The site of the Old Neptune was probably occupied by a boatyard workshop. Placed on the edge of the beach in the teeth of estuary storms and gales; the original building has long been washed away.
In 1853 the ‘Old Neptune’ beer house suffered serious structural damage when an exceptionally high tide combined with a northerly gale washed away her foundations.
Another great storm in 1883 resulted in the wrecking of several vessels awaiting repair along the shore. The Neptune, although spared this time, was used as a temporary morgue to receive the bodies of those killed in the storm.
Finally in 1897 the old wooden building was completely washed away in another great storm.
The ‘Old Neptune’ was rebuilt, using timber reclaimed from the original structure and several other cottages that had also been destroyed.
The building has warped and twisted over the years owing too its old wooden foundations, however the timber structure seems to accommodate this movement as can be seen in the window frames and sloping floor.
For the full story and excellent illustrations read ‘ALES & TALES’ – Pubs in the Story of Whitstable by G Pike, M Page and J Cann. ISBN 0-9515828-3-6.
Available from Whitstable Improvement Trust 34 Harbour Street.
Whitstable Museum or Whitstable Information Centre.