Sea Wall itself is the oldest of the ‘Walls’, the earth mounds built to protect the town from the sea, later becoming beach-side highways and paths that houses were built on.
This beach area is named after the Reeves family. George Reeves, a local builder.
The lower level land behind Sea Wall at this point was turned into a commercial roller skating rink in 1914 called ‘The Oval’ and was popular for a few years until interest faded. Interestingly there was also one in Faversham. Must have been a short-lived craze?
In more recent years it was used by the Yacht Club for dinghy storage out of season. Looking down into this area it becomes obvious that town level is well below the sea wall level.
When the native oysters were out of season in the summer months the oyster men rented rooms out to holiday makers and promoted the benefits of Whitstable to Londoners. Whitstable is of course the first Kent seaside town on the train route from London. Over the years with more summer visitors arriving at Whitstable, the owners of the more roomy working boats would ply their trade from the beach in charging for boat trips around the bay.
The second picture shows a scene from 1900, with the bawley (a shrimping boat) “Heron” ready for passengers. This picture might never have been taken but for the inclusion of the unexpected figure of an oversized Pierrot attracting interest. Perhaps he was from a visiting show, or was performing at the nearby Assembly Rooms.
Then, on September 1st, the oyster men would be back doing what they knew best at the start of the new oyster season.