Wednesday 12 June 2024

Click to enlarge, Thanet and the big changes from 1815

 Two major things happened for Thanet in 1815, one was the Napoleonic wars ended and the other was the first paddle steamers started a regular service from London to Margate.


Ramsgate in 1817 by Henry Moses

Apart from the two Henry Moses pictures that I have labelled all the rest and the pages of text come from the book  Delineations Historical and Topographical of the Isle of Thanet 1817 by Edward Brayley and were drawn by William Deeble.

So here is what this book has to say about paddle steamers 

Ramsgate in 1817 by Henry Moses
The picture above is a composite made of two of Moses's engravings and joined together by me so they show what is now Harbour Parade. 



As far as I can tell the paddle steamers didn't brave going around North Foreland to Ramsgate until a few years later, I imagine there would have been too many cancelations due to rough weather.

These early paddle steamers where to some extent experimental vessels with passengers taking something of a risk.

Out of this developed a relable four hour paddle steamer service making Thanet much easier to get to than Brighton and the other south coast towns, until the coming of the railways.

Here at Michaels Bookshop in Ramsgate we are starting to see summer local history customers who come from other parts of the world, but have Thanet connection. We have bought a new and better definition printer which has improved the image quality in the local books. 

On the rest of the books, mostly secondhand and cheaper than you can buy a similar copy online  here is the link the latest books we have had come in 

Monday 10 June 2024

Thanet's early holidaymakers in 1809 click away for a long read and big pictures.

I am still focused on visitors to Thanet in early period which I consider to be from about 1725 which is when the sea bathing medical cure first started (click here  and here to read my previous posts about this) and 1815 when the paddle steamers first arrived in Thanet. 

We publish a cheap reprint to The New Margate, Ramsgate, and Broadstairs Guide 1809 and this post is focused on that guide, recommend coming to Michaels Bookshop in Ramsgate and giving it a browse if you can't get here here is the link to buy it

Before I started reading this guide my perception of Thanet at this time was that with the Napoleonic wars in full swing, with the associated fear of invasion, Thanet would have been pretty much shut down. As you will see this was far from the case, with something approaching modern tourism starting to develop. 

The pictures and text below are pages from this guide.


Margate in 1809

Broadstairs in 1809


Ramsgate in 1809

Click on the map of Thanet to expand it
1809 Map of the Isle of Thanet

Finally a ramble, a drizzly Monday morning here in Ramsgate and a not very auspicious weather forecast for what should be an important week. Ramsgate market reopens on Friday and Perico Lounge opens in The Royal Sands development on Ramsgate seafront, 

I think the snag there will be surviving without the hotel part of the development having been built, especially given the parking situation.

Here at Michaels Bookshop in Ramsgate it's fairly quiet so time to write a long and fairly complicated post. I am reading Coin locker Babies by Ryu Murakami, an author I have never read before, so far it's good, however having read the reviews it may become too violent for my taste in literature.

Here is the link to the books we put out on Saturday so there may be something new in for you. 

Friday 7 June 2024

Click to expand Old Trafford Tug in Ramsgate Harbour and some other old Thanet pictures.


Old Trafford Tug in Ramsgate Harbour
Built in 1907 this tug was later (1951) renamed Reliant, I would guess this photo dates from the 1920s or 30s I'm not sure what connection she had with Ramsgate.  

Ramsgate 1896

Broadstairs 1913

Margate 1920

I am still reading The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro, it's a strange mixture of fantasy and history as it's set in England around 500 AD where there are dragons etc. I had a bit of a tec fight getting this blog to post and am very much looking forward to getting away from any sort of screen and back to a paper book. An average sort of shop day here at Michaels Bookshop in Ramsgate with the tec being difficult it's just as well we are not very busy. 

Wednesday 5 June 2024

Click to expand, Ramsgate, Margate and Broadstairs in the late 1700s

Pretty much as a continuation of my previous post I am still trying to put together what people were doing in Thanet in the 1700s and at the moment it still does seem to be mostly the seaside medical cure. Although in this 1779 guide there is definitely something like a holiday season developing. 

Ramsgate in 1795

Back in the late 1700s there were two ways of getting from London to Thanet, one was a Margate Hoy (type of boat)

Margate Hoy

The other was by stagecoach, I don't think there were any guide books for people traveling from London to Thanet by sailing hoy.

During the last quarter of the 1700s Thomas Fisher the bookseller in Rochester produced a guidebook with maps for people traveling here by stagecoach. If you are interested in this book we publish a cheap £6.99 reprint. I would recommend coming here to Michael's Bookshop in Ramsgate and giving it a browse alternately you can buy it online at

Below are some pages from the book

1779 map of Thanet
This map will expand, with a few clicks, so that it is big enough to read.

Starting with Margate, which up until the completion of Ramsgate Harbour in about 1795, was the main attraction for those wealthy enough to travel to Thanet.


On to Broadstairs 

And then to Ramsgate

As you can see this guide was published before Ramsgate Harbour's inner basin was finished, the inner basin allowed the sand to be flushed out of the harbour making the harbour deep enough to admit large vessels.

A side effect of this increased the shipping in the harbour and with it the tourism in Ramsgate. Wealthy people coming to the Thanet towns brought prosperity.

The general picture I am developing is of Thanet being very poor at the end of the 1600s with a steady improvement through the 1700s, better housing, more work and better food.

As you can see I have been rereading some of the local history books we publish and putting some of the information on the internet, hopefully to inspire more local people to develop an interest too.

This week I have also been reading novels by Kazuo Ishiguro, starting with "Clara and the Sun" and now I'm on the "Buried Giant" Michael's Bookshop where I work has been busy recently so apologies if the blogging is a bit fragmented. here is the link to the most recent books we have put out on the shelves