Have you been to the latest exhibition at the Seaside Musuem yet?
The story behind the exhibition began a couple of years ago when a lady in Falmouth left them a maritime painting from the 1830’s of a paddle steamer called the Red Rover. It was not until we began to research the history of the ship did we realise the enormous significance the Red Rover had for the development of Herne Bay. Before the 1830s, there was next-to-nothing at Herne Bay; it was just a tiny seaside hamlet where coastal sailing vessels unloaded goods on the beach primarily intended for Canterbury.
However, in 1830, a group of entrepreneurs began to buy up land to develop one of the very first new towns in the UK. Their plan hinged on building the longest pier in the world that would enable paddle-steamers to dock at any state of the tide. Herne Bay was conceived, designed and promoted to cash in on the growth of the paddle-steamer trade between London and the North Kent coast and the Red Rover was to play a crucial role in their plans. The story of the Red Rover really is the story of the foundation of Herne Bay.
Their exhibition tells a fascinating tale of ambition, disaster and disappointment. Disaster because the Red Rover was sunk in a collision when she was barely a year old but was raised by revolutionary techniques for the time and put back into service. However, she eventually lost out to the coming of the railways to North Kent. The original investors fared no better and their concept of a high-class development for the wealthy did not work out well and most of them lost their money. If the railway spelled the end of the coastal paddle steamers it was the saviour of Herne Bay which only really took off after the line was opened in 1861.
Dates and opening times as per the poster.