Bouncing bombs

Did you know where else the bouncing bombs were tested during the Second World War?

It’s common knowledge that the bombs were tested off the coast of nearby Reculver, and a statue of Barnes Wallis now stands at on the downs near the King’s Hall to commemorate the connection.

But as this report suggests, they were tested in Scotland as well.

One of the smaller, Highball bombs is a popular attraction at the Seaside Museum, Herne Bay, and we are currently making arrangements to display the fragment of the larger Upkeep bomb that was found on Reculver beach earlier this year.



Bayfest at The Seaside Museum Herne Bay

Bayfest promises to be a summer-long festival, with events throughout the town. The Seaside Museum Herne Bay is proud to present our own events in conjunction with the festival.

Children must be accompanied by an adult on all museum activities.

Wednesday 9 August 11.00-12.00 Story time and Craft at the Seaside Museum – Make wooden spoon pirates and mermaids. Free event

Thursday 10 August 11.30-3.30 Dress up in Victorian costumes at the Seaside Museum. Free event

Saturday 12 August 2.30-3.30 Local Smuggling Tales with Storyteller Rob Masters. Family activity at the Seaside Museum. Take part in a play about a true rescue of two children that happened in the sea at Herne Bay. Free event – limited numbers, please book in advance

Monday 14 August 10.30 Beach crawl – Meet at the King’s Hall. Free event – limited numbers, please book in advance.

Wednesday 16 August 11.00 Learn all about Punch and Judy with Pip the Clown at the Seaside Museum. Free event – limited numbers, please book in advance

Thursday 17 August 11.00-12.30 ‘Mr Punch’ puppet making workshop at the Seaside Museum – Part 1 Make Mr Punch. Limited numbers, please book in advance. Cost £3.00

Sunday 20 August Meet at 4.30 Travel back in time 56 million years to discover the fossils of prehistoric monsters that once lived in Herne Bay, with Phil Hadland. Booking essential. Free event. For full details please contact the Seaside Museum UPDATE: THIS EVENT IS NOW FULLY BOOKED

Tuesday 22 August 11.00

Learn all about Punch and Judy with Pip the Clown at the Seaside Museum.

Free event – limited numbers, please book in advance

Wednesday 23 August 11.00-12.00

Story time and Craft at the Seaside Museum – Clay printing.

Free event – limited numbers, please book in advance

Thursday 24 August 11.00-12.30

‘Mr Punch’ puppet making workshop at the Seaside Museum – Part 2 Paint your Mr Punch.

Limited numbers, please book in advance.


New exhibition – Cartoonists All At Sea

We all love cartoons – they seek to entertain and amuse. But sometimes their fun hides a serious message.

This new exhibition, now open, explores the relationship between cartoonists and the sea over the past hundred years or so, featuring images from notable cartoonists such as W.K. Haselden, Will Dyson, Emmwood, Giles, Strube, Trog and others, mostly original artwork.

Sometimes the sea is a literal one – as a seafaring nation we seem to view the sea with great distrust and a healthy respect for all the dangers it can hold. We are an island community fascinated with this alien element that surrounds us. We play in it, sail on it, but we never entirely trust it. It both attracts and repels us, but at least it saves us from the horror of having a land border.

Sometimes the sea is used as a metaphor for trouble or personal difficulty – politicians are seen cast adrift on a tide of events or drowning in issues beyond their control. In cartoons the ship of state can take the form of anything from a square rigger to an ocean liner, captained by a feckless prime-minister and steered toward rocks or a turbulent ocean.

Issues of the day may be analysed with a satirical edge, or the cartoons may carry propaganda to aid the war effort.

The show is in association with The British Cartoon Archive, University of Kent, who are kindly loaning all the artwork, and forms the SEASIDE MUSEUM’S contribution to the Cartoon Festival, which itself is part of BayFest, the new Herne Bay Festival.


The Wheels of Time

Join Roamin’ Rex, a time-travelling character, as he discovers Kent’s fantastic museums and heritage sites.

The Seaside Museum Herne Bay is proud to be one of the 25 museums in Kent who are part of the Wheels of Time scheme. Young visitors (5-11) may collect an exclusive badge at each museum, making an impressive collection, and there’s also a chance for 5-14 year-olds to earn learning credits for Kent Children’s University.

We have a dedicated children’s area within the museum, with hands-on activities and dressing up, as well as plenty to learn about our town’s history and development.

Our shop carries pocket-money gifts and toys.

Full details at


Life Between the Tides at Herne Bay

On Monday June 12th, Ian Tittley of the Natural History Museum presents a talk on Life between the tides at Herne Bay.

Tickets cost £5 (£4 for volunteers) and are available from the museum. Seats are limited, so please book in advance.

6.30 for 7pm start (refreshments available).

Of all the habitats in which communities animals and plants are found, none is richer than the sea shore. This narrow strip is occupied by a wide variety of life. Rock, sand and mud create quite different environments and the seashore life associated with these differ considerably.
The coastline at Herne Bay in its natural form is essentially of soft clay, sand, shingle and occasional boulders; it has, however, been much altered by man with the loss of a small estuary and the introduction of artificial substrata such as Neptune’s Arm which has created a man-made reef now densely clothed by seaweeds and animals.
We will look at the range of life in these different habitats including the West Brook at Hampton which contains saltmarsh now rare on our length of coast and perhaps formerly present at Herne Bay.
We will also encounter species washed ashore from elsewhere, and think about non-native (alien) arrivals and their impact.


Dan Dare exhibition now open

The Eagle, the British comic featuring Dan Dare, was created in response to the influence of the imported American comics, in the days after the Second World War. Originally a Chaplain, Dare developed into the Pilot of the Future, and developed a wide following amongst the boys particularly, during its publication between 1950 and 1969.

This popular exhibition shows the development from the first idea to the well-loved comic figure, and includes some of the comics, artwork, toys and ephemera that accompanied the phenomenon.

Talks by the curator, either forming a guided tour or as part of our evening talk series, help to round out this fascinating glimpse into the background of the comic, and takes many a visitor back to his childhood.

On Eagle Day, Sunday 18th June, you are welcome to bring along your own ephemera and share your memories with others.

This one is a must. Fascinating!

Photographic exhibition and competition 2018

Following the successful competition and exhibition last year, the Seaside Museum Herne Bay are running another competition this year to select photos for next year’s calendar.

People from all round the town – and from further afield – have submitted photos depicting views of the different seasons in and around the town. Museum volunteers have already chosen their favourite from each season, which will be available from the shop in postcard form.

From Saturday 18th February, the general public will have the opportunity to see the wonderful selection of entries and vote for their own favourite from each season to fill the remaining eight slots in the calendar.

The exhibition is open from Feb 18th to 23rd April, and the museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 11am to 3pm.

The 2018 Calendar will be on sale at the Museum shop from September this year.

The Seaside Museum is run entirely by volunteers.


Red Rover

Visit the Museum and view a wonderful painting, that has just docked, the Herne Bay paddle steamer


W. Brabner
oil on canvas
circa 1840

“The Red Rover” was the first ship commissioned by The Herne Bay Steam Packet Company, built in 1835.  She was one of two steam packets, the other being “The City of Canterbury”, that were generally acknowledged to be the fastest on the river.

Twice a day they sailed from London Bridge to Herne Bay Pier, a trip lasting about 5 hours and covering a distance by water of around 65 miles. A stagecoach from London would have taken twice as long or more.

This oil painting was likely to have been commissioned by the Steam Packet Co. The other steamer shown in the painting is possibly the “City of Canterbury”.

This painting comes to the SEASIDE MUSEUM via Falmouth Art Gallery. It is a bequest to Herne Bay’s museum from Mrs.Brenda Pye, a resident of Falmouth and a keen collector of paintings.

It was left to the museum through the good offices of Brian Stewart, then curator of Falmouth Art Gallery. Previously, Art & Exhibition Officer for Canterbury Museums, he was a popular and well liked figure whose parents lived in Herne Bay.

When asked by Mrs Pye to assess her collection, Brian recognised the painting’s significance immediately, and this resulted in the generous bequest.

Mrs. Pye died in 2015, outliving her advisor, who died suddenly in 2010 and is sorely missed.

It is not known how the painting ended up in Falmouth and as yet the artist has not been identified beyond the name. The painting is sound but in very great need of restoration, which is why we are showing it now and  shortly launching an appeal.


The painting needs complete restoration, before it can be seen in all its glory. The frame also needs replacing with something more in keeping with the picture’s age.

Please come and see for yourself, it looks wonderful now,

but imagine how it will look when restored.

The Estimated cost is between £1,000 and £1,500.

The SEASIDE MUSEUM is now managed by a Community Charitable Trust and manned entirely by volunteers. Funds are tight and the museum needs your help to raise the money to restore this important picture.

The first pier and the steamships that plied the route to London were the foundation of Herne Bay, then just a skeleton of the resort it was to become.

The Red Rover is Herne Bay, without it the town would probably not exist.

So please ask at the desk about contributing to the restoration fund, thank you.