The Harbour Street Christian Fellowship in
Whitstable is immediately north of the High Street. The building to
the right is also part of the Fellowship's holdings here, with a shop
frontage which leads into a meeting and reception room. The Fellowship
is an independent church which has a history dating back to 11 November
1869, when Captain Jull, a naval officer, began preaching amongst the
smouldering remains of 'The Spread Eagle Inn' after the Great Fire of
The site was sold in 1871 to a Congregational Church
member, Cephas Foad, but changed hands frequently until 1924. After 1945,
a Trust was established to secure what was then Harbour Street Evangelical
Fellowship for its congregation of ordinary working folk, also securing the
adjoining building. Hamilton Road Church was also established in 1964 (below).
In 2006 repair and development work was set underway to open up the Fellowship
to the wider public.
The Primitive Methodist Chapel building is on
Albert Road. It existed as a separate Methodist church in Whitstable for
many years, uniting with its sister church in 1935. During the Second World
War the building was damaged by enemy action and afterwards the membership
aged and declined. The 1953 flood proved the last straw. The building was
closed following the Harvest Festival Service of 20 September 1957. Its
twenty-one members joined St John's.
Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses is on the
north-east corner of St Peter's Road and Albert Street. The hall was
originally built as Albert Street Infants School (for boarders) in 1879,
just two years after the first state schools were built in nearby Oxford
Street. It closed in 1904 and became a Domestic Economy Centre for young
girls. In the 1950s or 1960s it became a professional kitchen, supplying
meals to schools, before passing onto its present occupiers.
The Parish Church of St Peter is on the corner
of St Peter's Road and Sydenham Street. One of the most recent church
buildings in the town, it is surrounded by small terraced houses built
mainly for the employees of the local fishing trade, with the result
that it is often known as 'The Fisherman's Church'. The keystone on
the lower front wall below the windows (above the red car here) reads,
'...this stone was laid on August 5th 1929 by Edith Murdoch Davidson.'
The builder of what is also known as St Peter's New
Church was G Browning. In 1870 a mission church was opened near the site,
in the Temperance Hotel on Bexley Street. A more long-term solution was
required, and in 1898 funds were raised to secure a plot of land. In
1902 a foundation stone was laid for a brick alter and sanctuary, expanded
in 1904, with a nave being added in 1924, and in 1925 the church was
completed with the addition of the nave and transepts.
Hamilton Road Evangelical Church is on the
northern side of the road. The church has had many names in the course
of its existence, and a complicated history. The original building in
Harbour Street was destroyed in the great fire of 1869. The site was
sold to Cephas Foad, in 1871, who built 'The Room' which served as
the Chapel of the Plymouth Brethren from 1875 (see above).
In 1879 it became 'The Meeting', before apparently switching back to
'The Room' in 1904.
Again, in 1915, the name was changed, this time to
'The Gospel Hall'. In 1941 the chapel was sold and was renamed Harbour
Street Evangelical Church. The Hamilton Road Mission was opened further
inland, and during the Second World War, Francis Dixon (1910-1985) was
pastor. The current church building was constructed and opened in 1964,
with a service of dedication in 1965. The Evangelical church on Harbour
Street was subsequently renamed (see above).
St Andrew's Church is on the corner of Grimshill
Road and Saddleton Road. 'Grimshill', and many other local variants,
originates from the former Grymgill Manor which had fallen into disuse by
1800. That building's location is uncertain, but it may have become a farm
somewhere close to the present church site, well before anything was built
here. It was on the old 'Salt Way' route from Seasalter to Canterbury, and
probably saw a lot of foot and horse traffic in its time.
Although the church was built for an expanding
congregation in the late twentieth century, by 2009 the morning
Sunday service had been cancelled, and only the early evening
service was still being held. Additionally, the contact details for
baptisms, marriages and deaths had been blanked out with sealing
tape. However, the church still serves as a support centre for many
local organisations, including the police, a St John's ambulance
unit, and a brass band.
Nine photos on this page by P L Kessler, and
one kindly contributed by M Kessler.