The photography deadline is approaching fast!

Our next photography exhibition and competition, Natural Herne Bay, is very nearly here! All photos should be in to the museum by the end of next Tuesday, 15th January, please. You may submit up to 3 photos, preferably on A4 photographic paper. If you don’t have the facilities to print at home, then The Studio in Mortimer Street should be able to help, or the booth in Boots will print up to around A5 size (but please make sure your photo file is of good enough quality to print to A4 in case it’s chosen for our calendar!).

Entry forms and the full Terms and Conditions are available from here.

The exhibition will be available to see from 2nd February to 31st March, and during this time you will be able to vote for your favourites for our 2020 calendar.

Limited numbers of the 2019 calendar, featuring Leisure and Pleasure in Herne Bay, are on sale in the museum shop, subject to availability.

To stay up to date with museum events, why not subscribe to this blog?

Can you help the museum?

While our shop and main museum are open as usual this week, our exhibition room is closed until the weekend, as volunteers bustle around taking down the cemetery exhibition and setting up our next display, The Art of the Original Print, which opens on Saturday 1st December.

The museum is run entirely by volunteers, who carry out tasks including taking a shift in the museum and shop, working on marketing, organising special events and talks, and the thousand and one other tasks around running a museum – and that’s before you even start to think about organising exhibitions and displays!

We’d love to have more people on the team – the more people involved, the less the load on any individual, and after all, the museum is run for the benefit of the town.

In particular, at the moment we’re looking for someone who’s able to take on odd jobs around the building. Maybe you’re recently retired and looking for something to keep you involved in the town – or you know someone who would fit the bill!

But whatever you think you can help with, we’d love to hear from you. Please pop into the  museum to meet us for a chat, or email or phone for more information.

New Exhibition: 1914-1918 Tales from the Cemetery

Timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the ending of World War 1, our new exhibition reveals a little of the town’s history at the time and the role it played in international events, as well as telling the stories of some of our more prominent townspeople who are buried in the local cemetery.

If you’ve driven from Herne Bay to Canterbury, or along the old Thanet Way from Greenhill towards the Canterbury Road, you will have spotted our local cemetery. On the side of a hill along Canterbury Road, it houses the remains of thousands of former residents of the town. Herne Bay Cemeterians, a group of local volunteers, have recently completed a project to transcribe all of the cemetery’s memorials, and are working to research further into some of the history of the site and its residents.

Our exhibition showcases some of that research, providing fascinating insight into this part of the town’s history, and explaining about the important work the researchers have done and are still carrying out – work that will provide a vital research source for decades and even centuries to come.

There are also two publications available to purchase from the museum written and published by the group.

Red Rover Exhibition is now open

Our new exhibition is now open to the public – The Red Rover tells the story of the paddle steamer and her sister ship, how she served the town, and how she contributed to the development of the town itself.

It’s a fascinating story, about the first tourists to visit the seaside. The pier was built so they didn’t have to transfer to rowing boats to come ashore, and coaches would take them on to other parts of the county.

Do visit the museum, have a good look around our exhibition and learn something new about our wonderful town!

Delving into Deco Dress exhibition launched

The museum celebrated the launch of the new exhibition on Friday evening with a private viewing. Beer Brothers kindly sponsored refreshments, and there was a chance to chat to Sara Tomlin, whose discovery of the drawings sparked off the whole exhibition, and Marian Heath, who created the Elsa dress from the original drawing.

Marian will be holding a talk on the making of the 1920s Elsa dress on Sunday 7th January at the museum.

The exhibition provides a fascinating look into clothes and fashion in the 1920s, from regular wear to party wear. Themed activities include talks for adults and opportunities for children to try out their own design skills, including a competition to design party clothes inspired by the exhibition.

The exhibition is open until 21st January 2018. The museum is open Tuesday-Friday 11-3 and weekends 11-4.

Marian Heath of Kent Costume Trust, with her Elsa Dress, and Sara Tomlin, who found and rescued the collection

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.