Published: 12:01, 06 November 2016
This clifftop cafe between Deal and St Margaret’s Bay is on the market for an eye-watering £3.5 million.
But that is no surprise considering the stunning eyeful visitors to Bluebirds at Leathercote Point are guaranteed.
The converted and richly historical building in Granville Road, St Margaret’s Bay, is now a tea room with stunning holiday let accommodation above.
Its a far cry from its former purpose: a Coastguard station but before that, housed inside a secret cellar 35ft below ground was the Magnetron radar device, which helped save our shores from Nazi invasion.
It is being marketed by Marshall & Clarke whose director Perry Mercer said:
“This property is simply breathtaking. And being named after Vera Lynn’s inspirational song makes the Blue Birds’ link with our wartime history all the more poignant.”
The property’s particulars, as advertised by the agent, reveals the history.
It says: “The land along the cliff tops around St Margaret’s was for several generations part of Lord Granville’s estates. In 1914 the land was acquired by the Ministry of War and two huts were erected and used as a signal station during and after The Great War.
“The Obelisk monument adjacent was erected in 1921 (together with two others – one on the opposite side of the Channel atop Cap Blanc Nez and the other in New York Harbour) as a tribute to sailors of the Dover Patrol who lost their lives during the hostilities. In the late 1920s the signal huts were replaced by a purpose-built brick Coastguard lookout. With war again looming, however, the significance of the site prompted the building of an underground operations room (35ft below the building) with two anti-aircraft guns sited to the rear. Throughout World War Two, the lookout played a significant part in the defence of the country, it’s position near Hellfire Corner being central to the Battle of Britain.”
It’s importance was proved when Sir Winston Churchill made two visits during the war to the underground bunker where the Magnetron was located.
After the war, the lookout Coastguard Station continued its important role monitoring the busiest shipping lane in the world. Prince Charles made a visit there in 1979 before a new multi-million- pound Coastguard station was built nearer to Dover at Langdon Cliff. The station was then decommissioned and in 1994 offered for sale by public tenure.
Sandy and Mary Wallace are the current vendors who had to dig out rubble which filled in a passageway which led to two staircases, a bunker and an escape passage into the back garden. Mr Wallace said: “The bunker had been stripped out and all I found down there was a tin hat. I’ve since hung a photo of Winston Churchill on the wall as a reminder of his two secret wartime visits there to see the Magnetron in operation.
“To think that the pilots he called ‘The Few’ fought dogfights with the Luftwaffe directly in front of our café is inspiring. And the fact that they were victorious is largely down to what was hidden here.
“Spitfires still fly past regularly, accompanied by aviation fans photographing them from helicopters. But the best sight of them is to be had from the Blue Birds terrace.”
Mrs Wallace added: “Having turned what was a wreck into rather lovely tearooms, and made so many friends through visitors staying there, it is going to be a sad day when we sell up. But we are retiring and it’s time someone else inherited the best view in Britain.”
Viewings can be arranged via Marshall & Clarke. Telephone: 01304 852960.
More by this authorBeth Robson