Rail & Tea, 3/9 each

Written by Robert Crook

My memory of Sandgates first tragedy – what I call the first ‘bomb’ on Sandgate! Sandgate had its own railway station which connected to Sandling junction – changing to the main line to London. I travelled on it many times. It was quite unique – upon arriving at Sandgate station the engine had to be transferred to the opposite end to take it back to Sandling.

Very many people from London came to Sandgate for their Summer Holidays – one reason for this was the posters that appeared on London railway stations advertising excursions to Sandgate – so many people took advantage of this and booked holidays.

The inhabitants depended on them for a living – almost every house would take in boarders who spent so much money in Sandgate.

Unfortunately the station closed in 1931 – trains only went to Hythe. The Sandgate Urban District Council did all they could to keep it open and my Grandfather wrote many letters. The journey from Sandgate to Hythe was very uneven and there were several small landslides which caused clogging wheels and bad accidents. 

Trains from London now used Hythe Station and transport was arranged for a bus to meet passengers and take them to Sandgate. This however proved very unsatisfactory. Heavy busses caused considerable damage to the road surface and it was an awkward job to turn them around at Hythe Station. Very often passengers were left stranded at Hythe Station with no bus.

The numbers of holiday makers fell dramatically, in my opinion trade was cut by 20-50%, as Sandgate no longer appeared on London Railway Station ads. This tragedy was brought home to me when I was appointed Rating Officer in 1933. It was part of my duty to call on inhabitants who were very much in arrears with their rates. The Rating Officer, Mr Cloke, made it clear to me that we must have sympathy for these people because their income had been so reduced and that I should accept any amount, however small, that they should offer