Friday, 30 April 2010

The Grove Ferry Inn, walk through the nature reserve and some pictures

My day off yesterday and a very warm day it was too, our days off are relatively short because of having to pick the children up from school, this combined with not wanting to drive very far, mainly for environmental considerations means making the most of what’s local to us.

Grove ferry is about 6 miles from Ramsgate and offers good food, wi-fi and children’s outdoor play facilities at the Inn or good picnic facilities, toilets, parking, limited – but improved - disabled access to view the nature reserve, plenty of walking by the river and through the nature reserve.

We haven’t been there for some time and the Inn must be under new ownership as the food was excellent and greatly improved on our previous visit, we both had a steak baguette and a drink total cost about £17.

We didn’t have the children with us but children’s meals on the menu were about £5 so we will go back there with them soon.

Something that is always difficult here in Thanet is finding enough destinations, with something to do for all the family that fits within a fairly limited budget, particularly when you don’t have time to drive far.

I wouldn’t say that we are foodies, we hardly ever eat out in the evening, but about once a month like to have a fairly light lunch somewhere, preferably where there is something to do.

I am afraid that I didn’t take a telephoto lens with me so such birds that I managed to photograph were those that put themselves in front and pretty much posed for me.

Click on the links for the pictures, they are uploading as I write (10.45 am) so you may have to wait for them all to appear.

Anyway if you want to look at birds the best local blog that I know of for this is and the best local website

What you get here is just a walk with me snapping away at what’s there, often without breaking my stride, my contention being that while shown other peoples holiday snaps is enough to turn the brain to cream cheese, looking at when they aren’t there, particularly with companions with a sense of humour can be quite entertaining, particularly when the bad shots haven’t been deleted.

If you do this as an economy mission the car park costs £1 for all day and there are several good picnic spots.

The bad side to this was the amount of dog mess on the footpaths, frankly as bad as the Thanet towns, this surprised me as I assumed that people who made for the countryside would be more responsible. If you walk and take snaps it is a serious hazard, children would definitely need wellies.

I did take some pictures of the rubbish on the paths but to be fair here I believe this is mostly deposited by the river.

There was some sort of environmental study going on and the people doing it said the water quality and the health of the fish was pretty good, as some of our drinking water comes from this river this is important.

One thing that did surprise me was the environment agency notice in Polish, there wasn’t one in English so I don’t know what it says.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Ramsgate Gasworks demolition more pictures and some environmental considerations.

As you can see the demolition work is going on a pace, I have made some enquiries about possible health and environmental implications; this is tempered by the urgent need to get the site developed.

One aspect that concerns me is the dust coming from the site that may be contaminated, another is the ground water pollution. As most of you who read this blog know I have a background in science and engineering, so I sometimes see things from that perspective.

My understanding of the situation is that this site has been partly remediated and that is probably the most contaminated part of the site, click on the link to see what the council have to say about chemicals present on the site

I believe that the council is taking my concerns seriously, but has had some difficulties from the gas companies involved so that further intervention may be necessary, many thanks to Alan who has offered to help with this one, for those of you who wish to know more about various aspects of this issue here is the link to his website

Click on the link for more pictures of the demolition the dust cloud that appeared to be emanating from the site may show up in some of the pictures, depending on your computer monitor.

The other aspect that concerned me were the groundwater implications, click on the link to relevant extracts to the replies I have had about this while I accept that it is unlikely that the gasworks contamination would impact on our drinking water, I was interested to see the adit leading from Ramsgate to the water abstraction point.

It certainly makes one aware of how vulnerable our aquifer is to pollution from within the town.

Lord of the Manor pumping station is in a bit of a difficult position one way and another, with one adit running under Manston runway and the other a fairly built up area, sorry the maps didn’t line up see

Anyway on a lighter note – apart from the ones that came out too dark that is – here are the pictures of Ramsgate from the last couple of days

More art in Margate

Many thanks to Your Thanet for the video of this Margate arts event.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Thanet south general election candidate starts blog.

Peter Bucklitsch the Liberal Democrat candidate has started a blog see there is no comment moderation set, although it has got irritating word verification.

He had also pointed me to his website it is all a bit in an early days state as the two sites don’t seem to be linked, but does seem to be a movement by a local candidate to engage in open debate on the internet.
Incidentally blogger seems to be playing up a bit this morning with comments taking a while to appear, delete and feed, so don’t be surprised if your comments don’t appear immediately.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

The General Election in Thanet South on the internet and other Sunday ramblings.

The way the local politicians here are handling internet use in what is likely to be a closely fought seat is something that I find most interesting.

Putting up their press releases on is a continual reminder to me, today I noticed that Steve Ladyman is once again ahead of the game in that he has hosted his first video on youtube

I have embedded it below.

In the past he has just put his videos up on his own website this has one advantage from a politicians point of view, which is that no one can tell how many people have watched it, a bit cynical of me perhaps, but it wouldn’t look good for any politician if hardly anyone watched it as was the case with The Turner Contemporary’s videos.

Conversely this has the great disadvantage that people can’t embed the video in other websites, so far fewer people are likely to watch the videos.

On the whole Steve’s website is a pretty slick affair IT wise the only thing that I have noticed technically wrong with it, is that not all of his press releases feed properly.

Frankly the only big blunder on it is the link that says, “we want to hear from you” off you go to comment and then you find you can only do so if you are a member of The Labour Party, bit tough if you are just one of his constituents, and PR wise not so good.

Laura Sandys the Conservative Party candidates website is not so good as it often has technical problems, at the moment there is a lot of HTML visible on the home page.

The video embedded there dates from February (Labours Death Tax) and not even Members of the Conservative Party can comment there.

Peter Bucklitsch The Liberal Democrat candidate’s only web presence seems to be 6 paragraphs on the party’s site since is says that he works in computing, it rather suggests that he is only contesting the seat, in word and is neither trying to win it or expecting to get very far.

As for Trevor Shonk the UKIP candidates web presence at from an internet point of view, it as though he is actively trying to lose. It’s worth having a look at just to see how not to do it, is closest to one of those blogs that are coverd with advertising and where only one comment has been made since 2008. if it tells you anything about their candidate I couldn’t find it.

The BBC website has a page where you can click on the latest polls and see what the result of the election would be if people voted that way see

Apart from all of the poles for ages predicting a hung parliament, something that seems increasingly more likely, it highlights how ridiculous our current, first past the post, electoral system is.

What the technical explanations are I haven’t really looked into, but very roughly if Labour gets about 28% of the vote they just get the most seats, if the Conservatives get about 30% of the vote they just get the most seats and if the Lib Dems get 40% of the vote they just get the most seats.

From where I am sitting the system looks to have been rigged for benefit the main parties, if I behaved like this in business the trading standards people would be down on me like a ton of bricks.

There are several humorous election videos on the internet, below is an example.

The picture is of the tram accident is when a tram jumped the rails on Madeira Walk in 1905. I believe the building in the background with the advertisements on it is probably the old Queens Head one of the last of the buildings to be demolished on Harbour Parade to make way for the Customs House new Kings Head etc.

As I have said before I am still undecided about which way I will vote, here in Thanet South the only two candidates who appear to have a chance of getting elected are Steve and Laura and both of them have always responded courteously and helpfully to me.

I believe either would make a reasonably good MP from my point of view as constituent.

This rather leaves the decision a national one and because of the way the election is being fought, increasingly a battle between the leaders.

Previously the main two have been telling us that if the other party gets elected economic disaster will ensue, I have to say that I am inclined to believe both of them on this point.

Now they are saying that a hung parliament will result in economic disaster and once again I am inclined to believe them.

So it really is about a choice between the lesser of three evils from my point of view, I was talking to a someone who has been involved in politics much more deeply than I ever have the other day and he said that he intended to spoil his ballot paper.

I still take the stance that I will vote as I see it as my civic duty, however in a way the third option now of course is that voting Lib Dem even in a seat where they don’t stand a chance of the candidate getting elected, could help to cause a situation where they get the highest percentage of the vote, but don’t get elected.

I wonder if this could cause a situation where Nick Clegg became leader of a coalition, it is as they say an interesting point, I am certainly not that keen on having a hung parliament where the leader expects this to result in economic ruin.

If all went well at TDCIT the webcast of last Thursday’s council meeting should be available tomorrow, it’s always good to see our democracy in action.

I may well ramble on as the day progresses.

Some pictures of Margate in about 1900

Trials and Errors, see has just remastered some more Photochrom prints by Photoglob Zürich, of Margate between 1890 and 1900, from the Photochrom Prints Collection at the Library of Congress and emailed me so that I can publish them too. He has also reworked the one he published before.Click on them to enlarge and then click on them again to make even larger.

When I posted the picture above before Tony Beachcomber commented.
“The original photograph is the "Royal Sovereign" at the jetty 1894. This is dated by the colours of the funnel of the "Royal Sovereign" at the time. On the right the walk way leading to cold harbour is open. This was damaged during the storm of 29th November 1897 and never reopend, which is a handy thing to know when dating prints., etc. This colour format is the one used on boxes of sweets, rock etc., that were sold as gifts at the time. I think the originals carried "a present from Margate".”
I am not very good at dating and identifying Margate pictures, so this was of help and any more would be welcome.
Incidentally when the jetty appears in later pictures there is a barrier between the jetty and the spur walkway and part of the planked decking is missing.

I find that I am particularly attracted to this method of presenting photographs.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Ramsgate Maritime Museum, full steam ahead?

I was most encouraged to see in yesterday’s Isle of Thanet Gazette an article that quoted a Thanet District Council spokesperson as saying, that the council are prepared to offer The Preston Steam Trust a 25 year lease on Ramsgate Clock House.

The article hasn’t yet appeared on the Gazette’s website so I am unable to link to it.

This is the building within the harbour area that has housed the maritime museum since it first opened, and because of its proximity to Smeaton’s Dry Dock, which I believe would also be likely to be leased to the museum under the same terms, is really the only practicable building to house the museum.

I have made some enquiries and gather that a 25 year lease would be sufficient to allow the museum to obtain the grant funding that it needs for the work it intends to do to the steam tug “Cervia”, the dry dock and museum.

The steam trust has the resources to offer a considerable amount of leisure activities for Ramsgate apart from the museum and the vessels I gather that it intends to hold a series of events in Ramsgate.

For those of you that are interested in what this could mean the following links take you to some pictures and videos of past events that they have held, adjacent to the other museum they run, at Preston near the village of Wingham in Kent.

For those of you interested in the last surviving ocean going steam tug “Cervia” click on the link for some pictures video below, these were taken before the recent restoration work, I promise to get down there and take some updated ones soon.

For those of you who prefer something more professional, than the disorganised web publishing of a deranged shop assistant, here is the link to The Preston Steam Trust website

For those of you who haven’t ever visited Ramsgate Maritime Museum click on the link for some pictures of inside it.

For those of you interested in the early history of Ramsgate harbour and Smeaton’s dry dock click on the link to read Smeaton’s report.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Cooking, the books and reflections about racist penguins and kosher cookery.

Having recently published a reprint of the first Anglo Jewish cookery book, something that may seem, in the first instance, to be a little strange for a local history publisher who is a gentile, see

However recent research discovered this to be the work of the wife of one of Ramsgate’s most important residents and therefore an insight into the life and particularly the cookery of the gentry in Ramsgate in the middle of the 1800s.

The first printing produced a few errors now corrected, partly because of my woeful lack of knowledge about Ramsgate’s Anglo Jewish heritage and partly because this is the first time that I have published a cookery book.

Anyway having produced 20 copies with these minor errors and given them away to various well-known locals, mostly chefs and Jews, plenty of each here in Ramsgate although most don’t fit with the stereotypes, I was amused to note that a much larger publisher had also produced an initial run of a cookery book that had an error in it that made it unsaleable.

The Australian edition Penguin's Pasta Bible had to be pulped costing the publishers at least $20,000. after a member of the public complained that a recipe for tagliatelle with sardines and prosciutto, called for 'salt and freshly ground black people'.

More information at

Illustration above for the back cover of Montefiore's home in Ramsgate, Eastcliff Lodge © Mark Negin More information about the Montefiores the synagogue in Ramsgate and I will do something about Eastcliff Lodge soon.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Work started redeveloping Ramsgate Gasworks and a bit of local and gas history.

As you can see from the pictures at the old gasometers are being removed, some decontamination work was done on the site about three years ago and then when work stopped I assumed we were in for years of another deserted building site in Ramsgate.

The Thanet District Council planning website is a very peculiar beast, one of the most bizarre aspects of which is that you can’t make links to individual planning applications on it, so if you want to look at the various plans for this site you will have to copy the application numbers and search the site. Be warned that some of the planning documents are large pdf files that older computers may not be able to handle.

Here are the application references, the first being the current one




this link takes you to the planning website

As far as I can see they look like reasonable plans and preserve the existing listed buildings on the site. A problem here in Thanet is that the council sometimes gives consent to planning applications that are not viable, so that work never starts on the site.

The Pleasurama development being a prime example, I telephoned the contractor yesterday and was told that work is on hold again, not sure what that means, so I phoned council planning officer and was told that as far as they knew everything was still on and that architects are preparing detailed construction drawings.

Since I was also told by the council that piling was to start imminently back in January I can only assume that something is not well, probably to do with the flood risk or the cliff safety.

The main problem for me with these very big developments in Ramsgate is the lack of public information and consultation, I have heard that the Cavendish Street/Police
Station development is outstanding or pending and that application no. OL/TH/09/0853 has been, withdrawn although this has not been indicated on the planning website.

It isn’t just that people want to know what is going on in their town so that they can object to everything but much more that both the developers and the council seem to have lost touch with the fact that ordinary people are genuinely interested in the way their town develops. In many cases if both the council and the developers engaged with local people, trying to take the with them on major projects then there would be benefits all round.

The picture of the gasworks in the early 1900s is from the book that I publish COCKBURN’S DIARY RAMSGATE LIFE IN THE FIRST WORLD WAR see

Here are the entrys from the book about the about the bombing of the gas works;

“Thursday November 1st 1917

Last night they came! With a vengeance. Had just got into bed, about 10.45 p.m. on October 31st when the siren sounded and hearing the Dover guns busy, we got up and dressed. By the time we got down the stairs, the Gothas were here so we retreated to our “fortress” under the front door step, which we have had strengthened by sandbags on the steps and along the sidewall. The barrage by our own guns was again terrific and we could distinctly hear the Gothas overhead, the peculiar sound of their engines being unmistakable and quite different from the sound of our own planes. The enemy came in relays, between which we sat in the breakfast room, retreating to the cellar when the firing broke out again. Several times we heard bombs drop, one in particular with a tremendous concussion, which shook Oak Villa.

Soon after 2 a.m. as things were quieter we had a cup of tea and went to bed, but had no sooner got between the sheets than the firing broke out again as bad as ever. So we dressed again and this time waited until bugles and buzzer had sounded the “all clear”, which was not until 3.20 a.m.

Hear that the Gas Works is hit, also bombs in Boundary Road, near Sid Port’s [68 Boundary Road] and in South Eastern Road, opposite Aberdeen House [68 Ellington Road].

17 bombs dropped at Westgate-On-Sea, but all in open fields fortunately.

Friday November 2nd 1917

Just beginning to find out the extent of the damage yesterday morning. Aberdeen House windows and roof suffered, but the houses opposite in South Eastern Road caught it worse, being very badly damaged in front. The back of the Misses Grant’s house, Hainault, [72] Ellington Road, also badly smashed, and all the crockery etc. in kitchen smashed. They have migrated to Miss Snowden’s house in [13] West Cliff Road, as their own premises are now practically uninhabitable.

At the gas works, two bombs fell between the gas holders and the rear of the office. All the glass in the rear of the offices has of course gone and shrapnel or portions of bombs penetrated Rental Office and damaged ceilings, opposite wall etc. They are unable to use this office today. Drawing office over and stores under Rental Office also badly damaged and Test Room knocked about, all bottles broken and chemicals strewn on the floor etc
The smaller of the two holders badly perforated in crown and the gas escaping caught alight and burned with such a roar that the men in yard were actually unable to hear the monitor firing, and she was firing 6 inch shells!! The fire brigade arrived and sprayed on the sides of the holder and on the guide framing, and thus preventing the holder from breaking, allowed the gas to burn itself out and avoided an explosion.

The big holder, which I remember being erected when I was at the Ramsgate Works with the late Mr W.A. Valon, was badly damaged in the lower lift, so all the storage they have left is the 2 top lifts of this holder. All the roofs of buildings in the yard are damaged, bits of the bomb having cut through 1 inch steel girders like so much cheese.

Fortunately no lives lost and no one injured. Two men crossing the yard when the bombs fell threw themselves flat on the ground and this undoubtedly saved their lives.

The pressure of gas tonight on the district is negligible – only about 5/10ths I believe (publishers note as far as can tell, please correct me if you better. The normal gas pressure at the time was sufficient to support a column of water 4 inches high so I think the referece here means that it was only able to support a column 5/10ths of an inch about a cm. high. We were unable to keep 2 incandescent gas burners going at the same time at Oak Villa and had to use candles. The bomb in Boundary Road has
fractured some gas mains and they are unable to break the leaks. The gas getting into sewers etc. and travelling some distance is of course a source of danger. About 11 a.m. today, Friday, some of this “run away” gas exploded under Sid Port’s premises in Boundary Road which were badly damaged. Bert Port, who was working in his father’s office was knocked off his stool, Sid Port, who was in the yard cutting glass was lifted several feet off the ground by the force of the explosion and the glass breaking cut an artery in his wrist. Fortunately there was an ambulance man handy who rendered first aid promptly.

They have stopped all traffic, even pedestrians in this area, the troops in the town supplying sentries for the purpose and also men to assist.

It was found necessary tonight to shut off the gas supply to Minster entirely.

Brigadier ???? Clxens and staff have been up to view the damage today.”

The authors father held a managerial position at Ramsgate gas works, you may find a little background information on gas supply at this time helpful. In the early 1900s gas was the main source of lighting in streets and people’s homes, electricity generation was still only done on a small scale some business had electric light but very few private residences. At this time, before the discovery of the North Sea gas reserves, gas was made in each town from coal the by-product being coke (a smokeless solid fuel). The gas was stored at the gasworks in holders or gasometers (huge cylindrical tanks that rose out of the ground the more gas stored the higher they got). The coal was transported by ship or railway, to as near to the gasworks as possible and finally moved by horse and cart. Most people at this time heated their houses with coal fires and cooked on a coal or coke fired kitchen range although gas cookers were becoming fairly common. Gas lighting by this time had become very efficient the gas flame was used to heat a mantle (asbestos woven about the size of the end of ones thumb) that became white hot. Coal gas fumes are not as toxic as natural gas fumes so all in all lighting a house with gas was more pleasant and effective than one would first expect. The gas itself though was poisonous, people who committed suicide often did so by gassing themselves with their own cooker. So when Cockburn talks of the men being gassed this was a serious danger.

The pictures below of the WW2 bomb damage are from the book I publish Ramsgate August 1940 see You need to click on them and then click on them again when they open for the best definition.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Margate and Westgate with Birchington the Summer Season 1903-4

After a long day battling with printers and very large files I have finally managed to get this book into print.

It is one of the earliest Margate guides to have advertisements illustrated with photographs of the businesses, so is invaluable to the local historian.

In the bookselling world one may sometimes describe a book as foxed, meaning that the paper has brown spots on it cause by an imbalance of the PH in the paper when it was manufactured.
Keeping with animal related book descriptions the original of this one looks like it has been dogged beared and possibly trodden on by an elephant, as you can see from the picture.

Anyway it is now available in the shop price £9.99 and when I can face technology particularly the demands of printing more copies I will make it available online too.

High definition laser printing sometimes seems to operate in some strange area where science, alchemy and magic all meet.

Click on the link for the sample pages

That makes 131 local books in print and I have about another 5 in the pipeline.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Cliftonville Margate, Shell Grotto and The Walpole Bay Hotel Museum, pictures and a few thoughts.

One of Cliftonville’s more unusual attractions is The Shell Grotto, its organs and age are uncertain, you can read about its history on The Shell Grotto website, click on the link to do so

It isn’t that easy to photograph, so apologies for some of the pictures, click on the link to view them anyway it’s well worth a visit as you can see.

We then went on to The Walpole Bay Hotel for cream tea and a visit to the museum there. The cream tea was excellent as was the museum experience click on the link for the pictures also here is the link to the hotel’s website

I hadn’t been to the shell grotto for a number of years and have to admit to going in the wrong direction so here are a few pictures taken of Cliftonville while I was lost

Frankly when one thinks of Cliftonville now one doesn’t expect to get a reasonable all weather afternoon out for the family, something we certainly managed.

A few pictures of Ramsgate yesterday here

Some of this morning here

The section of my latest publication on Westgate for Simon Moores who has had rather more flack from me than he deserves recently and did help to sort out some problems for me although he isn’t my councillor here

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Ramsgate Maritime Museum will probably never open again.

Some of you will have noticed that Ramsgate Maritime Museum didn’t open over Easter as expected, after what we thought was a successful campaign to keep it open, Thanet District Council appear to have developed a Catch 22 strategy to finish of Ramsgate’s last remaining leisure facility.

This is a sorry tale put together after a week of on and off the record discussions with councillors and council officers, I think I have now got all of the information right but am open to any corrections.

The museums artefacts and the vessels Cervia and Sundowner are owned by a charitable trust – The Preston Steam Trust - that already runs another museum.

The previous trust (EKMT now disbanded) was funded by Thanet District Council and ran Ramsgate Maritime Museum and Margate Museum on a council grant of about £100,000 per year.

The previous trust (EKMT) failed to renew the lease on The Clock House, the building in Ramsgate Harbour that houses the museum.

The council now has virtually no money or staff to run any of the museums, apart from a small amount to keep Dickens House in Broadstairs running.

The Preston Steam Trust wants to run the museum, restore and maintain the vessels and dry dock, using outside grant funding at no cost to the council.

To obtain this grant funding they need security of tenure or a freehold interest in The Clock House and dry dock.

The council put The Clock House on the asset disposal list and asked for public consultation about future use of The Clock House.

Those who responded to the consultation said that they wished The Clock House to continue to be used as a museum.

The Preston Steam Trust then offered to buy the freehold of The Clock House with a covenant that The Clock House would be used as a museum in perpetuity.

The council then removed The Clock House and offered The Preston Steam Trust a long lease to which The Preston Steam Trust agreed to accept the lease .

The council then withdrew the offer of the long lease, which meant that The Preston Steam Trust couldn’t obtain grant funding to run the museum.

The council would like to see the museum open and would be prepared to let The Preston Steam Trust run it under licence, without any security of tenure with The Preston Steam Trust paying all of the operating expenses.

Of course The Preston Steam Trust can’t do this, as without security of tenure they can’t raise any funds to run the museum.

It would seem that the only option that the council has left The Preston Steam Trust, is to remove their artefacts and vessels from Ramsgate, with the current boom in UK leisure I would imagine there would be a great many towns that would welcome them.

Now at the moment Thanet District Council is run by a Conservative administration and I am being extolled upon to vote Conservative, the reasoning here would seem to be that they consider Conservatives run things better.

So here is an open question to the local Conservative politicians.

Either you think that the majority of local people don’t want the museum to remain open and you think that what is going on here is in the furtherance of local peoples wishes and interests.

Or you think that the majority of local people would like the museum to remain open but you think it is in best interest to close it.

Or you have lost control over the actions of council officers and it is they who are running the show and not you.

Or there is some other option that hasn’t occurred to me that in some way makes sense and you can explain

Well guys and gals which is it?

Friday, 16 April 2010

Westbrook Sunset

Yesterday evening was supposed to be the best chance to see Venus and Mercury just after sunset, so we went over to Westbrook to see if we could, no such luck due to the cloud or possibly the volcanic ash low on the horizon where the planets would have been visible.

Having consumed rather a good pizza and a fair amount of Italian wine - she who must be obeyed drove on this occasion - the photographs of the sunset and Westbrook may be a little repetitive for some, anyway click on the link for them

There are also a few Ramsgate and Broadstairs pictures taken during yesterday, click here for them

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Thanet General Election in Thanet internet update.

With the general election looming I thought I would check our candidates web presence. If anyone spots anything I missed please let me know.

With the internet supposedly a major factor in this election some of the candidates failure to grapple with it at all is pretty incredible.

Thanet North

Roger Gale Conservative, last MP.


Ability to comment; none.

Michael Britton Labour

Website; none.

Presence on party site; none.

Laura Murphy, Liberal Democrat

Website; none.

Presence on party site

Rosamund Parker UKIP

Website but without any content about candidate;

Ability to comment

Jim Dent English Democrats

Website; none.

Presence on party site; none.

Thanet South

Stephen Ladyman Labour, last MP


Ability to comment (Only members of The Labour Party can comment here, so no one has for about a year.)


Laura Sandys Conservative


Ability to comment; none.

Tim Garbutt Independent (I am not sure he is a registered candidate yet)

Website and ability to comment

Trevor Shonk UKIP

Website; none.

Presence on party site; none.

Peter Bucklitsch Liberal Democrat

Website; none.

Presence on party site

The polls are swinging about a bit, but have been predicting a hung parliament for some time see

Oh I also meant to mention that both Laura and Steve have feeds on their sites and both have got them slightly wrongly organised so only some of their new information actually feeds.

As a floating voter my estimation of the different parties goes up and down like a yoyo, the following from today is an example not a final judgment.

Labour up as Brown admits mistake.

Conservatives down as I am pretty sure they would have been leaning on Labour at the time for more deregulation of the banks, not less, so a silly one to lay into Brown about.

Lib Dems down for stupid mistake over tax threshold in manifesto.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Pictures of Margate in 1902

I have just started on the reprint of a Margate guide for the 1903 4 season and although the print quality owes much to the school of potato printing and there will be much enhancing of the pictures to get it into print, here are a few initial pictures from the pictures.

Very few of these guides have much in the way of photographs of local shops and hotels and although photographs come up where the quality is better it is often difficult top date them or to work out where the building is.

Anyway if any of you fancy taking a stab at working out where the buildings are of were here is the link

Monday, 12 April 2010

The walled garden at Quex Park and Deal Castle a few pictures and thoughts.

With the school holidays and plenty of relations about the weekend was logistically a bit strange, we went for a picnick lunch in the walled garden at Quex Park, my children and their cousins engaged in a bug hunt. They always seem to come up with something to entertain children at the Powell Cotton Museum.

Click on the links to the pictures.

Later in the afternoon we went to Deal Castle something that was a bit disappointing, some of the castle is very damp and smells like a badly maintained lavatory. I was surprised about this as it is run by English Heritage and as they run the superbly maintained Walmer Castle just down the road. It is obvious that Deal Castle has tremendous potential that just isn’t exploited.

I am sorry that I forgot to take a wide angle lens for my main camera, you have also to appreciate that some of the pictures were taken using a flash where it was very dark, so some of the pictures are of things that I couldn’t actually see when I took them.

I will endeavour to add the pictures from the other cameras later, click on the link for the pictures they are publishing to the internet as I write so you may have to wait for some of them to appear.

More as promised

Saturday, 10 April 2010

North and South Thanet constituency boundary changes

The map above shows the constituency boundaries at the last general election.
The map above shows the new constituency boundaries that will be used for the forthcoming general election.

Sorry the maps are a bit fuzzy they were the best I could find, if anyone comes across anything clearer could they send them to me and I will replace these ones.

I know this is a bit of an odd post, but as one of the youf of today asked me what the boundary changes were and I realised that I didn’t know I thought others could be in the same boat.

A major point with these boundary changes is that had they happened before the last general election, and had people voted the same way as they did then, both Thanet constituencies would have returned Conservatives.

As far as thoughts on the general election go having heard most of the major players warning us that if their opposition is elected we are in for an economic disaster I have to say this is an occasion where I find myself beginning to believe politicians.

None of them really seem to have much to say about what worries so many of us which is that our towns are becoming much more unpleasant to live in, from dangerous dogs to groups of rowdy drunks.

At the moment all of the latest polls are predicting a Conservative majority over Labour but none are predicting an outright majority see

Here is the link to this mornings pictures of Ramsgate

Friday, 9 April 2010

Cliff collapse at Pegwell and a few other pictures and thoughts

Back at work in the bookshop this morning after a day off that was actually warm and sunny, I haven’t had much time for blogging or even answering my emails over the last couple of days, so apologies to anyone waiting for a reply.

Mixture of things really seem to have caused this, mostly the school holidays and keeping on top of the local books and local history questions.

I now have 130 local books in print so maintaining a fairly minimal stock of 20 copies of each means keeping on top of 2,600 books and even with that many one can run out of a title in less that a week or not sell as ingle copy of another title for months.

Anyway here are the various links to the pictures since my last post.

Thursday morning in Ramsgate nothing particularly special about them.

Next Thursday afternoon starting on the westcliff lots of cars parked up there and quite a lot of people about. I walked along the chalk – exposed at low tide – towards Pegwell as you can see there has been a fairly substantial cliff fall leaving some mobile homes a bit close to the edge for comfort. I finally wound up at the hotel if you want to know more about this building I publish a book about it and its surroundings see

As you can see the boating pool was busy for the time of year, I think this may be at least partly due to the children’s play area there now being free.

Here is the link to the pictures

Next this morning before I opened the shop I walked up the east pier, some parts of it are looking a bit dilapidated and the café on the end is still closed, despite all of this as you can see the views are well worth walking up the pier for.

Here is the link to the pictures

Next a question for those of you that enjoy the pictures about the way I publish them up on the internet at the moment most of the pictures I put up are 1200 pixels wide and on my internet confection they take about a second each to load, the most I put on one page is about 150 meaning that the longest a page takes to load is 150 seconds. I believe this means that page loads faster than anyone could reasonably take to view the pictures.

Do you think that I am getting this about right? Do you want fewer pictures on a page? Would you like higher definition pictures? This page has three pictures of fish in the Belgian Café, that were caught by Ramsgate fishermen I have put one up the size I normally do one up medium size and one fairly large, so what do you prefer?

Finally many thanks to TDC for removing their misleading video, after I pointed out to them that they could be reported to trading standards under the misrepresentation of goods act, I was quite surprised not to receive a reply from them, perhaps it got lost in TDCIT.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Some pictures of Ramsgate and Walmer Castle and a few thoughts.

For an Easter weekend it seemed a bit strange to have no events going on in Ramsgate, as you can see from the pictures the council have made a very neat job of boarding up the tourist information office.

I should point out that there will be some sort of tourist information office in the custom house, at least this is somewhere that tourists will find it.

Yes the plane really was that low, again, no special lens, just point and shoot.

With no family event in Ramsgate and having been to Quex Park recently, I looked on the English Heritage website and decided that Walmer Castle was the place to take them.

We have family membership for English Heritage, something I would recommend if you have a family as they are much more geared to entertaining children than they used to be.

I didn’t take many pictures inside as it was just too busy, so I am afraid there are rather a lot of pictures of trees, oh well no one is forcing you to look at them.

Click on the link for the pictures

Sunday, 4 April 2010

A few pictures of Ramsgate Harbour and an Easter rabbit.

Walking around the harbour this morning it occurred to me that one of the main blights on the harbour is the number of empty, disused, misused and or ill maintained council properties.

I can’t help wondering if something hasn’t gone badly wrong in the council’s estates department, coincidentally two important organisations seem to be likely to leave the harbour because the council won’t give them security of tenure.

In the case of Marlec Marine see this seems to be a case of the councils estates department playing a silly game of waving the rulebook, instead of supporting an important local business.

Security of tenure also seems to be the problem with the maritime museum.
It makes one wonder what the situation is with The Eagle Café and some of the other empty buildings and badly used land around the harbour.

One of the largest council owned structures there is the arches something that by its very nature it is difficult to determine how many of them are disused of in a bad state of repair.

Here is the link to the pictures

A quick glance at the local news feeds revealed that The Monster Raving Loony Party is looking for candidates to stand as candidates in both of the Thanet constituencies see I had thought that I might stand in Thanet South, however as there seems to a possibility of getting elected I don’t think I will.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Ramsgate food for thought

A busy day in the bookshop today, once again Ramsgate is becoming a destination for Londoners and this seems to be to do with the diversity and quality of the Restaurants and the new café culture. Virtually every week there is something in the national press, this is the most recent I could find from Country Life for the most part these Londoners seem to come down, as they have since about 1800, to recover from life in the capital and most of them seem to enjoy what they find here.

The secondhand book world is inclined to bring up peculiar historical anomalies, the book pictured above, was published in 1942 while we were fighting a war and it does indeed seem to explain in great detail how anyone can make explosives out of common ingredients.

It says inside “FOR THE FORCES. Leave this book at a Post Office when you have read it so that the men and women in the Services may enjoy it too.”

One is reminded that we are fighting a war at the moment and building a whole new set of historical anomalies.

Delving through news about Kent on the internet I noticed that much is being made of the differences in reporting a sex attack in Aylesford with some speculation that the BBC is taking an extreme slant towards multiculturalism, here is the BBC article and here same thing as reported by the Daily Mail various other media sources are reporting it with slight variations. The Daly Mail article was the most detailed I could find.

Both of these anomalies made me wonder if we are a somewhat gullible people and if we are how I feel about the idea.

Another bit of local news is that John Kampfner is the new head of the Turner Contemporary, I have great hopes that he will improve the situation there.

Oh and Katherine Kerswell has been confirmed as the new chief of KCC on four thousand pounds a week see nice work if you can get it.

I will may ramble on depending on how busy the shop is.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Good Friday Ramble and a few pictures.

I managed to get out for a bit yesterday and this morning, click on the link for the pictures the pretty stiff cold wind on both occasions means that there are not that many of them.

Although theoretically Good Friday is a bank holiday I pretty much always feel obliged to open my bookshop for at least the middle part of the day, people now expect shops to be open then.

Anyway a few thoughts on the pictures. The winding house for the two smaller slipways seems to have got into a bit of a state, never an attractive building – I think it was put up during the war and that the slipways were built to service MTBs and other relatively small naval craft, but will have to check my fact on that one – I am not sure if it is made of corrugated ferro sheets or asbestos, so there may be an elf and safety issue too.

I have noticed that these two slipways have hardly been used recently and I suppose it must be difficult for Ramsgate’s rather dated outdoor slipway facilities to compete with more modern indoor facilities, many of which are on the coast of continental Europe and not very far to take a boat.

With the maritime museum closed followed by this, the other buildings there and the pavilion then the Pleasurama site then the Marina Restaurant, what should be an attractive part of the town isn’t.

With the business with Marlec Marine Ltd see and today’s Isle of Thanet Gazette and the failure of the council to grant security of tenure for the maritime museum, one does wonder if TDC are trying to finish the town and harbour off.

Yesterday was a particularly low tide and at least the dredging work still seems to be going on, lets hope they do all of it including the inner basin.

Two council vehicles can be seen parked right on the cliff edge immediately above where problems with the cliff façade foundations have recently been excavated, see this really is a very strange way of behaving.

The large newly rebuilt shop near to Waitrose in Queen Street has notices on it saying that they are applying for a licence to sell alcohol to be consumed off the premises, it looks as though another convenience food shop.

The increase in the number of food retail outlets in Ramsgate town centre recently is considerable and I am wondering how the very large out of town supermarkets will counter this. It is interesting that many food outlets Tesco, M&S and – what was the one where Argos is – Fine Fare? Left the town and now Cost Cutter next to me Eddie Gilberts wet fish shop, the new greengrocer, the new Polish – is it one in Queen Street, plus quite a few specialist food shops.

The Restaurant thing is peculiar too this weeks addition being a new pizza one in King Street.

Finally Cooke & Co that closed in King Street about 6 months ago has reopened in Queen Street.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Thanet District Council’s website and the Easter events

I hate to be drawing attention to TDCIT messing things up again, but here we go, yawn, is it worth bothering to contact them.

The two main events this Easter are April 2-5 and April 2-3 Thanet Easter Beer Festival

Here are the Easter events lifted from EASTCLIFF RICHARD’s sidebar

1-13 Thanet Gang Show

2-5 Insect World@Marine Studios

2-5 Victorian Easter@Quex Park

2-3 Thanet Easter Beer Festival

3 Adventures at Tom Thumb

3 Choir concer at Broadstairs

3 Quadrophenia at Carlton Cinema

Here are the events listed on Thanet district Council’s website’s homepage.

Stainer's Crucifixion
Margate Old Town Easter Market
St. Laurence Church Coffee Morning (April)
Dance - Birchington Village Centre Association
St Pancras, Canary Wharf, and Friends.Comedy Playhouse
OPENING of SEASON - Ramsgate Bowling Club
Beach Safety Training
National Blood Service - Birchington Village Centre Association
The Zeal of the Spirit

Pinch and a punch it’s the first of the month

Once again the statistics for the people who clicked on a link on another website in order to get here, this is the nearest I can get to a popularity count of the other local blogs, click on the link to view the statistics

As it is my day off today I am doing this from my mobile notebook so apologies for any typos.

The new thing of interest that that I spotted straight away is that this is the first month that Simon Moores Thanet Life blog has had a link comparable to the ones on the other main Thanet blogs.

As you see his blog seems to be marginally more popular the main Labour councillor’s blog Mark Nottingham’s From One End of Kent, I wonder if this is in any significant of political feeling at the moment.

It is interesting to see where my Thanet press blog comes in all this, it only gats about 1,500 visits a month from about 900 different people.