Saturday 31 May 2008

Ramsgate Costumed Walks

Just had this poster brought in to the shop click here to enlarge

Join our guided walks around historic Ramsgate and meet
famous costumed characters from the past

WEST CLIFF - JULY 1st & 29th AT 7 PM, AUGUST 26th AT 2.30 PM
EAST CLIFF - JULY 22nd AT 7 PM & AUGUST 19th AT 2.30 PM




Some pictures of old Ramsgate

am using one of the shops PCs that I don’t often and there was a folder of old Ramsgate pictures on it some I am sure I have published before but some I didn’t recognise, so sorry for any repetitions.

I am afraid I have got so many pictures of Ramsgate on the web now that I inclined to get a bit confused as to what’s what.

Friday 30 May 2008

Planning drama

I was interested to see in today’s Gazette that Bill Hayton feels that he was sacked as chair of planning and that the Gazette’s reporter Rebecca Smith thought that his views on the china gateway were partly responsible.

Although Bill Hayton denied that it anything to do with the China Gateway, my immediate concern was that considerable pressure may be being applied to force through a project that could have dire consequences for the health of local people.

I am certainly hoping that now Bill Hayton is relived of his responsibilities and able to comment on local planning issues we will hear some forthright comments from him.

The White Cliff of Ramsgate

More Pleasurama craziness, as part of the ongoing Pleasurama saga they are painting the concrete cliff façade white, this of course means that it will now have to be repainted regularly at our expense.

Is it a simple case of jobs for the boys and once the building is there how do they intend to fit the scaffolding in to repaint it?

Perhaps they intend to use a roller on a long stick, what is so stupid with this development is, that all for the want of local consultation, we are getting a bad development where we could have a good one.

Thursday 29 May 2008

Health & Efficiency

Peter Checksfield of Naked in Thanet, link on sidebar, has just commented on an old post of mine about local nudist beaches to the effect that Health & Efficiency magazine has done an article about TDCs consultation on local nudists facilities.

The effluent of the affluent

I am still working away at local safety and environmental issues when I would much rather be publishing more local history, the local water pollution issue is very complex and as I understand bits of it I am publishing them here, with supporting documentation when I can.

For a number of years now Manston Airport has posed an unacceptable pollution risk to our drinking water supply and there would appear to be a case for not using it at all.

The problem stems from the fact that the airfield was built as a wartime airfield in 1944 and as such didn’t have to conform to any environmental regulations. I don’t believe that there was ever any intention to use it as a commercial airport after the war.

The main problem being that the surface water from the runways goes into our drinking water reservoir, the secondary problem being that if there is an air crash and fuel spillage on the grass part of the airfield, no mater how good the drainage is for the rest, the fuel will contaminate our reservoir.

The solution that has been arrived at is to put in a drainage system for the runways and other hard standing, that will run directly into Pegwell Bay, which is a world class RAMSAR wetland.

Some relevant links below.

Environment Agency correspondence obtained under the FOA

Further reading


Wednesday 28 May 2008

Tourism in Thanet

I believe it is possible to do fairly unusual things with statistics, after last weeks story that tourism had risen in Thanet between 2003 and 2006 I managed to obtain the local tourist information office enquiry figures for some of that period. They make interesting reading, they appear to say that in 2003 over 1,000 people a week were visiting the Ramsgate office and in 2006 about 150 people a week were visiting the Ramsgate office.

Anyone who knows the Ramsgate office will be aware that throughout this period it has been situated where tourists would be very unlikely to find it.

One assumes that it would be busier in the summer and not unreasonable to have 2,000 visitors a week at peak times, I believe it is open about five days a week, so or 400 people a day, that’s about 1 a minute.

Tuesday 27 May 2008

Margate Library

Since Margate library has been improved and has the new status of a Thanet gateway book lending has dropped by 40%, I can’t imagine a greater cultural disaster could happen to a town than to have its only bookshop closing and borrowing from the library nearly halved.

Possibly the Nazi book burnings of WW2 caused this level of drop in reading, but I would doubt it, certainly having council desks in the library is an unmitigated disaster for the town.

TDC and KCC need to understand that the primary purpose of a library is to make books freely available to the population, and to do to this it is necessary to have an environment that one can concentrate enough to read in.

It is time for a review of the function of libraries, I can see a good case for publicly funding the free availability of books, however is there a case for publicly funding the loan of DVDs which is the equivalent to publicly funding cinemas, or internet cafés, what do you think?

Mayor of Thanet

For some time now I have been concerned that Thanet District Council’s system of a cabinet and chief executive doesn’t work well for us, frankly I thought there was no solution to this until today.

The local government act 2000 means that local authorities can opt for various different constitutions, including the one like London, with an elected mayor.

As I understand it if we had this system there would be no cabinet or chief executive and the mayor of Thanet would be elected by the people of Thanet every four years.

The thing I find most unfair about the system as it stands at the moment is the position of councillors who are not in the cabinet, we have elected them and hold them responsible for our problems yet they a virtually powerless.

It requires a petition signed by at least 5% of the electorate to force the council to hold a mayoral referendum.

Anyone got any ideas of the pros and cons of having a Mayor of Thanet?

Monday 26 May 2008

Wind farm and Ramsgate

Having heard that at least one of the major sponsors has pulled out of the wind farm project that was to have been serviced from Ramsgate Harbour I wondered why, as one does.

So I have been chatting to some of my scientifically minded friends to get some ideas on this one, well it seems all is not quite well in the wind farming world although opinions differ and some scientist still seem all for it, so further comment from anyone in the know would be welcome on this one.

The problem seems to be that they are neither as environmentally friendly or as cost effective as I had assumed. The fuel and materials used in there construction and maintenance pretty much cancels out the electricity they generate.

I gather that big companies have been sponsoring them in order to show some green credibility and now that it looks as though the whole idea is to be discredited, as a money making environmental sham, they are dropping them like hot potatoes.

The picture is of Ramsgate’s Grange Road Mill click here for more

Sunday 25 May 2008

Ramsgate First

I have received the email below from Gerry O'Donnel and thought it important to publish it in full.

Dear All, 23rd May 2008

Tim Garbutt has used the back of my email to propose setting up his own 'Ramsgate Town Council'. He wanted a public meeting and a committee formed to 'sack the Charter Trustees, TDC etc etc.

I found Tim's proposals ludicrous and Ramsgate First rejects them utterly.Before advising those of you who had received my previous email of this fact I stopped off at Albion House on Friday 22nd May at 7.00pm to attend Tim's proposed meeting so that I could inform him personally of the contents of this email.

Though the meeting was advertised in the Gazette it appears that nobody at Albion House was informed and consequently Tim and a couple of other people were unable to gain admittance. I therefore informed him on the doorstep that his proposals were unacceptable and that all he was doing was possibly jeopardising the parish council.

There are some churls in TDC who are itching to scratch Ramsgate parish council and that Tim's intervention might give them ammunition.I have to say I like Tim Garbutt. There is no doubting his sincerity but his waywardness, especially in his hatred of TDC, often leads him to express thoughts that frighten off others.

I think Tim thinks that I am now some kind of Uncle Tom - betraying his own. He is wrong of course. Often is.It is quite obvious that Tim's views are shared by a few, a very few: less than a handful of people judging by the attendance on Friday and that in no way is he representative of the overwhelming majority of the people of Ramsgate.

I hope, therefore, not to hear some councillors suggest there is any linkage between Mr Garbutt and Ramsgate First or the good people of Ramsgate in their pursuit of their own parish/town council. There is none.

Gerry O'Donnell

Saturday 24 May 2008

Port Ramsgate Profit and Loss

I don’t think anyone in the town would dispute the fact that the lorries using Port Ramsgate make the western undercliff unpleasant and difficult to use for leisure. Since it’s the beach there that has scored the highest possible rating for water quality three years running I thought I would enquire how much benefit financial Port Ramsgate is to us.

The answer is frankly astonishing, the port lost £692,000 in the last financial year, and this is just the port not the rest of the harbour.

The rest of the harbour lost £130,000 much of this I assume is attributable to trying to dredge it instead of using the sluices to flush the sand out.

So why not turn the whole port area into a residential and leisure complex based around water sports?

The land sales alone would net TDC millions.

Something Nasty still in the water

I was quite surprised to read in yesterdays Gazette that the developers of the China Gateway intend to ignore the Environment Agency and allow the Chinese to be responsible for treating their own sewage, chemical and industrial waste. It is their intention then to pour the water that they get from their cesspits into our drinking water reservoir.

I am afraid that a lot of the blame for this appears to belong to the council and a remarkable lack of local knowledge on their part, I think the story goes like this.

When the Thanet end of the A299 was made into a duel carriageway some bright spark at the council thought it would be a good idea to earmark the farmland near the end of it for an industrial estate, because of the good road connections.

What no one noticed at the time was that it is also right on top of the underground drinking water reservoir, the big problem now is that the council would have to admit to making a mistake or we shall have the equivalent of a factory ship floating around in our drinking water, with at best a few regulations saying don’t throw anything over the side.

Friday 23 May 2008

Ramsgate a Complete Holiday Resort

Another of the old guides to Ramsgate that I reprint for you all today, although undated I think it’s about 1912 click here for some pages and pictures from the book

Thursday 22 May 2008

Tourism continues to grow in Thanet

Below is the latest Thanet District Council press release, however unlike their planning site one is not yet able to comment on it, so I thought I would post it here in case anyone has any thoughts.

Tourism continues to grow in Thanet

New figures show tourism is now worth more than £175 million to the Thanet economy and the area is the second most popular in Kent with overseas visitors.

The Cambridge Model tourism research, undertaken by Visit Kent at Kent County Council in partnership with Thanet District Council, compared key economic markers in the local industry between 2003 and 2006.

It found that tourism supports more than seven per cent of all jobs in Thanet, with total visitor spending up 17 per cent over the three years.

In total, more than 2.7 million visitors came to Thanet in 2006, with day trippers spending a total of £72.6 million in the area and a further boost of £12.6 million from boating enthusiasts, second homeowners and residents entertaining visiting friends and family.

Thanet was the second most popular destination in Kent for overseas visitors with Canterbury topping the league table in 2006. Thanet was also the third most popular destination in Kent for UK visitors staying overnight, attracting ten per cent of the county’s total – narrowly beaten by Medway with 12 per cent and Canterbury with 11 per cent.

Even more encouraging for local tourism bosses is further research revealing that visitor perceptions of the three key resorts – Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate – have been improving since 2005, with the current overall opinion being that they are friendly, relaxed and traditional.

Cllr Roger Latchford, Cabinet Member for Economy and Culture at Thanet District Council, said: “This is excellent news for Thanet, especially the fact that our area is holding its own as one of the most popular destinations in the county. Hopefully we will see our overseas visitor numbers increase even further with the strength of the Euro making British holidays more appealing to the European market.

“Tourism makes a major contribution to our economy and that’s why Thanet District Council invests so much money in our beautiful beaches and unique town centres.”

Fran Warrington, head of Visit Kent at Kent County Council, said: “This is a tremendous vote of confidence in Thanet and all the hard work behind the scenes to promote the area.

“Tourism is a fragile and highly competitive market facing many challenges from outside the industry. Thanet’s businesses have really risen to the challenge and these figures reveal just how well they have been doing in providing the services and products that visitors from home and overseas are looking to experience and enjoy.”

Thanet Planning Website Blog

Congratulations to Thanet District Council, their Thanet planning website has now gone interactive and you can comment on planning applications as you would on a blog.

Yes really your comments will be available for everyone to see, this is a first and major step by TDC towards more open government, by using the internet interactively.

It isn’t clear if objections sent by post will be published too, however its obvious that they should be and presumably will be in the fullness of time.

Wednesday 21 May 2008

Free Manston open day

To celebrate 90 the years anniversary of the RAF at Manson there will be an open day this Sunday starting at 10 am

Weather permitting Red Arrows, Spirit of Kent Spitfire and all the other stuff you would expect click here for the pictures of last years open day sorry they scroll sideways I was a bit e-literate as you can see its not one to miss.

More on Ramsgate’s town Council

I have just received a further communication from Tim click here to read it would seem that things are moving forward and there is indeed to be a meeting this Friday and next Friday at Albion House, the aim would appear to be to wrest our government from the decayed administration of Thanet District Council.

Some of you may wish to read about the last time this happened when Ramsgate managed to wrest its government from the decayed administration of Sandwich click here to do so

Tuesday 20 May 2008

Canterbury Floods 1909

I appear to have some readership in Canterbury so I thought that these pictures of their October 1909 flood caused by unusually heavy rain could be of interest to them.

PC Jordan

A little bit more information and one more picture, above, has emerged about PC Jordan who I did a post about the other day. This picture is of him in a charity show at Westcliff Hall probably about 1930.

I have also heard that he was awarded the RSPCA medal for bravery for rescuing the horses as mentioned in the previous post.

Click here for the previous post

Monday 19 May 2008

Ramsgate Town Council

The pictures are of Henry Terry who was Mayor of Ramsgate in 1930. I have received emails from Gerry and Tim today about the formation of Ramsgate’s town council, it would appear that decayed administration of Thanet District Council are tying to prevent us from forming our new town council.

As you see from the pictures Ramsgate once maintained its own civic dignity and we were able operate as a very successful and prosperous town.

Click here to read the emails about the town council and look at the rest of the pictures

Walk round part of Ramsgate

I went to get some chicken from Rooks the butchers this morning and took the scenic route click here and here for the pictures nothing very exciting but I do feel privileged to live in such an attractive town.

As I have said before I have given up out of town shopping altogether, on the basis that you either use it or lose it, chicken curry tonight well under £1 per head, and a lot of cookery cheats involved.

Saturday 17 May 2008

Margate Pier Foundation

One of my readers sent me this interesting sheet from the plans for Margate harbour arm, as you see it is held in place by piles driven into the ground. This is a different construction method to Ramsgate’s harbour arms, which have granite foundations embedded in the chalk.

Does anyone know what the piles are made of?

The New Ramsgate Guide for 1867

Some pages from this guide that I publish a reprint of to share with you all today.

These cheap Victorian guides to Ramsgate are incredibly difficult to obtain they are about as common as rocking horse droppings. One of the most interesting parts of them are the advertisements for local businesses of that time. The publisher of the guide would have used them to finance the printing. You will notice that a different typeface is used on nearly every line of them. I imagine that at a time when it was expensive to produce illustrations, the choice of type design was a major selling point to the proprietors of our local businesses.
I imagine that it was a successful venture as J Bear went on to produce a guide to the Isle of Thanet and one to Margate, that I know of, although I expect it will be difficult to get copies of them to reprint I will do my best

Click here for the pages from the guide

Friday 16 May 2008

Blogs and blogging for beginners getting your blogger dashboard

First I should point out this is free and doesn’t cost you anything.

This is my second posting on the subject and is for those of you who wish to get into the driving seat and start your own blog, or wish to join blogger to prevent other people maliciously using their identity.

Before joining blogger you will need to work out what name you want to use for yourself as this will appear as when you post on other blogs, you also need to decide on what email address you want to use. This is very important if you wish to hide your true identity and you may need to get a hotmail or other free email address before you start.

The name you use for yourself is the one that appears in your blogger profile and doesn’t need to be the same as the name of your blog, indeed you can have a number of blogs all using your chosen name.

I have 2 blogs, which is my main blog and, which I occasionally play with, but is pointless.

You then go to and sign up following the instructions which are all fairly straightforward.

After having done this when you go to and sign on you go to your own blogger dashboard where you can do various things.
One final thing in the sign in box your username is your email address.

Keble's Penny Guide to Margate and the Isle of Thanet 1885

Another old Thanet Guide book that I publish a cheap reprint of for you all today, I have just put a fair amount of it up on the web, the pages are about the same size as the original.

Many thanks to Norman Munn, who is encouraging me to produce more Margate material, for lending me the original copy of this and other Margate publications to copy for publication.

Originals of Keble’s penny guides are very frail items just a careful read tends to make them fall to pieces, so it was with great pleasure that I was able to produce a more durable edition.

I hope the cover picture of Margate is about the right date frankly I am better at dating this sort of thing in Ramsgate.

It may be of some interest to know that the original copy was a printer’s proof this meant that all of the advertisements had been crossed through with pen. It was something of a labour of love to make them presentable for printing. The pencil notes showed the price of advertising in the original 30/- per page i.e. £1.50 straight conversion or about £30 at today’s value.

One further thought is that I am hoping to find a shop in the centre of Margate to sell my publications, especially the ones about Margate.

Click here to read some of this guide

Thursday 15 May 2008

Save Thanet's Water Supply - STOP The China Gateway

There is a new Thanet blog that I should like to draw to the attention of anyone local that uses water.

Our water supplies here in Thanet are drawn from underground reservoirs and they are under threat of pollution, that at the very least would mean greatly increased water bills for us all. At worse it could lead to local people being killed by poisoning, so this is an issue that should interest all of us.

Click here for the new blog

Click here for my more detailed assessment of the problem

Wednesday 14 May 2008


I have just received the following job advertisement and as the China Gateway is in the news at the moment I thought it could be of interest, it’s certainly well paid. Anyone think of a suitable candidate?

Employer: East Kent Opportunities LLP
Location: Maidstone and Thanet
Salary: c. £70,000
Closing date: 2 June
Interviews: 16 June

Job Context

East Kent Opportunities (EKO) LLP is a joint venture vehicle established by Kent County Council and Thanet District Council with a specific focus on the development of a number of sites in the Thanet area namely, Manston Business Park and Eurokent.

Click here for a more detailed description of the post

Ramsgate Holiday Guide For 1934

I have just put some sample pages from this rather charming guide on the web click here to look at them. A reprint is available as one of the over 100 local books I publish.

Tuesday 13 May 2008

Recent History

looking at last years photos of Ramsgate well click on the links and use the arrows to navigate through the pictures

more cuts

Pipes and stuff

and girls

or click on the numbers at the top to change pages that scroll sideways with these well click here and see how you get on

Blogs and blogging for beginners

I was talking to a savvy 20 something earlier and she said, “what’s a blog?” well I suppose we all get caught up in our own little world, oddly enough the secondhand book world is very internet orientated and interlinked, so secondhand booksellers for the most part have been using the internet for a very long time.

Certainly 10 years ago we had 12,000 books listed on the internet and people asking me what the internet was, never came as a surprise.

Anyway it occurred to me that I ought to put simple instructions on how to post linked to the sidebar.

If any of you notice anything important I have missed please let me know.

Monday 12 May 2008

Old Ramsgate pictures

The bomb damage ones are of the WW1 zeppelin raid, I think rest are fairly self explanatory click here for the rest

Sunday 11 May 2008

Ramsgate sun boats and girls

If you see me out and about with my camera don’t hesitate to stop me and ask me to photograph you for publication on the web, as these charming ladies did earlier today.


I have just discovered that Thanet District Council installed a webcast TV system in the council chamber back in 2003, in the light of various postings about some fairly interesting exchanges at recent council meetings, does anyone know why it’s not being used so we can all appreciate our local democracy at work?

Mike Harrison has some suggestions about this on Newington Blogspot link on sidebar.

This is a sample from my own rather primitive attempts at webcast just to show that this very inexpensive and amusing as well as informative.

Saturday 10 May 2008


I would like to remind you all that the builder that intends to build the Pleasurama development is still laying lose slabs on lose sand on the edge of the sea defences, the pictures tell the story better than anything I could dream up.

Baby Starlings

Back to the bush in the garden, the unstable black item is a baby starling that has just jumped nest, sorry the pictures are a bit fuzzy, they were snapped through the kitchen window between shop customers. Click here for the rest

Friday 9 May 2008

China Gateway objection.

I have filed an initial objection to the development click here to read objecting to planning applications is something I don’t really know anything about, so how much is valid is a bit of an unknown quantity.
Discussing it in the shop today, someone asked a very pertinent question, how big is the development in old money? If I have worked it out right, phases 1, 2 and 3 cover just under half a square mile.

Thursday 8 May 2008

a few more pictures of modern Ramsgate

click here to view them once again sorry some of them are a bit dark

The environment agency’s comments on the China Gateway development

I have just received the environment agency’s official response to the China Gateway planning application. I hasn’t yet appeared on the TDC planning website so I don’t know if TDC have received it yet, I have published it on the web click here to read it

Wednesday 7 May 2008

Spring at last

We have a small roof garden on top of the bookshop and every year blackbirds and sparrows nest in it, today we have a bush full of baby birds as they have just jumped nest, which is giving us all plenty of entertainment.

Tuesday 6 May 2008

Something in the water?

I have been doing more research into the China Gateway project and have read more of the hundreds of pages that constitutes the planning application. The there is a lot of talk of phases 1 2 and 3 the map above shows what this means click here for an enlarged version

As far as I understand the land used for phase 1 has been earmarked as an industrial area, I believe what happened was that because of its close proximity to the end of the duel carriageway to London it looked like the obvious site for an industrial estate. Because of this the council decided to override the normal regulations against building on prime farmland.

What I believe no one noticed at the time was that this site is right in the middle of the porous chalk land that holds our drinking water.

I don’t think that any industrial activity should take place on this land there are many reasons but here is just one.

You only have to have one of the thousands of visiting UK or foreign lorry drivers, who doesn’t realise that the drains in the lorry parks discharge into our drinking water supply, wash out a tanker that has contained toxic chemicals there, and the whole area is permanently and irretrievably destroyed as a water source. Click here to read the communications between the environment agency and the architects about this

Monday 5 May 2008

Walk From Ramsgate to Broadstairs and back

We did as the title says today, nothing very exciting click here for the pictures, one day I will go through and delete the worse ones and clean some of the bits out of the camera. I also noticed that I called the html sub directory the wrong month so perhaps it was more tiring than I thought and the pictures seem to be mostly too dark sorry about that

Sunday 4 May 2008

Ramsgate All Change

I noticed yesterday, when I came to print more of the local books that were running low, that I had sold quite a lot of Dave Richards new book about Ramsgate’s railways Ramsgate All Change. So I have published some more of it up in the web for you all to share click here to see it

Saturday 3 May 2008

Drinking water and China Gateway

This map click here to enlarge shows our drinking water sources with the proposed development outlined in red, my 4 main points of concern detailed below.

1 The site is on top of the Manston aquifer, the porous chalk where some of our drinking water is collected from the rainfall above and all of our drinking water is stored.

2 PRCs environmental report (part of the planning application) says that the surface drainage system will discharge into a large soakaway in the porous chalk.

3 PRCs environmental report says that foul drainage chemical, industrial and human sewage will be processed by an onsite plant and that the purified water from this plant will be discharged into the surface drainage system.

4 PRCs environmental report says that maintenance of this plant will be the responsibility of the leaseholders of the business park.
I would appreciate any thoughts particularly any corrections of any aspects of my information that appears wrong.

Friday 2 May 2008

Margate Fire station?

I bought a couple of old photographs today both of fire officers and both from the same source as one says Yavard Sims Margate on it. I would imagine they date from around 1930 any one got any more information? Click here to see them in high definition

Thursday 1 May 2008


I have just been reading the Environmental Statement for The China Gateway Manston and was interested to notice that it has been prepared by PRC Architects. These are the same chaps who produced the Pleasurama site plans that have certain unusual features click here to see what I mean.

To look at the plans and Environmental Statement copy the application number F/TH/08/0400 ready to paste into the search box and then click here to go to the Thanet planning site.

It’s always nice to know that one is dealing with competent people who follow the environment agency’s strong recommendations when our drinking water supply is involved.