Tuesday, 24 August 2010

70th Anniversary of Ramsgate Blitz

Before


After

It is hard to imagine that seventy years ago today a bombing raid in Ramsgate killed 29 people. Hard also to accept that these events are slipping from living memory, when I was a child “the War” was a major topic of conversation among all of the adults, now for the most part it is becoming hazy memories of the very old.

Ramsgate is peculiar in as much as it was pretty much the first town in the UK to be blitzed, it is also among the last to lose its bombsites, with several still remaining after all this time.

I publish a booklet about the 1940 raid and most of it is available on the internet, click on this link for it http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/1940/id3.htm if you want to buy the booklet click on this link http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/catalogue/id130.htm

A bit of an odd approach I know, either buy it or read it for nothing, but there you go.


8 comments:

  1. Just curious Michael, where are the remaing bombsites?

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  2. Peter I suppose the most obvious one is about a quarter of the Granville, the bit at the front has recently been rebuilt in a similar style to the rest of the building, there are carbuncle plans for the bombsite facing the side and I think part of the back.

    I suppose one of the main problems is that there was never a plan to rebuild in the same style. This results in Georgian, regency and Victorian terraces that either have gaps in them, post war utility buildings like Kent Terrace or modern buildings that are completely out of keeping with their surroundings.

    Of course some were rebuilt or repaired to look as they looked before the bomb damage and those you just don’t notice.

    I would say that failure to deal effectively with seventy year old bomb damage is an example of the difficulties we face here, much of it due to the economic decline due to the foreign package holiday, the start of which coincided a period of wealth and regeneration for many other areas.

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  3. i think the old st pauls church site opposite artillery road is a relic from that raid

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  4. 15.23 No it was demolished in January 1959, I think you may be thinking of the air raid of 12th November 1940. Eight houses and one garage in Sussex Street were destroyed and many others seriously damaged. In fact although Sussex Street was all but destroyed St Paul's, was still there with destruction all around.

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  5. There are also two bomb sites in Albion Place. They're both car parks at present. Do you know if they were bombed as part of the 1940 devastation?
    There's an interesting discussion about these sites going on HERE

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  6. I believe that the raid of August 1940 caused the damage to the buildings that are immediately adjacent to Albion House.

    The Mayor ABC Kempe [1] mentions there being a raid in November 1940 - he had previously been in his "parlour" [I'm not sure if the parlour was still in Albion House at that time] and a bomb landed outside as he and his clerk were going down to the shelter; he also mentions another raid in April 1941 "which caused another severe amount of damage in Albion Place and Abbots Hill".

    It's possible that one of these later air raids might have caused the damage to Nos. 7-9 and/or Nos. 16-19 Albion Place (now both car parks).

    I'd be interested if anyone has any details about what was damaged when, as I'm trying to piece together the history of Albion Place and Albion Hill and I've found that details about the changes that happened during and after WW2 are a bit thin on the ground.

    [I've been watching the www.ramsgatehistory.com discussions recently to see if anything new comes up there. I'd certainly not seen that photo with the tanks before.]

    [1] "Midst Bands and Bombs", ABC Kempe, p.78 & p.80, Michaels Bookshop, Ramsgate 2006.

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  7. Re: Gaps in Albion Place.

    Looking into this a bit further ...

    One of the buildings destroyed in the August 1940 raid was the Borough Engineer's offices.

    The 1936 Kelly's directory gives the Borough Engineer's office as being 16 Albion Place. 18-24 Albion Place are listed either under private residents or under commercial as boarding houses. [It looks like that the Town Council was therefore in two separate locations in Albion Place.]

    Assuming that Borough Engineer's office didn't move between 1936 and 1940, then it looks like 16 Albion Place must have been destroyed in August 1940. 16-19 Albion Place is the gap (carpark) next to the office buildings.

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  8. I spent all the war in Ramsgate,and lived 200yards from Albion Gardens,but was too young to remember the date for the raid that took the two houses on the Gardens out,I can remember that two petrol tanks were built in the spaces and camoflaged with netting,these replaced a smaller tank that was dug in the ground close to the lift,a large emergency water tank with an open top was placed on the tennis courts at La Belle Alliance Square this had a pipe down to the harbour through Kent steps.
    Stargazer

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