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Whitstable Town FC: The 1950s Legacy

Article Produced in Conjunction with Ian Johnson

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Introduction

 

In 2007, Whitstable gained promotion from the 'reformed' Kent League to the Ryman Isthmian Division 1 South. In so doing, they achieved their highest league status since the 1950s and, hopefully, initiated another Golden Era for both the club and the football enthusiasts of the town.

Much hard work has been expended on achieving this progression and the work goes back to the late 1970s. It has been a case of repairing the decay of the 1960s, adding to the facilities and building on the Belmont legacy left from the hard work of the 1940s/1950s.  

On this page, we look at some of that legacy by identifying features and structures that still remain from the previous Golden Era.

  

Structures of the 1950s

  

On our Introduction page, we provided this plan of the Belmont of the 1950s....

   

  

Many of the numbered structures remain to this day. Let's take them in turn.....

 

Structure 1. The Changing Rooms...

The old slate roofed building has been a symbol of the Belmont for 60 years and it is still in use. However, over the years, it has been extended on both sides to meet changing space standards. The western extension is built over the old 'officials' stand (Structure 2 on the plan above).

 

   

Structure 3: The Main Stand

The main stand has been repaired and enhanced over the years but, 60 years on, it is still a familiar and cosy feature of the Belmont scenery.... 

 

    

Structure 4: The Covered Terrace....

This is still very much in use at the Gas Works End..... 

  

  

However, it has been revamped slightly. Transparent windbreaks have been added at each end and the roof has been modified. Back in the 1950s, the roof was in two parts. The rear portion was mounted on concrete pillars. Wood beams were attached to each pillar and these supported an 'overhanging' section of roof. This can be seen in the following extract from a 1960s photo kindly sent to us by Barbara Wardle.... 

   

   

In recent times, the wood beams and overhanging section of roof have been removed.

Another  change is that there are now no gasometers! The lands of the old gasworks are being redeveloped as a housing complex. However, the name "Gas Works End" remains as yet another legacy of the past. 

 

5. The Old Committee Room

This survives and is used on match days as a club shop... 

 

   

6. The Old Refreshment Kiosk

After being used as a storage hut for many years, it is now used as a committee room.

  

7 & 8. The Touchline Barriers & Walkways

Much of the original railing remains but, in order to meet the ground standards of higher grade football, solid panels have been fixed to it....

    


Above; Margate fans line the solid barrier at The Gorrell Stream End in 2006

   

The old cinder walkways became overgrown during the 1960s and have now been replaced by concrete paths.

  

New  Facilities....

 

Of course, new facilities have been added that 1950s officials could only dream about.... including a club house... and floodlights....

  

 

      

The New Golden Era...

   

As the current guardians and benefactors of the club take Whitstable into the Ryman Isthmian League and a new era in the club's history begins, I find myself wondering about those guardians and benefactors of the late1940s. When they mixed their first wheelbarrow full of cement, did they ever suspect that they would be building one golden era and contributing to another.... or that the two eras would nestle in different millenniums? 

  


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