Friday, 27 June 2008

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.


  1. No Dreamland
    No Model Village
    No Pleasurama
    No Dog Track
    No Motor Museum
    No Margate Caves
    No Bleak House
    No Lido

    What extra is the ? Westwood X ?

  2. A few years ago I read the book of the Darling Buds of May. In one chapter Charlie refers to a 'little railway' in France, that he remembered from before the 'war'.

    All the items listed above have been 'done in' by the potential visitors going on trips to 'spain'etc. I am afraid we are stuck with the fact that holiday makers want sunshine, cheap booze, and cheap, well appointed accommodation, (ie ensuite and a proper dining area, not a B&B and a canteen).

    You can get that in spain, but not often in the Uk.

    When I go to Manchester or Birmingham I stay at the local IBIS or equivalent, it works out at about £50 a night with breakfast, In Europe the equivalent is £25 a night. Enough said.

  3. Ken I don’t think you can just blame foreign holidays, seaside towns in other areas seem on the whole to be doing better, could you name a single seaside town with as many closed shops as Margate, outside of a war zone.

    The only one of these I knew the owners of was the Motor Museum, moving the bucket and spade run to Margate, and lack of council support was what they sited as their reason for closing.

  4. All those years rate free, The Bucket and spade run was but half a day a year. The real reason for the decline of the motor museum and the model village was not enough 'bums' through the turnstile.

    Westwood cross does not take away tourists, only locals who go there for shopping. Having been in Ramsgate today for some shopping, I can see why many go to Westwood. Staff were 'casual' unhelpful, and downright rude. Not what I expect when spending my money to keep them in a job.

  5. Sounds like you had a bad time Ken, I can tell you that while having myself quite cheerfully spent most of the week helping people to find the right books and trying to answer their local history questions, life working in a town centre shop is getting markedly less pleasant. A lot of the people hanging around in the town centres are difficult to deal with and the police presence is appalling, still I have to admit I don’t often get rudeness from the assistants in the Ramsgate shops.

  6. Hi Michael,

    Dreamland, Lido, dog track and model village were established by John Henry Iles and family at different times. Thanet needs another entrepreneur like him surely to make a success of the place once more. He saaw commercial opportunities and invested lartge sums of money to makew them work. His influence on Thanet would have been profound in the 1930s and 1950s. Indeed, he was a leading councillor and JP too.
    I have early guidebooks of the model village - perhaps a possible reprint for you. I'll try and drop by with one for you to look at some time.



  7. Other UK resorts have managed to keep some of their traditional attractions - Folkestone's restored hydraulic lift, Hastings's mini railway and cliff lifts, Volks Railway and still one pier at least in Brighton.

    We've lost the lot. And Ken, they haven't been plundered by the Spanish... they've been robbed by greedy developers with a supine council as their accomplice! And we will rue that when a return flight to Spain is beyond the reach of most people, as it will be soon what with higher oil prices and increasing carbon footprint taxes.

  8. I live in Ramsgate now (have lived in Margate, too).
    I generally use local facilities and where possible, those independant/ family run businesses. I rarely go to Westwood but do occassionally - if I need pants (M&S!) or if Debenhams have a sale.

    It is not political - it is about the lifestyle that we choose. I don't want to drive far, Ramsgate town centre has almost everything we need on a day to day basis - excellent supermarket, an independent health food shop, and all the banks... + anything else we need can be bought in the local shops.
    Also really wonderful cafes, restaurants and Bars.
    What I don't like is having to pay a large amount to park my car if I have to pop in to town in a hurry for 1 item. I like to be able to walk everywhere, but sometimes that is not practical.
    I have tried to use Thanet's buses - but they are too complicated for me to master!

  9. Mrs T P this is not so much political but about what happens to our towns if we don’t make a conscious effort to use them, instead of giving the business away elsewhere. As far as I can make out Margate has reached a point where there are so many shops closed that the more undesirable elements of society often outnumber the shoppers, and this makes them behave even more badly.

    Only yesterday a 70 something lady in the shop told me that she had stopped going to Margate and Cliftonville as she found peoples behaviour there threatening. She added that the disabled parking spaces in the multistory car park were situated in a dark corner that invited crime.

    You may ask who benefits from this? And the answer is the out of town shops, now if we follow a road where our town centres become threatening to ordinary people, who lock themselves in their cars and drive to shopping centres with free parking that are properly policed by private security firms I would say our society has pretty much collapsed.


Comments, since I started writing this blog in 2007 the way the internet works has changed a lot, comments and dialogue here were once viable in an open and anonymous sense. Now if you comment here I will only allow the comment if it seems to make sense and be related to what the post is about. I link the majority of my posts to the main local Facebook groups and to my Facebook account, “Michael Child” I guess the main Ramsgate Facebook group is We Love Ramsgate. For the most part the comments and dialogue related to the posts here goes on there. As for the rest of it, well this blog handles images better than Facebook, which is why I don’t post directly to my Facebook account, although if I take a lot of photos I am so lazy that I paste them directly from my camera card to my bookshop website and put a link on this blog.