Saturday 3 December 2011

A History of Ramsgate Harbour, local history book, just published.

This book by Michael Hunt, sometime curator of Ramsgate maritime Museum, was first published in 2007. It was available in the museum before it closed. The book is about 100 A4 size pages of text and B&W pictures.

I think it is the most comprehensive work about the harbour, so if you are interested in the history of the harbour, you will probably want a copy.

The price is £9.99, if you can’t stretch to that, you may be able to persuade someone to give it to you for Christmas, my promise to send our local books out post free, wrapped up in Christmas wrapping paper, with a message from you on them, to your friends and family still holds good.

Contents are as follows:

 Chapter 1            A Haven for Fishermen, pre-1749                p.1

              2            Brave Hopes & False Starts, 1749-1756    p.4

              3            Resumption of Work, 1760-1774                   p.12

              4            John Smeaton, 1774-1792                               p.14

              5            Samuel Wyatt, 1793-1807                            p.20

              6            John Rennie, 1807-1821                            p.23

              7            Sir John Rennie, 1821-1850                               p.26

              8            Called to Account, 1851-1861                   p.34

              9            A Change of Hands, 1862-1939                p.38

            10            Naval Base to Marina, 1939-1999                p.45

            11            Ramsgate the Ferry Port                              p.48

            12            The Dry Dock                                                         p.52

            13            The Pier Yard & Clock House                p.57

                        Ramsgate Harbour Masters since 1751
                        Ramsgate Harbour Engineers 1750-1920
                        Ramsgate Harbour Steam Tugs 1843-1938
                        Ramsgate Harbour dredgers and excavators
                        Observations on working practice & labour relations at
                        Ramsgate Harbour, September 1760 to December 1763
                        Ramsgate and the Cinque Ports.
                        The Ramsgate Meridian Line.

It really is very good and I am reading it at the moment so I will probably add to this post. 


  1. I bought a copy of this book just before the Ramsgate Maritime Museum closed when looking for information about the sluices.

    Moving slightly off subject, while I was arranging a visit to look at various engineering drawings of the sluices I came across an article about the 32 pounder gun carriage from the Stirling Castle being treated in Grenoble. The 2006 – 2008 report for “ARC- Nucleart” says that it expects that this gun carriage to be returned in 2010. The report is in French, but pages 2, 41 and 99 refer to Ramsgate Maritime Museum, and the problems with dealing with the conservation of large water saturated archaeological objects.

    The gun barrel was on display in the Museum. Anyone know the present whereabouts of the gun carriage?

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  4. Cripes! what a boring blog entry and comments this one is.

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  6. Yet more mindless rambling from retarded...

  7. Rick once again comments that may or may not be libellous, containing real peoples names, I have deleted them all and would appreciate it if you use your own blog for this sort of thing in the future.

  8. I suppose the only link here is that you can see Deal from Ramsgate Harbour. Anyway, well done Michael for saving us from more of Rick's ramblings.

  9. The gun barrel is in Portsmouth the carriage is in Grenoble, as far as I am aware.

    The owners of the gun, IOTAS,have discussed the future location with MRAS (Mary Rose)and other interested parties including the Royal Armouries.

    Unless the Maritime Museum reopens to the public there is little point in it being returned to Ramsgate - but that is still an option.

    The ARC - Nucleart report shows that our local nautical archaeology is internationally important and that the Museum was once capable of co-ordinating and funding such projects.

    Back on topic - Michael Hunt's book is a very thorough study and is much recommended - another example of what was lost when the museum was closed!

  10. The Museum is not in Margate so has no hope of being reopened

  11. The Margate one is run by volunteers!

  12. This Thursdays (8th Dec) full council meeting should be very interesting. A councillor will pose the following :

    "A steady stream of people come to Ramsgate to visit the Maritime Museum and are disappointed to find that it is closed. What reassurances can Councillor Bayford give the people of Ramsgate that this unacceptable situation is being addressed with any urgency?”

  13. Peter if you look on the Thanet Press release blog you will find the info under; New Documents Published by the Council. Alternatively you can try to find them on the council’s website.
    Councillor Miss Corinna Huxley
    I have also added the following info.
    Party: Labour
    Ward: Central Harbour Ward
    Attendance 100%
    Declaration of interests; member of Ramsgate Town Council.
    For reasons that must be apparent to you, Ramsgate councillors are now pretty much exclusively Labour, so we don’t have Conservative councillors to press the towns interests.

  14. Thanks Michael. Hope some progress is made.

  15. Margate runs its museum with volunteers. Broadstairs runs just about everything from the Visitor Kiosk to all its events with volunteers.

    Why don't Ramsgate folk try the same approach, after all, like Broadstairs, you have your own town council. Silly me, I forgot, you have a Labour council so not much use there.

  16. Re the harbour sluuices,I worked for Ramsgate corporation starting in 56 and helped to install new doors and guides when the harbour was made tidal,all with council tradesmen and equipment it has never been tidal since nor has it been dredged for 20 years.

  17. The problem with the museum is not one of volunteers, but one of the council agreeing a viable lease with the Preston Steam Trust, the charitable trust, that want to run the museum.

    Essentially the council has to produce a viable lease that the charity commissions and organisations that provide grant funding will accept, so we can have a viable museum long term.

    I think it partly a case of the council haven’t got a proper plan for the future of the harbour and so would rather string everyone along with short term solutions in case they want the building in the future.

    My guess is that the council quite like the idea of getting a private company in to run the harbour and think that it best to keep the options open on this iconic building.

  18. Michael you say, "My guess is that the council quite like the idea of getting a private company in to run the harbour and think that it best to keep the options open on this iconic building." This though had not occurred to me. It explains much that been puzzling me.


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.