In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Herne Bay like this:
HERNE BAY, a town and a chapelry in Herne parish, Kent. The town stands on the coast and on the Kent Coast railway, 4 miles E by N of Whitstable, and 8½ NE by N of Canterbury. It was, till 1818, or later, only a small hamlet; it rose suddenly into celebrity as a watering place; it is laid out on a large scale, and but partially built; it exhibits a pretentious appearance, but looks incomplete; it enjoys fine air, with abundance of bathing appliances; and it has a post office‡ under Canterbury, a railway station with telegraph, two fine hotels, several respectable inns, plenty of good lodginghouses, a parade, a pier, a new town hall (used also as a theatre), a clock tower, assembly rooms, billiard rooms, libraries, reading rooms, a flourishing working men's club, a church, an Independent chapel, and a national school. ...
The parade extends along the coast for nearly a mile; and is a fine promenade, about 50 feet wide. The pier was constructed by Telford, and opened in 1833; is T-shaped, 3, 000 feet long, and 400 at the end; gives a fine view at the extremity, as if one were quite out at sea; and once served for the landing and receiving of passengers by the London steamers, but is now rapidly falling into decay. The clock tower adjoins the parade, conspicuously fronting the sea; was built in 1837, at a cost of nearly £4, 000; and serves as a land mark to mariners. The church was consecrated in 1841, having been built some years before for a dissenting chapel; is in the pointed style; and has about 800 sittings. The Independent chapel is a neat edifice, also in the pointed style; and contains about 400 sittings. On the foreshore, off the town and along the adjoining coast, are the grounds of the new oyster company, under the auspices of which important experiments relating to the culture of the oyster were, in 1865, being constantly carried on by Frank Buckland, Esq. A harbour and other works were being constructed by the company, in 1865. at Hampton, a small hamlet about a mile from the town. Numerous fragments of Roman pottery have been found in the channel near the town, and are supposed to be vestiges of cargo wrecked during the Roman times in Britain.The chapelry was constituted in 1841. Rated property, £6, 459. Pop., 1, 503. Houses, 299. The living is a p. curacy in the diocese of Canterbury. Value, variable, dependent on seat rents. Patrons, the Executors of the late Rev. H-Geary.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Herne Bay has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Canterbury. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Herne Bay and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Herne Bay, in Canterbury and Kent | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 31st March 2015
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