Thursday, 15 October 2009

Would the council be prepared to kill local residents by negligence or incompetence?

After yesterdays post I found myself once again having to defend my position in criticising the council's experts. The question raised was essentially, why do I think that I should raise concerns about the likelihood of cliff collapses instead of trusting the council’s engineers?

Civil engineering is hardly a new science, the Romans built The Coliseum using concrete, Canterbury Cathedral hadn’t fallen down last time I looked. In fact one thing I notice about the structures that have been built here in Ramsgate and round about is they very seldom fall down.
Historical records here hardly ever mention buildings falling down, hence the expression, “safe as houses”. Some times they get knocked down or burnt down and not always by accident but that is a different story.

The exception to this rule is when people mess with the chalk cliffs here perhaps the civil engineers that built this structure in the 1890s didn’t know what they were doing or perhaps the council’s civil engineers looking after it in 1926 were incompetent.
Did Pugin make no stress calculations when he designed this arched structure in the mid 1800s, it would certainly be brave of me to call him incompetent, were the council’s engineers incompetent who were looking after the structure when it collapsed in 1947?
When this one went had they actually calculated it would happen or did it come as something of a surprise to them? If you had parked your car there would they have come along and said sorry, the slide rule was upside down, I should have put more water in it, or some such thing.
When this one collapsed in the late 50s perhaps they said something like, it was the graffiti wot done it honest, not a civil engineering problem at all governor. Perhaps they said they were still learning civil engineering by trial and error and would have it all sorted by the millennium.
Of course they are very careful about cracks appearing in cliff support walls at the moment, the picture above is of the one just behind the houses in Kent Terrace, I bet civil engineers from the council are down there measuring it often so they know just how bad it has to get before it collapses and demolishes the houses below.
In this day and age conscientious council engineers are always on the alert for a build up or water on sensitive areas of the cliff top.


  1. Michael we don't know whether it is already the case (Thor and Sericol aquifer contamination)

  2. Michael, your historical perspective would indicate that another collapse is inevitable. I have a grudging respect for the 'old style' borough engineers and as you show they even got it wrong.
    What we have today are KCC and TDC who fail to understand the reason why there is a need to clean streets. Failure to do so leads to a build up of detritus that provides nutrition for weeds that made parts of Thanet look 3rd World this summer with weeds growing in gutters, pavements and any available crack in tarmac. Last week's rain (the first for 3 months that fell at a heavy rate) washed accumulated debris straight into already clogged drains (a failure to clear drains around Thanet seems a KCC Highways failing)leading to further blockage and yet more localised flooding and water accumulation. If we cannot expect TDC and KCC to even manage the basics, can we rely on them to ensure safety of cliff faces at Pleasurama?

  3. Ah crap, no hope for that old lift shaft and car surviving then


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.