A slideshow should be here
The cost of these holiday ‘chalets’ was about £10.00 – yes TEN pounds (with the more up market ones being £20.00). The cost of owning a shack today above £150,000.00 for a property needing rebuilding to well over £250,000.00 and rising (What recession?). This has resulted in the majority of original ‘locals’ vacating, making way for the more affluent ‘outsiders’ seeking peace and quiet and a pure escape from the rigours of the outside world.
In a way it is sad that so many locals have left as the good old ‘community’ spirit has gone – no more Mayday festivals and the local pubs no more being ‘the local’ However with the advent of the newcomers, with, quite clearly money to spend and less families residing permanently on the estate long needed changes have resulted. No more taking the ‘thunder buckets’ to the seashore at high tide (and getting it back if the wind were coming off the sea). No more hand pumping water up from the beach. No more collecting the milk in jugs from the bowser that delivered once a week oh and of course with the advent of the new fangled electricity out with the Tilly lamps. Yes, as early as 1961, the 18th century had caught up with Dungeness! Mind you we still cannot get broadband or a decent mobile signal. Incidentally there is still one house without electricity – Hopefully an interview with the hermit in residence soon. I digress – the newcomers with money are re-building – this time to government building regulations (and beyond) and producing buildings which will be here for another 150 years – which can’t be a bad thing.
And as an update at August 2019, we do now get a very good broadband thanks to the innovative local company called ‘Vfast’ with their line of site transmissions to their base in Ashford and Canterbury. Hallelujah!!!!!
The above is what remains of a railway carriage, thought to be one of six rolling stock built in 1885, for Queen Victoria’s entourage. Much of its former glory is hidden behind tongue and grooved cladding, but in 2019 the new owners embarked upon a systematic and sympathetic rebuild (internally). It is sited opposite the Britannia Public House – also known in the past as ‘The Smugglers’.
The hither to much mis-quoted Queen Victoria’s personal carriage is reported to have been delivered to Dungeness in the early 1930’s, in Southern Railway green not the brown and cream livery that would be typical of a Pullman Class carriage – and as seen in the 1950’s. Originally known as ‘Windwhistle’ the name was changed when the lovely exterior was boarded over some 30 years ago. Although authenticity as to whether Queen Victoria ever travelled within, it certainly was one of several royal coaches used for her visits around the country – and probably used by her entourage. Internal fitments did include her emblem on such things as the ‘new’ flushing toilet. Other artefacts were found within and were sold at auction in the 1970’s
Several of the shacks in this area still retain the original railway carriage (or guards vans) and these are identified by there ‘carriage’ shape. many of the others have retained the original rolling stock albeit within the walls of rebuilt structures.
Filmed in 2005 the Channel 4 programme ‘Up Your Street’ visited two ‘shacks’, both of which have retained their railway carriage/guards vans within. We are currently trying to get Channel 4’s permission to reproduce this program for those interested.
Dungeness is also the ‘end of the line’ for the Romney Hythe & Dymchurch Railway (RH&DR) which claims to be the worlds smallest public railway, having a gauge of just 15 inches.
And apologies and to avoid any confusion the photo below is not the RH&DR local station but the original main line Dungeness stop, after the Luftwaffe visited the area. This photo was taken c1952 and the structure is now nowhere to be seen. It was, however and in keeping with ‘saving the planet’, recycled sensibly – it provided two winters of fuel for the wood burner!
Towering above the small railway station and light refreshment café are the two (for the time being) nuclear power stations (known as ‘A’ and ‘B’) – (see their site- Links for a ‘guided’ tour). These two monstrosities, The ‘A’ station is currently beeing decommissioned and the other white elephant ‘B’ has just (June 2014) been granted an extension to its working life – until at least 2020. Rumours have it they will be joined by a third and then possibly a fourth plant in the not too distant future. ‘Over my dead body’ is the plaintive cry from the local – which, with another little mishap with the reactor, could possibly be a prophecy in the making.
In the meantime its ‘fission’ chips as usual at the Britannia Public House – not forgetting ‘The Pilot’ at the other end of the Estate.
Apart from the unique collection of homo sapiens that reside here Dungeness is also home to a unique variety of wildlife and more than 600 different types of plants – about one third of all plants found throughout the UK. It is also one of the best places in Britain to find rare species of moths, butterflies, bees, beetles and spiders. Many of the insects not to be found anywhere else. And not forgetting the very clear light and the relative peace and quiet.
Enjoy your stay and do visit the other sites on our Links page.