Rugby Portobello Trust
The Rugby Portobello Trust Site in 2016
The Rugby Clubs, now the Rugby Portobello Trust, has owned 10.6 acres4.6 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.
The land was sold to Clerkenwell House in February 2016.
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 had 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 for the demolition and rebuilding of the camp, but this planning permission expired in September 2015 with no work being done.
In May 2016, a new planing application was submitted to "change of use of the land to a holiday park for general holiday use, together with the partial demolition of existing holiday accommodation and erection of new holiday accommodation buildings and replacement swimming pool, formation of camping area, together with associated access and infrastructure".
The proposal is for the existing chalets and accommodation to be removed and for 15 single storey holiday cabins of varying sizes, a barbeque facility, a car park to be built. They also plan to replace the existing pool and to make the hall a reception and a campsite will be created to the east of the area.
This work started in September 2017.