St Margaret's at Cliffe
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|St Margaret's at Cliffe|
Chapel Lane, St Margaret's-at-Cliffe
St Margaret's at Cliffe shown within Kent
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St. Margaret's at Cliffe is a three-part village situated just off the coast road between Deal and Dover in Kent, England. The heart of the village is about 3/4 mile (1 km) from the sea with the residential area of Nelson Park further inland and St Margaret's Bay situated along and below the cliffs north of South Foreland.
Channel swimmers and submarine telephone cables start from St Margaret's Bay. The cliff above is where the sun is supposed to reach the UK first every morning. At the north end of the bay is Leathercote Point (sometimes spelt Leathercoat Point), where there is a war memorial commemorating the Dover Patrol. According to the International Hydrographic Organization, Leathercote Point marks the western end of the line which defines the divide between the North Sea and the English Channel, the opposite end being at the Walde Lighthouse near Calais.
During the Second World War most of the population were moved out and guns with their attendant military personnel were moved in. Most of the guns were anti-aircraft but there were smaller pieces intended to prevent German shipping from travelling along the French coast. There were two 15 in (380 mm) guns called "Jane" & "Clem" and there were also the two famous ex-Navy BL 14 inch Mk VII naval guns called "Winnie" and "Pooh". They originally came from the battleship HMS King George V. On one occasion when Winston Churchill was visiting, it is rumoured that "Winnie" was fired and the officer-in-charge saluted and reported: "A direct hit, Sir". "On what ?" enquired Winston, "Er – France, Sir". There was a wooden dummy of "Pooh" but it obviously did not fool the Germans as legend has it that they dropped a wooden bomb.
The parish church suffered a direct hit from German guns located in Calais but the only damage was the destruction of a window dedicated to John Knott, lighthouse keeper of South Foreland Lighthouse.
Sir Peter Ustinov was stationed in the village during WWII and liked it so much that he bought a house on the cliffs after the war. The house is now owned by Miriam Margolyes, both have hosted functions to raise funds for the new village hall.
At the other end of the beach there are cottages, two of which were owned by Noël Coward one of Which was rented by Ian fleming.
The village had its own fire station from 1896, a hand-cart that was manned by volunteer firemen who were residents of the village. At the start of the 20th Century, a second fire shed was constructed on the beach where there was a small community existing of hotels, cafés and housing. In 1936 the village purchased its first motor fire engine and housed it next to the Hope Inn in the central village. Its first emergency call was to Wanstone Court Farm, St Margarets. The Auxiliary Fire Service took the station over in 1939 and at the outbreak of WWII the Royal Marines based in the village manned the two fire engines that were stationed there. In 1945 it reverted to the National Fire Service and in 1948, with the disbandment of the NFS, Kent Fire Brigade took over. A new station was built in 1970 along Reach Road, and St Margaret's became one of the first fire stations in Kent to alert the crew by Pocket Alerter instead of the traditional siren. Kent Fire Brigade was rebranded Kent Fire & Rescue Service on 1 October 2003. The station closed on 1 April 2012 along with nine other fire stations in Kent due to restructuring by Kent Fire & Rescue Service
From March 2008, St-Margaret-at-Cliffe is in the process of becoming a "Carbon Neutral" village. The inhabitants are aiming through a mixture of cutting down emissions, increasing the insulation in their homes (to reduce energy used for heating) and installing renewable energy sources to cut down the Carbon Dioxide emissions they make to a level that is offset by tree planting and other carbon neutralisation schemes.
This initiative has been kick started by the building of a sustainable conference centre in the Pines Garden (located in St Margaret's Bay). This building, The Pines Calyx has been almost entirely built of sustainable or recycled materials by The Bay Trust. The trustees of The Bay Trust are part of the driving force behind the drive to become carbon neutral.
There has been green energy in the village since 1929, when St Margaret's Bay Windmill was built to generate electricity.
- "Limits of Oceans and Seas, 3rd edition + corrections". International Hydrographic Organization. 1971. pp. 42 [corrections to page 13] and 6. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
- "Top design award for converted rail shed". www.kentonline.co.uk. 2 December 2005. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
- Pines Garden site
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