Monday 30 September 2013


I am very busy with the book I am in the process of publishing about the Ramsgate fishing smacks, so don’t have much time to blog at the moment.

Trying to find out when trawling was first introduced here is a tricky one and has sent me looking through all the early histories looking for references.

Reading John Lewis writing about Ramsgate and Broadstairs in the early 1700s I came across this quote which amused me and I thought would amuse other blog readers; “Anciently the inhabitants of Ramsgate , St Peters and Bradstowe, lived, it seems very meanly and poorly, eating scarce any thing but fish, and particularly Red-herrings, and Ling”

On a more serious note, sea fishing using drift nets has been practiced since prehistoric times, and we know trawling was invented before 1376 because the king was petitioned to stop it on environmental grounds.   

 "three fathom long and ten mens' feet wide…. of so small a mesh, no manner of fish, however small, entering within it can pass out and is compelled to remain therein and be means of which instrument the fishermen aforesaid take so great abundance of small fish aforesaid, that they know not what to do with them, but feed and fatten the pigs with them, to the great damage of the whole commons of the kingdom, and the destruction of the fisheries in like places, for which they pray remedy."

But although the historians noted the nets; this is William Camden in 1586 “the Inhabitants, those especially who live near the roads or harbours of Margat, Ramsgate, and Brodstear namely, That they are exceeding industrious, and are as it were Amphibious creatures, and get their living both by sea and land: they deal in both elements, are both fishers and ploughmen, both husbandmen and mariners; and the self same hand that holds the plough, steers the ship. According to the several seasons, they make nets, fish for Cod, Herring, Mackarel, &c. go to sea themselves, and export their own commodities.” When did we first start trawling here?

On a computing note, this is the first book I am trying to put together using cloud computing, which means that the text file is in cyberspace somewhere and I am editing it using various computers and my mobile phone depending on where I am.  

Saturday 28 September 2013

Carl Hawkins Exhibition at the York Street Gallery, Handmade Market in Albert Court and Morrisons to open on Monday morning.

A quick lunch break from what is a busy day and a few photos in Ramsgate while eating my lunch.

Carl Hawkins Exhibition at the York Street Gallery

Handmade Market in Albert Court

Morrisons looking ready to open

Friday 27 September 2013

I escalate my complaint to KCC and a few pictures from Ben and others

Here are the first batch of Ben’s pictures, which relate to a demolition and subsequent deserted building site in Bellevue Road. 

On to my KCC complaint.

From: CEDWebteam <>
To: michaelchild <>
Sent: Wed, 25 Sep 2013 10:41
Subject: Map facilities on
Dear Mr Child,

I understand you have experienced difficulty when using the map facility on the website.

In order for me to understand more fully how you were hoping to use the map, please could you provide further details of the problems you have been having? This will enable us to look into how we make improvements to this facility for users of the site.


C*** ***

From: [] 
Sent: 25 September 2013 13:54
To: Digital Services - CC CE
Subject: Re: Map facilities on

Hi C****
I publish about 150 books about east Kent see and at the moment I am working on a book about the Ramsgate sailing trawlers, I have purchased about 80 photographs, taken between 1870 and 1920 showing these trawlers in the harbour and yesterday I started on the task of positioning and dating them.
I do have some maps of my own e.g. and I also have directories for Thanet from the 1840s to the 1970s and in the past I have used these in conjunction with KCC’s Kent View. 
I went to the KCC website to consult the historic maps on Kent View only to find that this part of your website had had its access restricted and I now needed a username and password to access it. So I phoned and asked them for these, which KCC refused to give me.
After much telephoning, I discovered that you have the maps in a much inferior form at you can’t drag the maps and the zoom has a mind of its own. In the course of the discussion I discovered that the KCC archivists are still using Kent View and in the end I made a complaint to KCC. Along the lines of they have disabled public access to their historic map site, so the public have now to use the inferior site.
The obvious and simple solution, which as the site takes ages to use this would also reduce the time spent on the KCC webserver and therefore the cost to KCC, would be to remove the password protection and return things to how they were. 

Best regards Michael

From: CEDWebteam <>
To: michaelchild <>
Sent: Fri, 27 Sep 2013 15:44
Subject: RE: Map facilities on

Hi Michael,

I’ve been in touch with our GIS department, who have sent me the following response which may help:

1.    Access to Kent View is no longer available to the public due to data policy issues.
2.    We do understand that the current Heritage web map is not very friendly – we are currently working on releasing a more user-friendly version soon.
3.    From Mr Child’s explanation – I assume that he already has information on Trawlers and is only interested in background mapping – in  this case I will suggest he takes the following steps to use the current Heritage web map:
i.              Zoom to the area of interest – please note that in other to zoom, the zoom option MUST FIRST be selected at the top of the map – then draw a square on the area of interest
ii.            In order to PAN the map, the 8 arrows arrow the map box should be used to pan in the required direction.
iii.           The option of Historic Map to be displayed can be changed using the “Historic Map” options at the bottom right of the map window
iv.           The print functionality provides a preview of the current map view which can then be oriented using the browser’s functionality.
v.            The “Show on map” box on the left allows the specification of what features should be displayed on the map. It should be noted that some layers are scale dependant and will not be active until the map is zoomed to the extent necessary to get them active.


C**** ****

Frommichaelchild michaelchild@aol.comhide detailsToCEDWebteam,  paul.carter

Hi C****, I have no idea in which way a data policy issue could relate to an out of copyright historic map.

My take is that a useful KCC historical resource has been closed and so I would like to escalate my complaint, can you please tell me how to proceed?

Best regards Michael

Wednesday 25 September 2013

Midweek ramble

The day started with my work computer going bananas, not a good start and at the moment while the virus checker is running the thing is going far too slow for local book publishing, which is what I am supposed to be doing.

The Dreamland appeal starts today and is due to last for two days, the final legal hurdle in the councils bid to acquire the site from the property developer.

In Ramsgate is seems the process of the council getting back the Pleasurama site is just beginning.

My position on Pleasurama, which is often misunderstood, is one of watching this development on my doorstep, noting through the progression of time over the last ten years various aspects of it that seemed bonkers, alerting the council, officers and councillors to these aspects and for the most part being treated as though it was me that was bonkers and not the developer and councillors.

I still am not really certain what it is that SFP hope or hoped to achieve, whether they ever intended to build.

From the beginning when the plans were too high I smelt a rat and then discovering that the developer hadn’t investigated either the cliff or the sea defence. In fact that they were prepared to proceed on a £22m development without discovering a safe baseline height from a flood risk perspective or a distance from the cliff to enable cliff maintenance for the life of the development suggested that they didn’t ever intend to develop the site or that they just didn’t know what they were doing.

Perhaps they were playing some sort of land banking game or perhaps it was a group of overly optimistic incompetents, some sort of scenario like some councillors having a big empty site and someone loosely involved in finance thinking a lot of money could be made.

Looking at the eventual values and the likely cost of build, it doesn’t look like that fantastic a bet.

I don’t think you really need to be any sort of expert to realise that you wouldn’t want to build your house next to the cliff face, one look at the cracks, damp patches, weeds growing out of it and exposed crumbling foundations to the concrete façade is enough.

I guess the two next main elections are mainly going to relate to the way the political swingers in Ramsgate behave. With the dereliction of council owned property along the foreshore here being one of the number one reasons for people to swing at MP or district level. Party wise Pleasurama is the big long term one that must be addressed.

Art gallery, heritage amusement park and hotel in Margate is great fun but I think it is in Ramsgate where the votes need to be won.

I would think that stage 1 needs to be a plan for some integrated way of dealing with the whole of the Ramsgate foreshore.

On to the blogs, I see Simon Moores is another blogger, like me complaining about unsuitable and hostile comment. There certainly need to be some sort of dialogue, in Thanet and between the voter and the people thy vote for, without it being spammed up by people with single issue historical recriminations.

Forcing our politicians to go to ground just isn’t helping anyone.

Anyone notice anything strange or in fact darn right bonkers about the picture?

Another factor at the moment is the unveiling of John Hamilton, it looks to me like a case of someone with fairly limited IT skills playing a game with the internet that is likely to rebound.

Of course he may be so insignificant and unknown in real life for there to be no significant consequences, on the other hand he may be someone of some significance in the local area. In which case more embarrassment for Thanet.

Either way it’s a pity he couldn’t do his stuff without being rude to people, I guess this is a sign of the times.  

Coming back to the political thing, I am considering an open letter to our two MP hopefuls in the next elections asking how they intend to deal with local issues, I don’t see the national ones mean much on a local blog like this.

Perhaps how they see the way forward with our local council that seems to be a tad dysfunctional, unitary authority, elected mayor, going down there and kinking butt?

Do they have any ideas about a plan for Ramsgate Waterfront?

Of course there won’t be any fracking in Thanet as there is no shale, we sit on chalk and any gas would soon rise up, in fact if there was any it did this millennia past.

But fracking around the old coal mining areas could effect our water supply, so there may be a question related to that.

Port Ramsgate, do they see any solution there?

Perhaps some of the commentators have ideas.

Sorry it’s a bit of a muddled ramble today, I think the computer problems may be getting the better of me.  

Tuesday 24 September 2013

Date the picture of the fishing smacks in Ramsgate Harbour

Having finished reducing books in my bookshop, bunged up a sale sign, changed the window of local history books that were looking rather sad and faded, reduced the prices on the faded local history books and put them out as sale items, I am back to working on local history books, so here is an opportunity for any blog commentators to join in.  

I am working on a book about Ramsgate Fishing Trawlers at the moment so the next job is to date this photo.
If you click on it will expand and if you click on it, it should expand again, giving you as clear a view as I have.
This is roughly the same form roughly the same view from roughly the same place now

I will add my thoughts here to this post and anyone fancy having a go in the comments, please feel free.

So first where is the picture of and where was it taken from?

There are two reference markers that haven’t moved in more than two hundred years.

One is the flag pole that has the tidal ball on it and the other is corner between Sion Hill and Alidade Gardens although the buildings have been rebuilt. So as the flag pole appears just to the left of the last house on Sion Hill.

So going to Google maps, taking a screenshot and drawing the red line from just left of the end of Sion Hill through the flagpole, you can see the green circle shows roughly where the picture was taken from.   

The boats in the picture are fishing trawlers the three on the left being “cutter” rigged and the one on the right being “ketch” rigged, the ketch has two masts the cutter doesn’t have the one at the back called the mizzen.

The newer Ramsgate Trawler design ketch rigged had pretty much taken over by 1880, I think. 

       The building in the picture called Moses and Devison’s was the “bonded vaults” on the 1872 map of Ramsgate and for that matter on the 1849 map. So obviously the photo can't be 1872 or before.

It is listed in the Ramsgate Directory and court guide 1878 I publish see as Moses and Devison’s so this gives the earliest date the photo could be as between 1872 and 1878 

I then went to the KCC website to consult their historic maps on Kent View only to find that this part of their website had had its access restricted and I now needed a username and password to access it. So I phoned KCC and asked them for these, which they refused to give me. 

After much telephoning, I discovered that the have the maps in a much inferior form at you can’t drag the maps and the zoom has a mind of its own. In the course of the discussion I discovered that the KCC archivists are still using Kent View and in the end made my first ever complaint to KCC. Along the lines of they have disabled public access to their historic map site, so the public have now to use the inferior site, perhaps they are truly bonkers, any ideas? 

  A different view here around the same time, probably a bit earlier but i helps to frame the pre arches geography. I think the arches were started in about 1890. The 1887 Kellys don't mention Moses and Devison’s so I am putting the latest date the photo could be as 1893 for the moment, bust most likely before 1887 

Monday 23 September 2013

Ramsgate Station closed by unexploded bomb

At the moment I recommend avoiding trains departing from Ramsgate or going through Ramsgate, the UXB is a WW2 one on a building site in St Stephens Close, see map.

The first I heard of this was when the school sent a text saying Ramsgate Station was closed and all children travelling by train from Ramsgate would be kept at school. As mine walk home I didn’t give it much thought.

Anyway it now seems that the bomb has been removed and taken off for a controlled explosion elsewhere and the station has reopened. 

Saturday 21 September 2013

Secondhand military books in Southeast England.

There have been several comments of reminiscences relating to times spent in the armed forces recently, with various commentators saying they will come to my bookshop in Ramsgate to look at the military books that I have in stock.

So army, navy or air force here are the pictures of the books, I don’t think there is much of a range of secondhand military books, priced to be cheaper than you could buy them on the internet, elsewhere in Southeast England.

I hope that pictures are of sufficient quality that when you click on them, and click on the expanded picture again, you will be able at least to read the titles and have a sort of armchair prebrowse.

The first few pictures are general shots of the military area in my bookshop, followed by close-ups of two or three shelves at a time.