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Sea Scouts at Long Beach - Late '30s?


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 waterfront housed their boats and provided the launching point for all sea-based activities.

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 1950s.

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...


"In the 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." 

John Harman
British Columbia


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 Street. 

We obviously need some more information. So, it's over to you!


Long Beach HQ - 1960s


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 

Back Row: 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 Roberts  
Front Row: 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!

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