Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Date the picture of the fishing smacks in Ramsgate Harbour

Having finished reducing books in my bookshop, bunged up a sale sign, changed the window of local history books that were looking rather sad and faded, reduced the prices on the faded local history books and put them out as sale items, I am back to working on local history books, so here is an opportunity for any blog commentators to join in.  

I am working on a book about Ramsgate Fishing Trawlers at the moment so the next job is to date this photo.
If you click on it will expand and if you click on it, it should expand again, giving you as clear a view as I have.
This is roughly the same form roughly the same view from roughly the same place now

I will add my thoughts here to this post and anyone fancy having a go in the comments, please feel free.

So first where is the picture of and where was it taken from?

There are two reference markers that haven’t moved in more than two hundred years.

One is the flag pole that has the tidal ball on it and the other is corner between Sion Hill and Alidade Gardens although the buildings have been rebuilt. So as the flag pole appears just to the left of the last house on Sion Hill.

So going to Google maps, taking a screenshot and drawing the red line from just left of the end of Sion Hill through the flagpole, you can see the green circle shows roughly where the picture was taken from.   

The boats in the picture are fishing trawlers the three on the left being “cutter” rigged and the one on the right being “ketch” rigged, the ketch has two masts the cutter doesn’t have the one at the back called the mizzen.

The newer Ramsgate Trawler design ketch rigged had pretty much taken over by 1880, I think. 

       The building in the picture called Moses and Devison’s was the “bonded vaults” on the 1872 map of Ramsgate and for that matter on the 1849 map. So obviously the photo can't be 1872 or before.

It is listed in the Ramsgate Directory and court guide 1878 I publish see http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/catalogue/id315.htm as Moses and Devison’s so this gives the earliest date the photo could be as between 1872 and 1878 

I then went to the KCC website to consult their historic maps on Kent View only to find that this part of their website had had its access restricted and I now needed a username and password to access it. So I phoned KCC and asked them for these, which they refused to give me. 

After much telephoning, I discovered that the have the maps in a much inferior form at http://www.kent.gov.uk/HeritageGIS/map.aspx you can’t drag the maps and the zoom has a mind of its own. In the course of the discussion I discovered that the KCC archivists are still using Kent View and in the end made my first ever complaint to KCC. Along the lines of they have disabled public access to their historic map site, so the public have now to use the inferior site, perhaps they are truly bonkers, any ideas? 

  A different view here around the same time, probably a bit earlier but i helps to frame the pre arches geography. I think the arches were started in about 1890. The 1887 Kellys http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/catalogue/ramsgate_street_directory_1887_1888.htm don't mention Moses and Devison’s so I am putting the latest date the photo could be as 1893 for the moment, bust most likely before 1887 


  1. Just to clarify things in my own mind, you are saying that up to 1872 the bonded vaults would have appeared in the photo where the Moses and Devison's building appears. The style of ketch would suggest the photo is before 1880, but not sure why you select 1878 as your latest possible date. Maybe I missed something.

    All in all, unless somebody recognises the chap standing on the cliffs as an ancestor, I reckon it is going to be hard to date the photo much more accurately that the six to eight year span already suggested.

    1. I think what is said was " the earliest date the photo could be as between 1872 and 1878 " I didn't think I gave a latest date

  2. Just tried to use the Kent View map. I see what you mean - not user friendly.

  3. those bollards on the quay edge can still be seen in the cellars of the arches stores about six feet down.


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