Monday, 9 August 2010

Allhallows-on-Sea Resort

Last week, I met 89 year-old Hazel Stockbridge, whose family is linked to mine through the Stratford family. He has proudly lived and worked on the Hoo Peninsula all his life and has resided in High Halstow, St. Mary Hoo, Lower Stoke, Hoo and Allhallows. We talked about his childhood, particularly about when he moved to Allhallows, aged 14, and worked with his parents at the then growing Allhallows-on-Sea resort. His father was chauffeur to the enterprising local farmer that owned the land on which the resort was built. His mother managed numerous beach and resort facilities, including a purpose-built cafe. Hazel's mother also managed the cafe at the railway station – used by many thousands of visiting tourists.

Much was planned for the resort at Allhallows, but the outbreak of war meant that most of these plans never materialised. The development, which was set to take 7 years to complete (at a cost of millions), included the construction of an amusement park that was four times the size of the one at Blackpool, zoological gardens, a yachting centre, physical training stadium, the largest swimming pool in the country (with artificial waves), a holiday camp, 5,000 houses, hotels, restaurants, theatres and cinemas. However, only an amusement park, miniature railway, a few houses and flats were actually built.

The below selection of images are of a promotional booklet that was produced for the resort. This is believed to be the only copy produced and provides a remarkable insight into how this project was to be advertised.

Many thanks to Mr Stockbridge for the time he spent talking to me about his life and experiences on the Hoo Peninsula, not least because he allowed me to film our discussions, as part of a local history project I am working on.