Sunday 14 December 2008

The Sunday ramblings of a deranged shop assistant

Local history considerations this week, first the future of Ramsgate Maritime Museum, as some of you will know there was a court hearing relating to the Cervia steam tug and the liability of the East Kent Maritime Trust trustees.

I phoned up the chap who owns the tug and asked him what he wanted, a lot of his answerer was what he didn’t want, so lets get that out of the way first. He said he doesn’t want to step in and take over Maritime museum, he doesn’t want to take away the collection, he doesn’t even want to take his tug back.

So what does he want that is going to annoy some people? His contention is that neither the museum or the tug are significant enough to be tourist attractions on their own and he wants both to be run in conjunction as a tourist attraction.

What he says that he would like to do is meet with the councillors and work out a solution, as he said they hold all the keys, he says he won’t ask for anything that they can’t afford and that he has volunteers ready who want to help with the problem.

He very much stressed that he didn’t want to be seen to be taking over what was the people of Ramsgate’s and didn’t want to play a day to day part in running our maritime heritage.

He also told me that he had heard the some of the windows at the maritime museum had been broken in the last few days and asked me if anyone was looking after it, I had to say I didn’t know.

I told him that I doubted he would get much help and cooperation from the council as it was Ramsgate and they were mostly interested in putting their resources into arts projects in Margate, indeed IOTA the arts group in Ramsgate had recently been told that they wouldn’t get any support from the council unless they moved to Margate.

My own feelings are whatever the ins and outs and the legal niceties of the situation, sooner or later the tug will have to be towed out put on the slipway and assessed, we can’t just leave it there to sink, it’s too damned big.

As far as I am aware the councillor in charge of harbour related things is councillor Latchford, the last time I wrote to him was at the beginning of this year, to ask if we could have some temporary leisure and or parking use, for the Pleasurama site for the summer that has just passed. He didn’t bother to reply to me however as I believe he reads this blog I am hoping that he will at least speak to the owner of the Cervia.

Now I go on to another local history issue Aldred’s Minster, you may remember Gerald has been transcribing a pile of old documents relating to the Rising Sun public house in Ramsgate, the earliest of these dates back to the 1600s, when it comes to transcribing and understanding these old documents Gerald is an expert.

He has just finished transcribing the whole bundle, no small task I can assure you, he said that the some most difficult ones were the more recent ones as they used so many abbreviations.

Aldred’s Minster is a local history book that is almost entirely made up from these old documents, pretty much all of our local history that predates Lewis’s history of the Isle of Thanet comes from these old documents and the inscriptions on gravestones. They are not however at all easy for the layman to understand.

With its help quite a few people descended from local families ought to be able to trace their ancestors back further than was previously possible, so it is worth persevering with.

Aldred is writing for an audience of Victorian genealogists and historians and pulls no punches when it comes to an inexpert audience, he even leaves abbreviations in, and unusual writing from the early-confused period before spelling. Leaving us with cases where yn ye means than the, names are often rendered as Wm, Ric, Thos, Hy, Ph, and so on which I think may be Aldred’s way of saving space.

So while the book is a valuable resource it is transcribed documents for the historian and being such is fairly heavy going, it is also fairly difficult to see how the documents inter relate, so I have asked Gerald to have a look at it and see if he can write and introduction for those of us who are comparative novices to this type document and don’t know all about gravelkind reversion and inheritance.

In the meantime I have published it on the web complete for other bloggers to contemplate and will run off a paper version without Gerald’s introduction, for those who don’t need it click here to read it.

I would also be grateful for any biographical information about Aldred he doesn’t appear in The Dictionary of National Biography, which is the main resource for biographical information about people in this country.

Next my son taught me how to peel an onion this week, I had been going through life assuming I knew, peel it from the top down and then cut off the ends, it really is a great deal easier and doesn’t make your eyes water.

I am working on a reprint of a Victorian local history book about the town of Deal at the moment and if anyone can send me copies of pictures suitable to illustrate it with it will be the better book.


  1. Well what was he ever going to do with Cervia Michael ?

    Wasn't he always going to seek a solution in which Cervia might be the leverage but it was never going anywhere ?

    I was the first person to inform Charity Commission about the £267,000 Butler legacy. I asked the CC to instruct representation for the mediation process. To check the terms of the legacy and any judgement when it was contested.

    If it is bound to the provision of a maritime museum service in Ramsgate then as long as the new body complete their charity registration and provide such a museum then they may well be entitled to the 267,000 to use solely to that end.

    But the Charity Commission should be extending their existing case inquiry, re EKMT, to examine those issues.

    If Ramsgate ends up still with a museum and with keen volunteers without Thanet tory cllr monkeys on their backs ?

    This may well have been a case of a certain Billy Goat tory trustee upsetting the man over EKMT who was in the know and just too clever for the tory cllr.

    As I told Beachcomber I have had to laugh all the way through so far.

    Just throw a bit of embuggerance in at the end game re the 267,000 in the hope it helps keep Ramsgate a museum ?

    But I am not pursuing this Thanet issue further.

    I took an interest because one of the trustees was/is Bill Hayton.

    Mind you I would love to have seen him squirm on the end of an unlimited liability Trustee compensation order re Cervia delapidation.

    Might have come out of retirement to volunteer as an honorary bailliff.

  2. I can't see anything wrong with the possibilities that Rick describes - as long as everything is OK with the charity commission.

    From what I've seen on Eastcliff Matters the legacy to EKMT was not restricted - but how much of it is left? EKMT had already spent some by the end of 2007 and they've been running without TDC grant all year, made 'generous' redundancy payments (the trustees own words) and been paying lawyers.

    There might not be all that much left in the kitty?

  3. Oh yes there is!!! I hear that £80k is left - and of course the Sundowner.


  4. I would smile if Mr Cates ends up running the Ramsgate museum sans the Thanet tory trustees.

    If the Steam Museum Trust has keen volunteers. Might be worth giving them a shot eh ?

    I have some sense of the expertise Beachcomber and friends could bring to a well intentioned set up.

    I am going to hope for the best.

    Hi Malcolm. Hope you read my latest post. You only need to read the first couple of paragraphs. The rest is my police duty stuff.

  5. We might do worse than the steam museum lot - their rallies are pretty cool.

    Malcolm - do you think it is OK for the EKMT trustees to spend a huge chunk of the legacy on legal fees? If they had half decent advice I cant see how they could be sure that they would win any dispute about the tug.

    Shouldn't they pay the solicitors
    from their own money?

  6. Michael

    Overheard a conversation in Miles bar today that some suits were looking over some plans for the museum recently.

    Allegedly going to be a restaurant built around some of the artifacts in there.

    i think a restaurant would be nice right in the harbour, but seeing as we have one (harbour lights anyone?) whoever holds the cards needs to be careful who they let it too and what their history is.

    Lets hope its not thorley, otherwise he might want to store some more chairs in another central harbour site.


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.