Situated in Hawley Square, Margate’s finest Georgian square, Hawley House is less than five minutes walk to the sea and to the historic Old Town cultural quarter.
Margate is one of England’s first and some would say finest seaside resorts. Three centuries of holidays have left behind a rich tapestry of buildings and this legacy has been little understood and often undervalued, but is now experiencing a gentle renascence.
In the 1730’s, with its relative proximity to London, the presence of visitors transformed this once small working coastal town into a playground for some of the wealthiest members of society. The rise in popularity of sea-bathing for medical purposes accounted for this change in fortune, becoming more established in 1752 when Dr Richard Russell published his book “Dissertation on the use of sea-bathing and the drinking of seawater” . Visitors came flocking to the town and its developments as a seaside resort followed with Cecil Square, and Hawley Square being built in 1762. Unlike Cecil Square, Hawley Square was built around an enclosed ‘pleasure ground’ garden. In 1800 the square comprised ‘an entire range of genteel houses from one end of it to the other, most of which command a fine and extensive prospect over the sea’. The growing number of visitors also required new entertainment facilities. As well as the bathing rooms, visitors expected to find versions of the types of entertainment that could be enjoyed in London and Bath. The new Assembly Room was the centre of the social scene and there were also circulating libraries at the foot of the High Street, on the east side of Cecil Square and on Hawley Square. The Hawley Square library was the grandest built in Margate and arguably one of the finest ever built at a seaside resort . The other major Georgian entertainment facility was the Theatre Royal in Hawley Square, which today is the second oldest Theatre in the UK still in full working order.
As the years went by and sea bathing became more pleasurable the town developed rapidly as more visitors came. The first steamboat arrived in 1815 and this was the first of a long line of steamboats and paddle steamers, which served the town right up until the 1950’s.
Margate continued to develop as a popular seaside resort until the 1970s when, in common with many other British seaside towns it lost out to the attraction of cheap package holidays abroad. The town is back to life with its Blue Flag Beaches and spectacular coastal scenery, art galleries, cafes and restaurants. Hawley House, a fine, beautiful Georgian property, has been brought back to life offering, airing accommodation, customised Retreats, Yoga and Events space. It’s a living, breathing hub of life and beauty, the perfect place to discover more about this curious coastal diamond.
A newly refurbished Grade II* Listed Georgian building overlooking a tree-lined square, Hawley House is a 9-minute walk from the Turner Contemporary gallery and a 14-minute walk from Margate train station.