This film is part of Free

Herne Bay Pier & Prince Charles visits Westgate in Canterbury

Herne Bay's pier suffers a battering in this 1978 film by John Clague, which later shows the great and good of Canterbury greeting their royal visitor, Prince Charles

Amateur film 1978 4 mins Silent

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Logo for Screen Archive South East


John Clague's 1978 film opens with views of the battered pier at Herne Bay after a January storm. Smashed into two sections the forlorn pier waits for the clean-up. The following November HRH Prince Charles visits Canterbury. Crowds line the streets while the ancient city's worthies await the Prince of Wales. After negotiating a gaggle of paparazzi, the Prince greets well-wishers before passing through the West Gate followed by marching soldiers and military bands

John Clague was a keen amateur filmmaker based in Herne Bay. From 1934 to 1970 he produced annual newsreels showing events in Kent, particularly in Herne Bay and Canterbury. An architect by profession, John was responsible for renovating the Herne Bay pier's pavilion after a disastrous fire in 1970. This new building was opened in 1976 by Edward Heath. However, the storms which hit the pier in January 1978, as seen in the film, and another in February 1979, effectively cut the structure in two. The remaining central sections were demolished in 1980 while the original pier head, which was too sturdily built for demolition, remains as an isolated stump over a kilometre out to sea.