Monday 30 June 2008

More Model village and shopping experience

I post with some trepidation as my last post on this subject prompted a senior councillor to comment that he thought Ramsgate was horrible place to shop, not particularly helpful in what are difficult times for town centre shops.

Perhaps some of you have thoughts on the local shopping experience both in the Thanet towns and the miracle that is Westwood Cross, yes of course I can sympathise I don’t imagine that the businesses in the ubiquitously abbreviated WC can be entirely happy with the infrastructure.

Car parking is an issue also raising some problems, free parking experiments for Margate, although not for Ramsgate as one would expect and at WC the shops not exactly teeming when all the parking spaces occupied.

Well enjoy the pictures of the model village

You can also avoid the whole business of shopping and buy our local history books online post free. However personally I consider a good browse in a bookshop a much more gratifying experience.

Preston Steam Rally 2008

As promised a few pictures of Preston Steam Rally, having worked on fairgrounds at one time what I think impressed me most was the carousel. It is unusual to see these rides still powered by their steam engine with their organ still functioning as this one was.

What I like about this rally is the venue Preston Services where they deal in anything steam powered click here to look at their website

I am sorry it’s even more snapshotish than usual it was very crowded and I was concerned about losing my family in the crowd.

Sunday 29 June 2008

Ramsgate Tugs

I have put up a couple of pictures of the Tug Aid and found out a bit about the plans for The Cervia. I used a picture of Aid for the front cover of Memorials of the Goodwin Sands it shows the Ramsgate lifeboat being towed out of the harbour by the steam tug “Aid” at about the time the book was first published. This was the second (the only one with two funnels) of the three tugs named Aid that served Ramsgate harbour, the first from 1885 to 1889, the second from 1890 to 1914, and the third from 1914 to 1938. By 1938 Ramsgate lifeboat had its own engine and so didn’t need towing. The lifeboat in the picture (probably “The Bradford”) is of the self-righting type, the raised parts at each end being the buoyancy boxes filled with cork. A combination of these boxes and a weighted iron keel underneath meant that when the boat was turned upside down, by huge waves it rolled back the right way up. For a time my brother owned one of this type of lifeboat that had had an engine fitted and converted into a “pleasure” craft. Although it was evidently a very seaworthy vessel it was incredibly boisterous in any sort of a sea. Definitely built for seafarers with stomachs of heroes. As it surged up and down the waves like a roller coaster car one was only too aware that the stern buoyancy box had been emptied of its cork to enable the engine to be installed. The Bradford was propelled by 12 oars, with I think 2 men to an oar, I can testify that a similar vessel with a forty horsepower engine is an unwieldy craft that feels under powered when one tries to manoeuvre it. From about 1845 Ramsgate had a steam tug and from about 1858 two steam tugs the other being the Vulcan. The combination of the tug and lifeboat proved to be the most effective method of sea rescue before lifeboats were powered by their own engines. One of the Ramsgate tugs was kept with her boiler alight and ready for action 24 hours a day. In Ramsgate today (after a gap of about a year when they were stopped for health and safety reasons) we hear the maroons fired when the lifeboat is called out; often to rescue people who have underestimated the hazard of the Goodwins.

Click here for the pictures of Aid

Click here for sample pages from the book

Click here for information about the Cervia

Saturday 28 June 2008

Jewish youth gathering in Ramsgate

A gathering of Ramsgate’s Anglo Jewish community outside East Cliff Lodge, which was occupied by Sir Moses Montefiore from 1822. I would imagine the grand dame in the picture is one of the Sebag Montefiores I would think the picture dates from the 1950s or late 1940s

Friday 27 June 2008

Preston Steam Rally

Although not strictly in Thanet Preston Steam Rally is one of the best local events and it’s this weekend, I can thoroughly recommend making a day of it.

Click here for some pictures of it in the past

Ramsgate Model Village

Some pictures of the model village today and there will be more to come soon, just one of our lost attractions. It occurs to me that pictures of old Ramsgate are a constant reminder of what has gone wrong.

Wednesday 25 June 2008

Ramsgate Charter Trustees

I just received Ramsgate Charter Trustees accounts from Tim

Ramsgate Cinque Port Boundary in 1560

I noticed that spelling has been mentioned in the two previous posts and it occurred to me that I should type out the account of the perambulation of Ramsgate’s boundary in 1560.

We finde that at twentie Rodde from the clyfe no waye, and also we are credybly informed of John Michall, and Mother Ynge, that they did knowe the waye in their tyme, thoroue to the clyfe which is now decayede with the plowes, which waye we require now to be made lawfull again as it was of olde. And further we finde that from the foresaide waye ledynge between Ramsgate and Herston to the Eastward is not left nor kepte lawfull as it ought to be, by the defalte of the Londe Peers thereof whose names followeth; on the north side Iyeth the bride of Richard Colman, to the ende of Jeliinggam Hill-and then the londes of the Heyres of James Sander. The londe of Richard Coppyn and now in the occupienge of John Hickes, and then we finde that there lackethe a markes stone that hath bene sene there, which we desire may be sett again, more there lieth next him the bride of the Heyres of Robert Astone, and is in the occupienge of his wedowe. There lyeth more the bride of Benett Benett and over against him on the south side of the waye lieth the londe of the said Benett Benett. The londe of Roger Coppyn, the bride of Roger Coppyn, the londe of the Heyres of Roger Astone and in the occupienge of Roger Golding, and the bride of Stephen Garrod, and then against the bride of the said Stephen Garrod, we finde that there Iackethe a markes stone which of late hath bene sene. And thus further the waye is nor kepte lawfull—and also the waye called Thos. Taryes waye of the south west side. The bride of Thos. Astone, now in the occupienge of Wyllm. Coppyn, the bride of Robert Harres, and on the north side the bonde of Robert Spraclynge, the bondes of Nicolas Shelby, the londes of John Coppyn, the brides of Robert Garrod, the londe of the Heyres of James Sannder, the bride of Thos. Sampson, the bride of John Series and Thos. Astone now in the occupienge of John Coppyn, and so fare we finde the waye not lawfully kepte and further we finde that the waye was of viii foote and a lawfull waye to carye and recarye which now is not so, but almost plowed up, so that if it be not with spede redressed we fere there will be no waye and that shortley.

Tuesday 24 June 2008

St Laurence or St Lawrence

I don’t know why St Laurence Church is normally spelt differently to St Lawrence village and district. The church is very old indeed it was founded in 1062 as a chapel of Minster. In 1175 Richard De Manston built the southwest porch and aisles on each side of the nave. The chapels on each side of the chancel were added in the early 1200s. St Lawrence was made a separate parish in 1275. The church had a major restoration in 1888 the four-dial clock being added at that time.

Monday 23 June 2008

One of Ramsgate’s civic occasions.

On the back of this picture it says, 11th November 1925 the freedom of Ramsgate being granted to field marshal viscount Allenby.

I have just finished volume 3 of my series of books of postcards of Ramsgate, each volume contains about 160 pictures and they sell for £7.99 each. I am working on volume 4 at the moment and this is one of the pictures that will go in it.

It’s a strange thing but I have seen all the original postcards, published pretty much all of them online, so I have seen all the pictures on the computer screen at that point.

I have then gone through all of the images, enhancing them, cropping them and adjusting the contrast and brightness for printing, so I have seen them all again on the screen again at that point.

Now however in book form, and my books are fairly simple stapled affairs, it as though one is somehow seeing the pictures for the first time, there is something in turning the paper pages that just doesn’t work on the screen.

Looking at this picture one is aware that we have lost something of our national identity, and our identity as a town, I am assuming the picture was taken in Ramsgate town hall. It is certainly clear that the people making the vital decisions about a town as large as Ramsgate should have some sort of stake in the town.

German Submarine U-B. 21 in Ramsgate Harbour December 16th 1918

The inhabitants of Ramsgate, who had suffered so severely through the German raiders, had the satisfaction after the Armistice was signed of seeing one of the U-Boats brought into the Harbour.

Inside U-B. 21

A German Submarine Souvenir.
Ramsgate drifters, which have guarded the Channel and cleared it of mines during the war, have many remarkable feats to their credit. On one occasion they destroyed U-B 48, a gigantic mine-laying submarine, which was rounded up on the Goodwin Sands and blown to pieces. One gun was saved and brought to Ramsgate, where it is mounted as a souvenir on the West Cliff.

Some of this comes from, Ramsgate During the Great War 1914-1918 A Souvenir of the Most Raided Part of England by A. H. Siminson.

Larger pictures ?

Sunday 22 June 2008

Motor Tug Kent

MT Kent, built 1948 by Richards of Lowestoft, restored by The Southeastern Tug Society, from 1995 to 1999 Length 88' 0" Beam 22' Draught 11' 6" 121 Tons Gross 121 880 B.H. P 5 Cylinder British Polar diesel engine.

As far as I can find out The Southeastern Tug Society has obtained a grant of most of the money for the replating of the hull of the tug, and she is now on Ramsgate slipway to have this work done.

Saturday 21 June 2008

St Nicholas at Wade

Two old pictures of St Nicholas at Wade click here to view

Thanet District Councils planning website

I have had a response from the council about my concerns that information is being withheld from us, because they have set their planning website to restrict public access to documents and comments on it.

Friday 20 June 2008

All Gas and Gaiters

Some pictures of Ramsgate’s churches today, here in Ramsgate we were very cunning over the funding of St Georges Church, having got the chapel of ease grant for the building we then got Trinity House to fund the tower as a navigation landmark.

China Gateway amended plans for toilet by our well

I have just received the amendments to the China Gateway plans click here to look at them at first glance they seem to completely ignore the environment agency’s recommendations and conditions.

We now have the ludicrous situation where this land on top of our drinking water reservoir has been reclassified as suitable for every type of industry or laboratory and that the developer is insisting that it is perfectly safe for the operators of the site to process their own sewage, chemical and industrial waste, and pour the results into the ground so close to our drinking water well that it would enter our water supply in 51 days.
The only protection we would have is that the operator would be liable to pay for cleaning up the pollution and compensate the families of those poisoned, I wonder how a Chinese company would respond to the litigation.

Thursday 19 June 2008

Ramsgate Parish Council

Meandering through the local blogs this morning I noticed Mike Harrison getting hot under the collar, about Gerry O’Donnell getting hot under the collar, about Ramsgate town council. Click here to see what I mean.

Well as Mike has directed people to some posts that I did back in May I thought to make it easier for anyone looking for them so click here to read them.

The word on the street is that many councillors of both main parties are not to keen on Ramsgate having a parish council and that TDC are now aiming to put our parish council elections off until 2011.

The Freddy Hargraves Band

I received the picture above this morning, can anyone answer Geoff’s question?

I called into you bookshop about a week ago and said that I would send you the attached picture. My sister, who is now in her seventies found this postcard with some old photo's. I imagine that it was taken in the Westcliff Hall in the early 1950s.

Having spent several holidays in Ramsgate in early to mid 1950s. My dad was, at that time a keen fan and would drag us along to either the St Lawrence bandstand or the above mentioned hall several times during our annual one week stay to hear this band play. Bearing in mind that I was still quite young, I was born in 1946, I seem to remember that their musical standard was every bit as good as dance bands heard on the radio at that time the usual bit of bawdy seaside comedy thrown in for good measure. By the late 1950s their style of music had gone out of fashion and they had gone also. Do you know if Mr Hargraves/ Hargeaves was a local man? There is a passing reference to him in This England's book of dance bands Vol 2 and minor reference to him Who's who in British Jazz.



Wednesday 18 June 2008

Ramsgate Inner Harbour basin drained in 1912

This is the last of the series of pictures I bought last Sunday, that show work to the harbour.

The writing on it is fairly damaged but I think it deciphers to: showing berth (dry) in which the S “Saxon Queen” grounded on March. 4th 1912 – taken on the day of the Survey 20-3-12

I have examined the notice you can see in the picture with a glass, and it is revealed as saying:

Harbour Master

If you chose to interpret the capital letters as shouting then Mr Inskip is shouting over the distance of a hundred years.

Higher Harbour

After the question raised yesterday about the level of the top of the crosswall I have been looking at some pictures, in the one above you can see different stone blocks used in Smeaton’s dry dock. As you can see the height of the crosswall is hardly enough now during a tidal surge and it will probably need to be raised again because of the effect of global warming.

Tuesday 17 June 2008

Underpinning at Ramsgate Harbour January 1909

I am assuming that this picture is of underpinning the crosswall, it is difficult to read all of the text on the back click here to see it.

I am certain about the following.

“On spring tides great …… is …….. from the water which ……. through the back of the wall. In some sections of the underpinning this water has had to be led through the new ……. in a pipe.”

It probably reads.

“On spring tides great pressure is experienced from the water which passes through the back of the wall. In some sections of the underpinning this water has had to be led through the new work in a pipe.”

Anyone got any better ideas?

Old pictures of Margate

I think these pretty much speak for themselves click here to look at the pictures

Monday 16 June 2008

Damage to the floor of the Eastern gully, Ramsgate Harbour

I think these pictures are about 1905 to 1910 as you can see from the picture above there are a lot of slabs on the crosswall suggesting major work is in progress to the harbour.

I can only say that a lot of people probably find this sort of posting rather dull, but I find the civil engineering works on the harbour and cliff façades very interesting, if you happen to be likeminded I can thoroughly recommend, “An Historical report on Ramsgate Harbour 1791” by John Smeaton, click here for a sample read

I am aware that I should be devoting more time to the public safety issues that some local developers seem to be ignoring, frankly I find chasing the various government departments in the vain hope that they will apply common sense to these issues, boring and slightly distasteful.

So today has been devoted to local history which means there will be a new local history book out tomorrow, I have indulged my customers, and myself and turned my back on unpleasant local issues.

How we exposed perpetrators of domestic violence in olden times here in The Isle of Thanet

A rural pastime called the “skimmerton,” occasions much mirth, particularly in villages, has it had a good effect on many who richly deserved to be publicly exposed.

It consists of two men riding on one horse; the one dressed as a woman; they sit back to back, and having panniers on the horse filled with grains, from a brewery, they proceed to the house of any man who has flogged his wife. On their arrival, they begin to quarrel, and throw the grains at each other, which is followed by a sham fight between the man and wife. The novelty of the sight, of course, occasions a great number of persons to assemble. The man who leads the horse on this occasion generally collects a few pence from the bystanders. An old servant of my father’s (John Hurst) was often selected for this rustic admonition. Sometimes, two or three parties have been thus publicly exposed on the same day.

Written by John Mockett in Thanet in 1828.

Sunday 15 June 2008

Sluicing The Harbour

This picture circa 1905 shows the harbour sluices running, this was done to stop the build-up of sand in the outer harbour, this saved on dredging costs that would have made the harbour very expensive to maintain.

Now of course lack of maintenance means that the sluices no longer work and the harbour loses money, despite the large amount of boats in it and the fairly high mooring fees.
Last year port and harbour cost us nearly a million pounds, we lost nearly £700,000 on the port, how the council could make an asset like Ramsgate Harbour lose money defies my understanding.

Ramsgate Harbour East Pier Head Work 1905

Mr Bastable foreman click here to enlarge the picture, note the men working on the side of the pier wall. Click here to enlarge the picture

Saturday 14 June 2008

China Gateway update

I had a telephone conversation with the environment agency about my response to them see what I mostly discussed was why there comments and conditions see here said the weren’t concerned about the flood risk.

During the conversation it became apparent that they had missed an important part of the planning application see it also became apparent that the environment agency officers hands were very much tied.

They couldn’t for instance say “building an industrial estate on top of a drinking water reservoir is just dam right stupid” well not officially anyway as there is no legislation that says you can’t do this, just masses of drainage regulations.
Click here to read on

Pictures of Margate Westgate and Cliftonville

Another batch of old pictures from the north of the island, where Margate and Cliftonville are concerned I find myself increasingly lost for words, I think without running a large and continuous fair on the Dreamland site this year it may well be too late for any sort of recovery in the medium and short term.

Click here for the pictures

Margate’s Big Event

Below Thanet District Council’s press release.

More planes have been added to the line-up of this year's Margate's Big Event, which will have more than two hours of flying displays on each day.

The Royal Navy Black Cat helicopters, a Vampire and a Mustang will be joining the line-up over the Father's Day weekend on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 June at the Thanet District Council organised event. Margate's Big Event will be open from 10am to 10pm on the Saturday and from 10.30am to 6pm on the Sunday with free admission on both days.

Amongst those already confirmed for the two day land and air spectacular are the Typhoon, Tutor and Tucano aircraft, the Hawk 208 Squadron, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and the Falcons and Tigers parachute teams.

Live music and arena acts will be the highlights of the ground entertainment across the two days. Arena acts will include precision formation riding from the Imps Motorcycle Team, Ridgeside Falconry, Cossack horsemen, James Dylan Stuntworld, holder of eight world records and the Devil's Horsemen, one of the country's top equestrian teams. The Saturday night will see a Magic of Motown tribute concert, followed by a fireworks finale.

Cllr. Roger Latchford, Cabinet Member for Culture and Economy, said: "These are great additions to an already superb line-up for Margate's Big Event. Last year's event was excellent and this year's is shaping up to be even better, with more than two hours of flying displays on each day, alongside a spectacular line-up of entertainment for the whole family on the ground. It's a great way to enjoy the Father's Day weekend, particularly as it's free admission on both days."

For more information about Margate's Big Event, call 0870 264 6111 or visit

Friday 13 June 2008


Replying to various comments and checking my facts I was wondering what people thought of cancer causing benthic chemicals going into Pegwell bay. As the old hoverport foundations made from coal mining slag, the runoff from Manston Airport and the surrounding roads all go into it untreated.

I wonder what the provision is for an aviation fuel spillage.


John Mockett could be described as Thanet’s first blogger he wrote this about Broadstairs in 1828.

A very ancient custom prevails, of men and boys being dressed up in various ways to amuse people at Christmas.

It unfortunately happened, this year, that a man dressed in a bearskin, met a young woman named Crow, the wife of John Crow, Broadstairs, and alarmed her so much that she was obliged to go to a friend’s house to recover herself; and in returning home, she met the same man again, which so dreadfully alarmed her that she died the next day. A coroner’s inquest was held on the occasion; and hand-bills circulated to prohibit such practices in future.

I publish his book Mockett’s journal and it occurred that an occasional post by him on this blog could amuse.

Ariel Photographs of Ramsgate

Some more old birdseye views of Ramsgate, I noticed that with the ones I published the other day it is possible to make up a panoramic view, which although not altogether perfect pleased me.

Thursday 12 June 2008

St George’s Church Ramsgate

Some pictures of St George’s Church Ramsgate including one of the restoration in 1907 click here to view them

Pictures of Chatham House Ramsgate

I am pretty sure that these are Chatham House pupils and that the other picture click here was taken during WW1 when the building was used as a Canadian hospital.

Wednesday 11 June 2008

Chislet Colliery

You don’t see many pictures of our local coalmine so I was pleased to be allowed to copy this one for us all to share.

Don’t dig the toilet near the well

Back at the beginning of May the environment agency produced their response to the China gateway development, which they sent to me, TDCs planning department and the developers architects.

The documentation that relates to this development consists of hundreds of pages and I am sorry to have to admit to not having read all of it, however it is pretty obvious that neither the environment agency officers nor the TDC planning officers have read all of it either.

The majority of the documentation relates to overcoming problems related contaminating our drinking water supply and can best be summarised as, how to let the Chinese dig a toilet by the well, in this case our drinking water well.

I thought as they had written to me about this issue I ought to take some trouble over it and reply to them detailing any errors I had found in their response.

Tuesday 10 June 2008

Ramsgate from the air

Today some aerial views of Ramsgate, I was surprised how few boats there were in the harbour. I believe these photos are all pre-war Ramsgate’s steam fishing boats are much in evidence.

Monday 9 June 2008

Ramsgate library reconstruction works

As some of you will know KCC have banned photography of the construction work at Ramsgate Library, so here is a rare picture of the construction work.

Pictures of this type are invaluable to historians in years to come, without them major events on Ramsgate’s history like the rebuilding of the library go unrecorded and eventually forgotten.

There are some old pictures of Ramsgate Library the bottom of one of my web pages click here to go there

Some more old pictures of Ramsgate

Once again local political issues have been taking up time that I would rather be spending on local history, however hare are some more old pictures of Ramsgate.

I put a counter on this blog a couple of months ago that seems to have passed the 10,000 mark, so it seems an appropriate time to ask readers if I am doing it ok anything you think I ought to be covering that I’m not or anything you think I am covering that I ought not to be?

I have captioned the pictures that didn’t seem obvious, sorry for any repeats, let me know if there are any you can’t identify click here to look at the pictures

Saturday 7 June 2008

Why are tdc hiding important documents from us?

I have noticed recently that there has been a considerable reluctance to keep the tdc planning website up to date and I am having to publish documents that should be appearing there.

With the China Gateway application the environment agency’s recommendations and conditions have still not appeared on the tdc planning website although they were sent to tdc over a month ago.

When I added my comments to the site I discovered that unlike other councils tdc had opted to hide comments and objections.

I have now published yet another important document that should be available for everyone with an interest in the application to view, it is the objection from the Protection of Rural England click here to read it

Friday 6 June 2008

Flogging off the TDC owned buildings in Ramsgate

Malcolm has just sent me his comments on the Ramsgate asset disposal for publication, he has some interesting thoughts, click here to read them.

Thursday 5 June 2008

Chinese to introduce paddy fields in Thanet.

I have just been reading the flood assessment for the China Gateway the report on the surface water drainage trenches, this report was carried out for the developer and concludes that; Outflow is too low and the design is unsatisfactory.

After the recent flooding, when it was obvious that both the drainage at Westwood and Thanet Earth proved to be inadequate, I wonder should we be giving planning consent to developers without first ensuring that the development has adequate drainage.

Good drainage is particularly important here in Thanet where we have an underground drinking water reservoir and especially for the China Gateway that as you see from the map will be on top of this reservoir.
Looks like the Environment Agency missed this one too here is what they have to say.

“The Environment Agency has no objection to this proposal on flood risk grounds.The risk of flooding to the development itself is low and the proposed means of surface water disposal to infiltration trenches, with some storage attenuation, would not be expected to increase flood risk elsewhere.”

Wednesday 4 June 2008

Thanet Planning Website Public Relations Disaster

On May 22nd I noticed that the Thanet planning website had gone interactive and that you could post comments and objections on it for all to see. It thought this was a great step forward in open government and involving the public in the planning process. It says on the website quite clearly that comments will be available for others to see and I posted by objection to the China Gateway application, however objection didn’t appear so I emailed UK planning who run the site for TDC below is their answer.

Dear Michael,

The reason your comment is not showing on the UKPlanning website is due to Thanet`s public access choices. Thanet District Council choose to restrict access to these comments at this case status on the public facing website.

Kind RegardsRyan Shearer UKPlanning Operations Supervisor

Tuesday 3 June 2008

Margate History Art

There has been quite a lot of comment on the blogs about Margate and attempts to regenerate it based around it becoming a modern art centre. What I am talking about here is modern art, not traditional art, I would say as people go I am more inclined to go to art galleries than most.

Frankly though the popularity of modern art is fairly limited, I know this from the amount books about it I sell relative to other subjects, however art galleries tend to be heavily subsidised and therefore entrance is free.

Now in the bookshop there is much more interest in history than modern art, when you include local history, military and transport history it is far and away the largest and most successful subject in the bookshop.

There are 33 bookcases of history in the bookshop and 3 bookcases of art about a shelf of which is modern art, and I would say there is about 1,000 times the interest in things historical as in modern art.

Now I am wondering if closing Margate Museum and putting all the resources into modern art is such a good idea without first engaging in a minor experiment, which is to make Margate Museum free for a bit and compare the visitor numbers with the heavily subsidised gallery in what was Marks and Spencer.

Reflections from the book trade

As life gets more expensive in general it is strange that secondhand book prices are falling and have been for a number of years, up to three years ago the average price of a second hand paperback novel had been stable at about £3 for some time, this has now fallen to about £2.50 and hardback non fiction’s average price has fallen from about £9 to about £7.

You have to appreciate that prices reflect supply and demand, and the difference between what we pay for books and what we price them at remains the same. In terms of business our turnover is up, it is supply that is increasing.

I am also only talking about good quality ordinary books, the others either go in the sale section, hardbacks 10p and paperbacks 5p and then of for recycling, or have a collectable value, by which I mean that they are more expensive than one would expect in the same way that a penny black stamp costs more than a penny.