Saturday, 22 March 2014

W. W. Martin 1838 – 1934. A prolific builder of houses and public buildings in Ramsgate. A guest post by Ben Kelly.

William Woodgate Martin was born in 1838 in High Halden, Kent in 1838.  His parents were Alfred and Elizabeth Martin.  William had three brothers (Alfred, John and Charles) and three sisters (Elizabeth, Jane and Sarah).   His mother died on 5th June 1852, aged 36, and his father, Alfred Martin, died on 17th March 1910, aged 97.
The following is taken from the Ancestry website.
1861 census: Recorded as living at the chequers inn, Halden Street, High Halden, Kent.

July 1866:  Married Elizabeth Homewood at Maidstone.

1871 census: Recorded as living at Collier Street, Yalding, Kent.  Occupation: Builder, employing 4 carpenters, 3 bricklayers, 6 brick and tile makers and 1 boy.

1881 census:  Recorded as living at The Ferns, South Eastern Road, Ramsgate.  Occupation, builder.

August 11th 1881.  Elizabeth Martin (nee Homewood) died aged 38.  Source, Kent Coast Times, 18th August 1881.

12th Jun 1882, Married Elizabeth Lane.

1887 Kelly’s Directory:  Recorded as living at Beechwood, Holicondane Road, Ramsgate.

Around 1890, Elizabeth Martin (nee Lane) dies.

1891 census:  Recorded as living at Beechwood, (Dane Park) Holicondane Road, Ramsgate, (widower), head of household, occupation Builder.

23rd Feb 1892.  Married Caroline Haydon Atterbury, St George’s Church, Ramsgate.

1895 Kelly’s Directory:  Entered as:  W.W.Martin, builder and saw mill, Margate Road, Ramsgate.

Martin moved to Carlton Lodge in Deal (now a nursing home) and died on 28th January 1934, aged 96.

His obituary is taken from the Isle of Thanet Gazette, February 3rd 1934, page 9.
The last surviving member of the Town Council formed on the incorporation of Ramsgate in 1884, Mr William Woodgate Martin, of Carlton Lodge, Marine Parade, Deal, died at his home on Monday at the great age of ninety-six years.  He shared the honour of original membership of the Council with Mr R. E. Hodgman until the latter’s death a year ago.
A native of High Halden, near Tenterden, Mr Martin carried on the business of a builder and decorator near Maidstone, and secured the contract to build old St Lawrence College, at Dane Park House, Ramsgate.  He had been in indifferent health for some time, and moved to Ramsgate, where he founded the business of W. W. Martin in Dane Park Road, residing at Homewood, Penshurst Road.  Among many buildings erected by him was Chatham House School, and the block of buildings at the corner of Chatham Street and High Street, and he also planned and developed Truro Estate, East Cliff.
At the first Town Council elections Mr Martin was elected to represent the Sir Moses Montefiore Ward, and he continued to do so until 1902, when he retired from municipal work.
He was interested in cricket, and was a vice-president of St George’s C.C., of which one his sons, Mr A. W. Martin, is a prominent member of the club.  Mr W. W. Martin’s XI will be remembered as being one of the best teams in the old Ramsgate Cricket League.  He was also associated with the Lewises Lodge and the St Lawrence Lodge of Freemasons in Ramsgate.  He left the town in 1916 and for three years returned to the Tenterden district, moving to Deal on account of his health.
Mr Martin was married three times, and leaves a widow and nine children.  Mr Ernest W. Martin, one of his sons by his first wife, is head of the firm of builders and contractors in Victoria Road, Ramsgate.  The funeral took place yesterday (Thursday) at the Walmer Parish Church Cemetery.

Number 33 Penshurst Road, Ramsgate.  Martin purchased the land for his house in 1897 and lived here until 1916.  It was named Homewood in memory of his first wife Elizabeth Homewood who died on 11th August 1881, aged 38.

W. W. Martin’s grave at the Church of The Blessed Mary, Walmer.  Martin was also an author, he published The Chequers Inn: Memoirs of a nonagenarian in 1929.

Extract from burials in the Parish of Walmer in 1934.


  1. Interesting, Michael, thank you

  2. Great post Michael, I almost went to work for Martins 30 years ago but took a better paid job, anyone remember being able to get two job offer on the same day. I knew one brickie who worked on two sites opposite each other in one day better pay each time he took his tool bag over the road mind you this was as I say thirty years ago.

  3. I visited this road earlier this month, as I knew my father and grandfather had lived in Penshurst Road, but only knew the name of the house. Do you have any further information about the occupants after Mr Martin, as my father lived there from soon after 1916, and went to Manwood's School from there. How can I contact you offline?


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