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Moyle Tower and the Holiday Fellowship

A piece by Geraldine Pullin

Earlier this year I met with David Paton, a resident of Hythe, and mentioned that the only visit I had ever made to Hythe was in the late 50s/early 60s when I stayed at the Moyle Tower.

Moyle Tower - 1950's Photograph

I was still at school and as a sixth former I wanted a holiday job for the Easter school break. That job took me to what was then a Holiday Fellowship Guest House in Hythe, where I lived in as a student worker.

I had a room 'below stairs' and the day started with kitchen work preparing and serving breakfasts. Most guests were out on organised trips throughout the day and I seem to remember spreading and filling sandwiches galore for their packed lunches! The kitchen chores were followed, after the rooms emptied for the day, with a rigorous cleaning routine.

I believe there was a little respite in the afternoon before resuming in the kitchen for the evening meal.

The atmosphere was always friendly and helpful and I was young and energetic so though the work load was challenging, I enjoyed the challenge. There was chat and banter with the guests and the picture of the serving hatch and dining room brought back great memories (below: photograph of the Dining Room).

The dining room

One memory has always stayed with me. Due to the speed at which we had to move plates from the washer to the serving area, I tried to carry a stack which was too big! (no health and safety regulations then). On lifting the pile onto the counter the whole lot of white china dinner plates fell to the floor. The resounding crash brought forth a loud cheer and round of applause from the dining room! Being a teenager in my first away-from-home job I was mortified but, luckily for me, the permanent staff were very understanding and apart from being teased I suffered no reprimands.

The residents lounge

I have no real memories of the 'public' rooms except that with their high ceilings and large windows I was pretty impressed, they were awesome to me. I remember the bedrooms and bathrooms as being typical of the era and wonder now if the cleaning routine would be less arduous in our modern times of more spray products, electrical appliances and less elbow grease.

The outside of the house was also inspiring, though a little foreboding in my eyes. Its position so close to the beach enticed me into a swimsuit and shuffling myself into a dip in the shingle bank to enjoy the spring sunshine on an afternoon off.

Beach scene - Moyle Tower and the adjacent Pavilion

I suppose this is more of a reflection on the life style than the building itself! It was a happy house with few formalities. Imagining it as a family home right by the sea at the quiet end of town was almost beyond my young imagination but there was a flavour of the one-time pomp and social life it must have enjoyed in its heyday.

Geraldine Pullin (nee Garside)

All photographs are from the 1950s taken by Jack Adams and are part of the Society’s large ‘Jack Adams Collection’, bequeathed by his son John Adams in 1999.

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