Friday, 24 June 2011

Preston Steam Rally, the main local event this weekend.

This is one of the largest local events, just outside Thanet on the road to Wingham and is on tomorrow and Sunday.

Hare are the links to the pictures of last years event:

here is their website: you may note this site doesn’t work properly in Internet Explorer.

If you have looked at some of the pictures then I don’t suppose there is much I can do to explain the event further, certainly if you were thinking of camping this weekend it’s well worth considering doing so there and if you want a day out it’s a good one.

Preston Steam Services has a museum run by the same charitable trust that wants to run Ramsgate Maritime Museum

When it comes to the Maritime Museum that closed two years ago, it is very hard to see how the blame for its continued closure doesn’t mostly belong to Thanet District Council.

My understanding is that for several years now the steam trust, which is a charitable trust, wants to run the museum for the benefit of local people, has been negotiating with the council.

I think the stumbling point is that the building is one of Thanet District Councils iconic Ramsgate assets, others are or were, Albion House, The Royal Victoria Pavilion, Westcliff Hall, The Pleasurama Site, Nero’s, The Eagle Café and The marina Swimming Pool.

This is particularly ironic while the council is engaged in making a compulsory purchase of the Dreamland site in Margate, while these council owned assets in Ramsgate suffer their various fates at the hands of the council.

What is certain is that for the steam trust to run the museum they need grant funding and to obtain this they need security of tenure in terms of a reasonable lease from the council.

More irony here as at the same time as the council pulled out of the lease they had promised the trust on the grounds that long leases had to be seen as asset disposals and would therefore have to go through a long and probably expensive asset disposal process, they handed out a 199 year lease to the Pleasurama development developer without going to asset disposal.

Since then my understanding is that the trust said they would accept a shorter lease and this lease has been subject to a further couple of years prevarication by the council, now I think it likely that the trust may have given up the idea. Mostly on the grounds that the council are just to difficult to work with.

Whatever the ins and outs the museum remains closed and anyone seeing the obvious resources that the steam trust has to offer would be forgiven for wondering why the council are not welcoming them with open arms.

I would say that the main thing now in Ramsgate’s favour is that we really haven’t got much else in the way of council owned assets to lose, what remains at best is empty and at worse derelict, demolished or abandoned.

Update I have just heard from the council with an update on the situation that sounds encouraging:

I am pleased to advise that latest iteration of the proposed lease  setting out 
the Council's preferred position as prospective Landlord, is  now with the Steam 
Museum Trust for consideration.
I hope that if there are still some issues to be resolved between the Council 
and the Trust, none of them will be too difficult to overcome.”

I will add to this one as I get time


  1. I went last year and I was astounded by the collection of steam powered vehicles. Rather like Quex House it has to be one of the great undiscovered treasures of the UK. It doesn't suprise me that Councillors who will fall over themselves to give public money to a loss-making airport cannot see a national treasure when it's right under their noses and cannot understand what a massive asset this is.

  2. Why not put the collection in the Turner Centre?

  3. TDC seem to make things difficult for anyone. I doubt we will ever see any of the council museums open again. Most councils want to attract visitors.


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