Saturday, 20 August 2011

Wish You Were Here Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Blue Plaque in Ramsgate.

 I would imagine most of you have heard of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and that the author Samuel Taylor Coleridge has connections with Ramsgate, or as he referred to it in Dog Latin Porta Arietiná.

At various times Coleridge lived at numbers 3, 7, 28 and 29 Wellington Crescent and various other houses Ramsgate, I suppose you could say he is what Turner is to Margate or Dickens is to Broadstairs. Ramsgate has connections with quite a few famous people, so you could say this for a lot of them starting with King George IV, excuse the Cruikshank cartoon, click on it to enlarge, the joke has probably worn off by now.

Somewhere in my confused memory I have the idea that last Wednesday a blue plaque, nothing to do with dentistry, was to be unveiled on Number 7 Wellington Crescent, I didn’t really make much of a note of this as I assumed that this event would be subject to some sort of publicity. 

There is a very good book about Coleridge’s association with Ramsgate you can buy it on Ebay for a price see I thought this was quite amusing as I have it on the shelf in my bookshop for £15 and have just put a copy on Amazon for £20.

With seller fees and whatnot you will have to email me if you want a copy for £15 plus postage at cost.   

In the words of the bard:   

‘O I wish, you were here, and that we could all Ramsgatize till the midst of December!’.

Here is his account of bathing at Ramsgate:

I was myself very unwell on Monday & Yesterday – but this morning, I have cleared up again, and had such a Trio of Plunges into the very heart, Liver, and Lights of three towering Billows this morning, the last of which fairly hurried me back, I might almost say, into the Machine – but actually, to the top-most step of the Ladder – so that I narrowly escaped a bruise – The wave set the Carpet afloat, and had I not instantly called out to Philpott, that his Pot was over-full, I should have had my outsides, alias, extra-cuticulars, alias, Cloathes, seized by the grim old Surge-on without any to redress me… It was glorious! I watched each time from the top-step for a high Wave coming, and then with my utmost power of projection shot myself off into it, for all the world like a Congreve Rocket into a Whale 

And this of a steamboat:

I never saw a Steam-boat look beautiful—tho’ always interesting—till yester evening ¼ past 4, when it pencilled it’s way toward the Pier and then described a horseshoe wake of grey lustre within the Harbour as it curved round in the largest possible Circuit to the old Station at the Landing-steps, all in a glory of the richest golden Light reflected from it’s sides and Uprights, & transmuting it’s long pennant of Smoke into a huge Cylinder or what shall I call it? Of Topaz.  


  1. Sorry Michael, not to have kept you in the email loop about the unveilings.
    The next Ramsgate Society plaque unveilings are:
    •Sunday 28th August at 12 noon: Pizza Express Restaurant, Harbour Parade: James J. J. Tissot’s plaque to be unveiled by Suzy Humphries of Ramsgate Arts
    •Thursday 8th September at 3pm: Royal Harbour Hotel, 11 Nelson Crescent: Alfred Luck’s plaque to be unveiled by Catronia Blaker, of The Pugin Society

    Please would you reserve me two of Allan Clayson's books - I'll pop into your shop on Saturday to collect!
    All the best, Frank

  2. Frank I have reserved 2 copies for you, I will try to get there for the Tissot one as I did some research into the location he painted from which may have resulted in the location of that one.


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