Thursday, 1 October 2009

Gimme Shelter

As often happens due to my local historical and political interests one of the local papers telephoned me yesterday, in this instance it was to do with the restoration of the Victorian and Edwardian shelters in Ramsgate.
Mainly they wanted some historical photographs of the shelters and to know why the shelters were built in the first place.
Obviously in these circumstances I try to curb my native wit and refrain from answers like, “to get out of the rain”.
The amounts of money being talked about here are substantial £50,000 is being talked about for some of the larger shelters and £350,000 in all.
I would say the main reason that people don’t use the shelters much to sit in is the smell as they are used as lavatories.
I suppose one factor here is that when the shelters were used as shelters the town had a lot more lavatories.
Anyway looking at the Gazette website my comments about the money being better spent on other historical projects look a bit out of place beside those of the big guns of local history and conservation, whoops.
Lovely idea a seat in a shelter on a rainy day, but would there be any practical way to protect them from vandals and low peers.
Shutters that could be closed at night, cctv, shelters adopted by local people or businesses, any ideas?
At the moment with all Ramsgate’s potential for historical tourism to spend money on what must be the most difficult of things to protect seems a little incongruous.
Anyway the pictures are the ones I sent the paper.
We have a royal residence in the town Albion House, in such a bad state of repair that it now has nets on it to stop bits of the building falling on people.
Strange really in some towns they make quite a bit of money out of tourism generated from royal residences.
We have the largest network of civilian World War 2 underground tunnels, strange really some towns make a considerable amount of money out of wartime historical attractions.
Having just read how much the council spends on promoting tourism, perhaps the slogan come to Ramsgate and smell our shelters is one to consider.
A few simple things like building the new swimming pool on the seafront so that tourists could use it when the weather wasn’t good enough to go in the sea wouldn’t go a miss




14 comments:

  1. now come on Michael come up with some sensible ideas please for the council to make Ramsgate a place people want to come to.

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  2. Any idea what happened to the shelter at the entrance to Military Road after the truck partially demolished it?

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  3. Sadly I agree in terms of spending priorities. I also think removal of windows from shelters was a mistake making them look more run down and prone to vandalism. Another problem is that even when I have been involved with local police and PCSOs trying to address anti-social behaviour in shelters it is v difficult to police, especially the smelly activites, despite the polices best efforts.


    It just highlights again what I blogged recently on about the need to keep open more toilets and out of season. I'm just back from Brighton where out of season weekend tourism is considerable and the sea front is in a vastly superior state to ours, beach volleyball, basketball, cycling, running etc. Let's copy them!

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  4. The renovation of these shelters is part of an initiative by Ramsgate Society to co-ordinate volunteers in renovating the public image of the town. By starting in a small way but in a very public place it is hoped that bigger projects can be encouraged in the future. The fact that we have managed to secure considerable funding for the works indicates that if you are prepared to get out there and make it happen you will get support.

    As far as vandalism and graffiti are concerned these are minor problems compared with the dilapidations. Bus shelter technology will be used for clear glazing making anti-social behaviour less inviting and tiled floors can be regularly washed. The Ramsgate Society are prepared to take on the maintenance of the shelters if an appropriate lease can be secured.

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  5. A few years back the big shelter on Margate seafront was renovated at a reported cost of close to £200,000. Just a week or two after the grand reopening I noticed an very drunk man laying on the floor in my road (just round the corner from the shelter), with children & mothers etc having to walk in the road around him, so I called the police. After waking him up, the constable told the drunk to go to the shelter around the corner to sleep it off! So since then my enthusiasm to spending money on shelters has diminished some what.

    I certainly agree over the underground caves though Michael, there's a great fabulous tourist attraction there, & I also agree over a swimming pool on the seafront.

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  6. Fantastic images. Thanks. The question of money is because we're worth it.

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  7. If you want to help and not just talk about it, e-mail your support to renovateramsgate@gmail.com

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  8. Having left Ramsgate in 1986, I still think of it as home! However Ramsgatonians ignore their own history... It could be a 'real' destination as a tourist attraction if Ramsgate and Margate Councillors could bury the hatchet in te Goodwins rather than each other....
    So to what do I refer?
    Montefiore Synagogue, and his influence on society.
    The 'only' Royal' harbour in the UK.
    St. George's Church and it's lantern steeple.
    The Smack boy's home, Sailors' church and Jacob's ladder.
    The Sprackling's murder.
    Dame Janet Wills.
    The Battle of Waterloo connection.
    Princess Victoria, Townley House, Albion House, Queen Victoria's steps, Princess Victoria's tennis courts.
    Dead Donkey's lane.
    Jackie Baker's (not sure where that comes from, and am investigating)
    Ramsgate tunnel.
    Ramsgate beach station.
    The Harrington's (used to live in the semi-demolished Harrington's Restaurant) It appears they owned many properties in Ramsgate.

    his is but a small selection I have discovered through research. Currently on '30' Major interesting items of historical interest...

    Did you know there are more round barrow sites on the Isle of Thanet, than anywhere else in the UK? 11 per acre, compared to Norfolk at 7 per acre?

    MMF

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  9. Having left Ramsgate in 1986, I still think of it as home! However Ramsgatonians ignore their own history... It could be a 'real' destination as a tourist attraction if Ramsgate and Margate Councillors could bury the hatchet in te Goodwins rather than each other....
    So to what do I refer?
    Montefiore Synagogue, and his influence on society.
    The 'only' Royal' harbour in the UK.
    St. George's Church and it's lantern steeple.
    The Smack boy's home, Sailors' church and Jacob's ladder.
    The Sprackling's murder.
    Dame Janet Wills.
    The Battle of Waterloo connection.
    Princess Victoria, Townley House, Albion House, Queen Victoria's steps, Princess Victoria's tennis courts.
    Dead Donkey's lane.
    Jackie Baker's (not sure where that comes from, and am investigating)
    Ramsgate tunnel.
    Ramsgate beach station.
    The Harrington's (used to live in the semi-demolished Harrington's Restaurant) It appears they owned many properties in Ramsgate.

    his is but a small selection I have discovered through research. Currently on '30' Major interesting items of historical interest...

    Did you know there are more round barrow sites on the Isle of Thanet, than anywhere else in the UK? 11 per acre, compared to Norfolk at 7 per acre?

    MMF

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  10. Jackie Baker's was the name of the farm that stood on that land. Dame Janet asked for the name to be retained when she bought that land for our children in perpetuity in the 1920s.

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  11. Thanks for the comments, I suppose what bugs me most here is that the money can be found for something that is most likely to end in vandalised and useless resources, TDC is right behind this and the money spent on the large shelter in Winterstoke Gardens a case in point.

    The graffiti was removed and a security camera installed to protect it, the problem was that the security camera wasn’t installed in a secure way, I don’t know if the vandals stole it or broke it but either way it didn’t last long.

    The problem for me with this sort of palliative use of funds and resources it that it masks the main issues, giving the impression that Ramsgate is getting a reasonable share of the money and resources for heritage and leisure projects.

    Primarily we need our main venues returned for the use of the town, not so some business organisation can make a financial killing.

    Albion House

    The Royal Victoria Pavilion

    Westcliff hall

    are the main contenders, how the three main council owned public buildings in the town can have become derelict needs some explaining, one would be a disgrace but all three looks like a deliberate attempt to sabotage the towns economy.

    The bottom line here is that there is no point in restoring the shelters without some viable plan to protect them.

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  12. As your photos show, Micheal, this town was lovely. And it still is for the most part.

    But rather than sprucing up and attempting to protect shelters designed for the way we lived a few decades ago, why not redesign our open spaces to more suit the way we live today?

    Take a look at Blackpool promenade and you'll see what I mean.

    I don't wish to offend but it is the 21st century and it is perfectly possible to sympathetically move on in design a bit. And you never know, if we give the kids a contemporary town rather than a Victorian theme park it might just mean something to them.

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  13. Excuse my ignorance, but where is Dead Donkey's Lane?

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  14. Peter although it doesn’t appear on the official street maps I believe it is what the locals call the footpath that goes from Pegwell Bay to Chalk Hill at Chilton.

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