930s and they re-emerged only briefly after World War II.
That narrows things down to a period from the 1920s to the early
At one time, the Long Beach promenade was fringed
by cafes and kiosks. By the time this photo was taken, only the
rubble of the concrete bases remained - allowing that boy on the
right to follow the parade. This narrows things down a bit
more..... to a period from the mid-1930s to the early 1950s.
Now, look at that white building in the background
on the right. This accommodated Beach Cafe and Dadd's seaside gift
shop.... but, by the 1950s, it wouldn't have been visible from
this angle. The view would have been obscured by the
whitewashed-brick presence of Jacques amusement arcade.
Jacques replaced a ramshackle collection of wooden
arcades on the western side of the Beach Walk roadway. The photo
appears to have been taken after the demolition of the wood but
before the creation of the whitewashed brick.
When we featured the photo in our weekly Chat
Column, John Harman provided a vital reference...
book, 'Whitstable Harbour Memories', page 4, there is a photo
taken from the air, dated 1937. It shows the arcade area looking
much like that in the Scout picture."
The late-1930s theory, fits in nicely with another
piece of evidence. Jock tells me that he never saw his dad
(Shirley Harnett) playing a drum in an official parade.
It's sad to think that the lads featured in the
photo were heading towards a World War. Some would no doubt be
called up to serve in the armed forces. Shirley joined the Royal
Navy and was deployed on a a small figate. One day, his vessel received
the command.... "hunt the Bismarck". Luckily, Shirley
never found it.
Of course, dating the photo isn't the only issue.
We need to know why the Sea Scouts were parading along that Long
Beach promenade. It may have been no more than a convenient parade
ground on which to practice away from the local traffic. However,
it could be that the unit had a scout hall there prior to moving
to the old railway station on the south side of Harbour
We obviously need some more information. So, it's
over to you!
Long Beach HQ -
Whatever the situation in the 1930s, we DO know
that the Sea Scouts HQ was located in that old railway station
during the 1950s. It was hardly the most convenient location as it
was set several hundred yards from both the sea and their boats.
There was also the problem that developers were beginning to
"eye up" the old
railway lands that surrounded the harbour.
All this prompted a relocation. In the late 1950s,
the present day scout hall was built on the grass bank that
fringed the Long Beach pormenade... and the older scouts helped
with the construction. The hall was a wood structure mounted on
brick pillars. The area beneath the hall floor was enclosed to
provide a store room.
The photo below (circa 1960) shows the Sea Scout
band alongside the new centre with the promenade wall as a backdrop.
Photo supplied by Jock Harnett
||1: Shirley Harnett, 2: Pat Saunders 3:
Ivor Gaul 4: Derek Foreman 5: Cyril Marsh, 6:
Les Greenwood, 7: Dave Cotgrove 8: Ken Zeederburg, 9: Dave
||1: Rod McKinnon, 2: Steve Marley 3: Les Bryant 4: Tony
Barker 5: ???? 6: Michael Foreman 7: 'Cowpuncher',
8: ????? 9: Jock Harnett, 10: Mick Dunlop 11: Glyn Wyver
When we first published this photo, we could only
name seven members of the band. Since then, Steve Marley has kindly
added to this by identifying himself along with Les Bryant, Tony
Barker and Mick Dunlop.
Keep the names coming, folks!