Westgate Heritage Centre
* Currently closed until further notice *
Westgate Heritage Centre aims to tell the story of Westgate on Sea, a unique Victorian development, from 1865 the year when the first houses were built to the present day.
St Saviour’s Church, in which the Westgate Heritage Centre is based, is Grade 2 listed. Built of Kentish ragstone with door and window surrounds of Bath stone, it was designed by Charles Nightingale Beazley RIBA, architect to the Westgate Estate. Historically it is important, as it is the only remaining church in Kent that was designed to be an integral part of a planned Estate.
It was opened 23rd July 1884, when the new parish of St Saviour Westgate-on-Sea was created.
The church’s fine stained glass includes an east window designed by Charles Kempe, a major Victorian stained glass artist, given by A.B. Mitford, grandfather to the Mitford Girls. Six more windows are from Kempe’s studio and five from the Whitefriars. The church has an exceptionally good collection of War Memorials from both World Wars, including the comparatively rare temporary Rolls of Honour, which hung in the church porch during the First World War. They contain the names of all Westgate men who were serving – over 400 in all.
The Heritage Centre has researched the Memorials and has profiles of all those named on the permanent memorials – 78 from the First World War and 33 from the Second. The church also houses the Memorial Boards of Wellington House Boys’ Preparatory School, which closed in 1970.
The church has a ring of six bells, installed in 1974. Five are from the redundant church of Holy Cross Canterbury and include a rare bell by Stephen de Norton of Maidstone c1375.
St Saviour’s Church has fourteen War Memorials. Do visit the church and learn about those remembered on them.
Beginning May-end August every Saturday, 10am-12pm & Wednesday 11am-1pm.
Based in St Saviour’s Parish Church, the accessible ramped doorway can accommodate wheelchairs and scooters, with someone available to assist if necessary. The Centre is located on the ground floor of the Church; this and the rest of the Church building are accessible. There is somewhere to sit and read, or view information, as well as talk to staff.
A Hearing Loop is installed and there are Large Print archive folders, and original historic documents and maps are available in various sizes. Illuminated magnifying glasses are available, but no Braille.
There are no accessible toilets on site but the nearest public toilets are at West Bay beach (CT8 8SA), approximately 480 metres from the Centre. There is on-street parking very close by, although no designated Blue Badge bays.
Facilities for hearing impaired
Facilities for visually impaired
Guide Dogs, Hearing Dogs and Registered Assistance Dogs welcome