Pirate Alley

Whitstable has always been a Pirate Alley!

 From May 1964 the town played unlikely host to the strange goings on of Screaming Lord Sutch. Parading from offices at ‘The Record Centre’, 20a Oxford Street to the harbour in his top hat & purple cape, he certainly turned a few heads as boarded Fred Downs‘s ‘Harvester II’ to go out to the abandoned WWII Army Forts on Shivering Sands from where Radio Sutch broadcast. Later that year David Sutch passed control to his manager & the station became Radio City

A Walk Round Pirate (Radio) Alley Poster

In June 1964 Radio Invicta had launched from the adjacent Thames Estuary Forts at Red Sands. They too were serviced from Whitstable by Vic Davis’s fishing boat ‘The Mallard’ serviced the Fort throughout its manifestations as Radio KING & Radio 390

When Offshore Pirate Radio was outlawed in 1967 the town ‘helped out’ supply the last remaining 60’s station Radio Caroline, a relationship that endured until the sea act became law in 1990

From 1983 unbeknown to most in the town ‘The Punch Tavern’ in Harbour Street was coordination base of Laser 558

A number of the town’s flats were billets for Lasers American crew, engineers, & DJ’s. Service runs were made to the Laser ship ‘The Communicator’ up until early 1987 when it closed as Laser Hot Hits

Pirate Alley wasn’t lost completely as in 2007 the Red Sands Fort was re-equipped for broadcasts by Red Sands Radio. Coming ashore the station broadcast from studios at the harbour

Come along for a nostalgic walk around ‘Pirate Alley’ at 10.30 AM on Wednesday 27th July 2016