The Prater Raines offices at 98 Sandgate High Street were originally built, between 1882-85, as “10 Knoll Terrace” by local builder Adam Keeler. Knoll Terrace was built on part of the land previously occupied by Knoll House, which sat between what is now Sandgate High Street and the Crescent behind. 7 to 12 Knoll Terrace is still much in evidence today, extending from the Sandgate Convenience Store to Mavericks Fish Bar. Where and when 1-6 Knoll Terrace disappeared, we simply don’t know.
Much of the front of the building remains today much as it would have looked then – the front windows with 1st floor square bay window is shown in photos dating back to the period, as is the shop front featuring the lions heads by the shop facia.
Sandgate High Street was then a busy centre, with trams running to Hythe and a wide range of local stores and pubs – many of which would have seen custom from the barracks at the top of the hill, developments of which have shaped much of the development in Sandgate for the last 200 years.
10 Knoll Terrace was bought in 1885, presumably on completion of building, for £700 by Charlotte Louisa Atkins, who by 1895 was leasing the building to William Wilson who was a stationer, but died the following year. The lease was then bought in 1897 by Charles Bridge, again a stationer. There are a number of prints in the office of Sandgate High Street around the turn of the century showing the building as “Bridge Stationers and Library”.
Charles Bridge seems to have been happy here – he rented the building until 1911, when he bought the freehold, and seems to have sold it, on retirement, in 1919 to Joseph Parsons – a printer. By 1921, Joseph Parsons sold on the shop to Milton Geoffrey Bridgeland (Stationer) who owned it until 1946, before selling to Newsagent Albert Sydney Hobcraft for £1,425.
Albert Hobcraft sold up in 1949 to Margaret Burden for £3,000 (a good profit in just three years) and the property seems to have remained in the Burden family, having passed to David Burden on Margent Burden’s death in 1964, until 1976 when he sold it (described as a tobacconist) in 1976 to Mr & Mrs Cronin (Newsagents) for £18,300.
In 1992, the Cronin’s then leased the building to Colin and Renee Jones on Folkestone who ran it until 1999, when it was bought by John and Christine Fordham for £71,025 who ran the Sandgate Newsagents until 2006, when they sold up to run a Guest House in the Isle of Wight. It was bought by David Wimbush, who although continuing the business as a newsagent left in Jan 2008.
The building was bought by Tim Prater in December 2008 and the downstairs office is now the home to website designers Prater Raines Ltd.