Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Big Slipway

Celebrating the early return of summer, which has me squinting at my laptop screen in the sunshine of my garden, a photo of St Mildred's Bay at Westgate, in the fifties.

I can still recall the rowing boat with the big wheels on the big slipway, which no longer exists and the wiry, weather-beaten, retired sailor whose name I can't remember, who used to charge sixpence for a row around the bay in the sixties.

If you think about it, no one could possibly leave his boat there overnight in the 21st century and expect to find it in one piece the next morning, the same with the deck chairs.

But that was fifty years ago and Thanet was a very different place, as far away in time as the the First World War (below) nearly half century earlier.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great to see pictures of the good days when school children were disciplined at school and by their parents at home when necessary. Beach inspectors, and students manned the safety boats. The old standards were the best hopefully somebody will turn around the modern day thinking.

Anonymous said...

The boatman's name was Bill Miller and his son, Gordon, was a barman in the Walmer Castle.

DrMoores said...

Thanks for that. Isn't a weblog a wonderful thing to jog the collective memory!

Jeremy Jacobs said...

Exactly. I have similar memories of Foreness Bay in the 60's

Anonymous said...

Good old picture that,
I knew Bill Miller pretty well and went and did a series of portraits of him at home in the early 70's, I will try to look them out and post one here later, might take a while to find? Maybe.
Barrie

Tony Beachcomber said...

The original picture was taken by Sumbeam photo ltd, 82 sweyn road,margate for the margate publicity department of the then town council. The sumbeam collection is now in the Margate Museum and can be veiwed on request, just ask Bob the curator.

M Lloyd said...

Bill Miller's boat was called the "Joken", a rare example of a 'wherry'. During the late 1960s as a local child I would often stop to talk to Bill in his old green shed that used to be behind the horseshoe of council beach huts. I'm sure I recall him telling me that his 'shed' was actually a former Margate sea bathing hut and that the large cartwheels used to pull Joken up the slipway were also once part of the same horse-drawn vehicle.