Reading Street Dutch Gables

Broadstairs, Kent, England, UK

Partly demolished 1950s

The Disappointed Tourist: Reading Street Dutch Gables, Ellen Harvey, 2021. Oil and acrylic on Gessoboard, 18 x 24″ (46 x 61 cm). Photograph: Etienne Frossard.

For the last twelve years, in my retirement, I have been studying mainly 17th and 18th century houses with curvilinear gables, commonly known (incorrectly) as Dutch or even (possibly more rightly) Flemish gables. I’ve visited all 180 listed examples in Kent plus as many in Norfolk and Suffolk – the three main counties in England. Some are little more than rude cottages, but others are a feast of ornate, even intricate brickwork. As a result of my research I have found references to, plus drawings of and rarely a photograph of ones that are no more. One former hamlet, now a suburb almost of Broadstairs, known as Reading Street (a single road) had a range of them according to an 1887 account the latter also including some drawings. One was demolished as recently as the 1950’s. Gordon T.

Houses on Reading Street in Broadstairs: the front building was demolished in the 1950s, apparently the rear one is still standing. The painting is based on a photograph provided by Gordon.