1889 – The Canterbury and Vicinity Directory – History

The “Canterbury and Vicinity Directory” of 1889 gives us an insight into Whitstable as it was that year. The details of the town are broken down into four sections, three of which are on this and subsequent pages. The section we have not included is the ‘Private Residents Directory’ as this lists only some 200 out of more than 6,000 people and is very nondescript with forenames and the spelling of surnames.

The sections transcribed here are:

  • History Of Whitstable – from the perspective of that date – follows on this page.
  • Whitstable Local Intelligence – Churches, Schools, Institutions, etc – here.
  • Whitstable Commercial Directory – Businesses and Tradesmen in categories – here.

As always, we have attempted to be true to the original, not correcting any errors in spelling that we find and hopefully not adding any of our own.

HISTORY OF WHITSTABLE.

A SEAPORT TOWN in the Eastern Division of Kent, and a polling place for the same, 6 miles n. distant from Canterbury, 4.5 miles from Herne Bay, 7 N.E. from Faversham, 87 from London by road, and 60 by the L. C. & D. Railway. It is the harbour of Canterbury, in the County Court district, Archdeaconry and Diocese of Canterbury.

The town is ancient, pleasant, and in a picturesque position on the Kentish coast.

Here are two stations in opposite positions of the town – the L. C. & D. (which is the nearest rote to the Metropolis), is situated at the top of Oxford Street, and the South Eastern within the Harbour.

Its revenues are derived from the coasting and coal trades and its fisheries. The Oyster fishery producing the far-famed “Natives” is the property of the Company of Free Fishers and Dredgers of the Manor and Royalty of Whitstable. It is governed by a foreman, a deputy, and twelve jurors chosen annually from its Court, held in July. The company numbered 554 members in 1889, who are admitted by right of inheritance, taking up their freedom at the age of twenty-one. The first male of each member is now only admitted. The freemen of the company share equally in all its propoerty and privileges, and their widows are granted pensions. A large number of boats are employed in the fishery, and form objects of considerable interest as seen cruising near the shore.

Large quantities of the young oysters are deposited by the tide on the sands at Herne Bay, which, at low water are (as far as possible), collected and conveyed back to Whitstable; the collecting of these young oysters gives employment to a number of poor of the district. Large sums are spent annually in the purchase of brood.

Although Whitstable presents no ostentatious pretensions to the name of a watering-place, it has, nevertheless, been frequented by numerous visitors during the last few years, and it may be safely asserted that, were it sufficiently provided with sutable accommodation for strangers, and placed under the government of a Local Board, it would speedily rise fron its dormant state, and be able to compete with most of the great watering-places of Kent.

There are many important events that Whitstable has given birth to, but for want of space we cannot do better than refer those of our readers who look for Historical Notes to peruse the “Local Guide to Whitstable and its Surroundings,” published by Mr. W. J. Cox, bookseller, High Street, price 6d., and which will be found to contain all that the greatest bookworm may require.

The Church, dedicated to All Saints’, is an ancient stone fabric, situate about one mile from the town, erected on the top of a hill in the hamlet of Church Street, or, as was formerly called, the old village, and consists of chancel, nave, north aisle, and square tower. The living is a perpetual curacy, held by the Rev. H. M. Maugham M.A. On the death of Rev. R. J. Morris, in 1868, the living of Seasalter was separated from Whitstable.

St. Peter’s Mission. – During the incumbency of the Rev. Hugh W. Batemen, M.A., in 1870, a Mission Church was opened in Harbour Place, to afford the numerous parishioners of Whitstable, residing in that locality, greater facilities for public worship. There is a school attached. The Rev. H. M. Maugham obtained a liberal grant from the Additional Curates’ Society, which enabled him to procure the assistance of a curate – the Rev. C. Newton Bennett is the resident curate. There is a school attached to the Church.

The Congregational Church, situated in High Street, dating from 1792, ws originally a wooden building, but was taken down and rebuilt of brick in 1833, destroyed by fire in 1854, the present edifice being erected the following year, and enlarged in 1860. There is a commodious Schoolrom, capable of accommodating nearly 400 children. Pastor, Rev. Clare Jones.

The Wesleyan Chapel, in Argyle Road, is a substantial and spacious edifice, erected in 1868, and opened in October of the same year. Minister, Rev. W. J. Hedley.

The Baptist Chapel, situated in the Middle Wall, formerly belonging to the Wesleyans, of whom the Baptists purchased it, in 1875. for £500. It has since been renovated and relighted at a cost of over £60. The services are at present conducted by supplies.

There is also a Primitive Methodist Chapel in Albert Street. Minister. Rev. G. Chunn.

Whitstable contains a School Board and School Board Schools, which are used for the Parishes Of Whitstable and Seasalter united, and situated in Oxford Street. There is also St. Alphage’s Schools for Girls and Infants, near the L. C. & D. Railway Station; and the Whitstable and Seasalter Schools, situated near St. Alphage’s Church, with residence attached for master and mistress. There are also Sunday Schools attached to the different Places of Worship.

Tankerton Tower, the manor of Whitstable, formerly belonging to the late W. Ellis, Esq., is situated on an eminence commanding an extensive view of the sea, is now the seat of Sidney Wynngraystone, Esq.

The Harbour is the property of the South Eastern Railway Company.

The charities of the town are considerable. Population, in 1881, including that part in Seasalter, was about 6,000.

Parish Clerk and Sexton – Henry Wood.


SEASALTER is a parish deriving its name from its proximity to the sea: there is no village, but the greater part of Whitstable is situated in this parish, which is in the same jurisdiction as Whitstable. The Church, St. Alphage, situated in High Street, erected in 1845, is a neat brick edifice, built in the Gothic style of architecture, having a nave, transept, aisles, chancel, and stone tower. The living is a vicarage, held by the Rev. W. Blizzard, M.A.


SWALECLIFFE, a small parish situated near the cliffs, about 1.75 miles E. from Whitstable, and is in the same jurisdiction. The walk along the cliffs is delightful. The village contains a population of about 170, consisting principal of the working classes. The Church, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, is a small, neat, ancient structure, consistng of a nave and chancel, with shingle spire and steeple with one bell. The living is a rectory, lately held by the Rev. Reginald J. Karney, M.A. Here is a Charitable Trust School. Post Office – Edward Everall, Receiver. Letters arrive from Whitstable, and are delivered at 10 a.m.; despatched at 5 p.m.

That’s the place. Now the people.
  • Whitstable Local Intelligence – Churches, Schools, Institutions, etc – here.
  • Whitstable Commercial Directory – Businesses and Tradesmen in categories – here.