The Parish Council
St Mary's Bay
St Mary in the Marsh
The Rugby Portobello Trust
The Rugby Clubs, now The Rugby Portobello Trust, has owned 4.6 hectares of land on the sea at St Mary’s Bay in Kent since 1902. It is located on the sea)side of the A259 main road, opposite the properties between Jefferstone Lane and Taylor's Lane.
In 1899 two old Rugbeians had bought some land near the seashore with the outbuildings which had been part of the old Coastguard Station. The new buildings they erected became a permanent camp where boys, and later girls from Notting Gate and Notting Hill areas of London could come down for a holiday by the sea. It housed up to 100 people at a time. In 1903 William Temple also an old Rugbeian and later Archbishop of Canterbury, stayed there.
The caretaker’s house was built in 1922 in memory of the 117 gallant members of the Notting Hill Rugby Clubs who were killed in the 1914-18 war. The property belongs to Rugby School, founded in 1567 by Lawrence Sheriff and immortalized in Tom Brown’s School days.
However the accommodation facilities, which had remained virtually unchanged for over 50 years, had deteriorated to the extent that they were scarcely usable.
In 2008 The Rugby Portobello trust merged with P3, a national organisation. In 2009 the Trustees decided to close the camp and to plan for its refurbishment. A leading architectural practice called Michaelis Boyd Associates has agreed to carry out the design of the buildings on a pro bono basis. These will incorporate raised accommodation facilities that will sleep 100. An application for planning permission was granted in September 2012.
Some of the text and the artist's impression courtesy of The Rugby Portobello Trust