October 4, 2012

The Friends of Herne Bay Museum were delighted to have Hut 136 for a couple of days over the Carnival weekend in August 2012. On the Saturday, we went down and dressed the inside of the hut with the seaside postcard exhibition. I was surprised at how much we could get in a beach hut, the exhibition covered the history of the cards, the development of seaside in the 19th century and the change in social attitudes over the last 60 years. While in there I was much taken with the cinema screen effect of the constrained rectangular view you get of beach and sea. I had an idea to apply sometime for a residency and record everything that passes over a week.

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The next day other members, Jan and Sylvia, decorated the outside of the hut and stayed in attendance, Dick Eburne installed a wind up gramophone playing records from the thirties, I think it was very popular on the whole and every time I passed it was well attended.

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Jan Cook writes:

“The Beach Hut Day is something very special in Herne Bay, so the Friends of the Museum were delighted to take up the offer of the People United beach hut. Traditional saucy seaside postcards seemed very much in keeping with the spirit of the day. David and Jenny were able to borrow original post cards which they displayed very professionally inside the hut. I made 2 metre long strips of fabric and transferred 18 images of the cards onto the cloth to decorate the outside of the hut, plus a giant blown up version of David’s original postcard pastiche on the footpath side. It was a day of tittering, guffawing and outright laughter. This joyous time was considerably enhanced by the old time 78 records on Dick Eburne’s wind up gramophone.”

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Sylvia McKean writes:

“The hut was beautifully dressed – most appropriately for the subject – with great attention to detail. Many people stood and looked at the postcard images from several feet away (on the west side) for some time, you could see by their faces that they really appreciated it. Later in the afternoon, the word had got round, and people came in saying in good humour, ‘Is this the hut with the ‘dirty’ postcards?’

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Sitting outside you could hear the giggles and laughs from people who were looking at the display inside – many spent some time also reading the text. One person thought it was a regular extension of the main Museum, and asked, ‘what else would be on display here?’ Most who bought postcards were happy that the money was going in some way towards the Museum. Many remembered the postcards and said they bought back memories of their early seaside holidays. Altogether most people went off smiling to themselves and generally in a happy mood after having seen the display, thanking everyone responsible. Dick’s wind-up gramophone and records also attracted attention and was the subject of conversations.”

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As a volunteer – I really enjoyed the day – it’s so nice to talk to people who appreciate and enjoy the community spirit, humour and relaxation, in short I guess it’s what Beach Hut Day is all about.

David Cross

The beach is available for individuals and community groups to use. Please visit our Beach Hut page for more information.

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