Friday 30 September 2016

Some Thoughts on Local Pictures.

This is a print of Ramsgate I bought in Canterbury yesterday, it says on the packet C. 1875 which would relate to date of the book it was taken from. Most of the small Victorian coloured prints started out in Victorian books as black and white pictures and were take out of the books, had coloured with watercolour and put in frames. I think the colour on this one is fairly recent, partly because all of the slate roofs are rendered red and the bathing machine hoods coloured.

Anyway I think circa 1870 showing the trains going beyond Augusta Stairs, the inclined Marina Road without the arches, this may have been wishful thinking as although several attempts at an inclined road were made before the arched viaduct, I am not certain that any were successful.

Of course the artist could have gone out in a boat and sketched the view “from the sea” however I doubt it, so as it is I would guess the artist made a few different sketches and combined them, or copied sketches done by someone else.

Of course back in the day, n0 photographs

This is Pegwell Bay, Kent - a Recollection of October 5th 1858 by William Dyce, one of the most famous local paintings, but to me it does look a tad Monty Python

Here however is the watercolour Pegwell Bay by William Dyce, 1857 which explains something or another.

We did do some work in the bookshop today honest guv, here it is

Thursday 29 September 2016

A couple of Victorian pictures looking up Harbour Street in Ramsgate into the High Street and I try to sketch Theresa May

I would guess this is around 1860
and this around 1890, both pictures will expand if you click on them
the sketch of,  Theresa May could do better, this is done entirely with with watercolour and a brush so needs more practice

Wednesday 28 September 2016

Bob Connell at York Street Gallery in Ramsgate

The current exhibition is by Broadstairs Artist Bob Connell Exhibition -  28 Sept - 5 Oct Exhibitions change weekly on Wednesdays.

Attempts to paint J.K. Rowling by lazy bookseller

Two attempts to paint J.K. Rowling from photographs, before you say anything I know I’m not good at painting people from photographs – but I had a lazy afternoon in my bookshop.

Why J.K. Rowling? You ask. Well she’s the author of the Harry Potter books – watercolour painting is very hard taskmaster. Why? The moving brush stripes; and, having splodged, moves on: nor all thy piety nor wit shall lure it back to cancel half a line, nor all thy tears wash out a much of it. Type of kidney. Oh yes, why? Well my take is that she is an artist, her fiction is of the first order, which means that at some time there must have been a lot of learning, so great artists – fair game.

The work in the bookshop done – expletives, if not deleted, at least messed with, here it is I am back where I was before the summer – sitting in a quiet bookshop practicing trying to get a likeness and as you see from the first attempt, getting my hand back in, well it aint easy.

So ‘pologies to the Potter clan     

Tuesday 27 September 2016

Another Ramsgate Tourist Attraction Gets Removed and a minor ramble

I don’t think any of the Thanet tourist attractions were more cost effective than the heritage pontoons. The way the worked was that people paid reduced mooring fees to keep heritage vessels opposite the café culture.

I wasn’t an easy place to moor but the boat owners put up with the problems of having there boats there so we could all enjoy them.

There isn’t an alternative use for this part of the harbour as it lacks the security and facilities for pontoons there to be used in the ordinary way. 

Back in 2010 the council decided this wasn’t such a good idea and told the owners of these boats they would have to pay almost full mooring fees so off they went.
Well now the council have removed the pontoons altogether, they seem to be saying too expensive to maintain, although frankly trying to contact the council to find out about this didn’t go too well as I just got put through to a phone that no one answered.

There is of course the foi request route which is expensive for the council and time consuming for me so I haven’t bothered to pursue it.

Work on the Royal Victoria Pavilion seem so be going on at a pace, as far as I can ascertain the asbestos removal is now complete and contractors are removing the inside. 

A note here the Pav which was first built in 1903 as been gutted inside several times and also had a major fire plus numerous minor ones. 

The inside is basically modernish buildings built inside the outer shell. Here is the link to the pictures I took on the inside   

The Pleasurama site is still deserted and the most recent cliff repairs starting to sprout vegetation, it’s difficult to know where this one will go, it still looks like a land banking operation to me. I can’t see any reputable developer starting work there without a flood risk assessment and a proper assessment of the cliff, both in terms of how safe it would be for people to live under and in terms of how close anything can be built to it to allow for economic cliff maintenance for the life of any development there. 

Monday 26 September 2016

Ramsgate 1895 pictures

These old pictures of Ramsgate come from a guide for about 1895 which is one of the local books destined to become another in my range of local history books , see

As I suppose most people will know the red brick arches and Madeira Walk with its Pulhamite rocks and waterfall were all built in 1893 and you can see this picture of Albion Gardens must be just after the construction work. Note the tramlines haven’t yet been laid.

Bookshops in East Kent

Here is the list of East Kent Bookshops that I have put on my latest version of the pamphlet I leave in other bookshops tourist information offices and so on.

Chaucer Bookshop 6-7 Beer Cart Lane CT1 2NY 01227 453912 mon-sat 10-5 sun & bank hols 11-4 (100 bookcases secondhand antiquarian, collectable, Kent local history)
Oxfam 51 St Peter's Street CT1 2BE 01227 454091 mon-sat 9.30-5.30 sun 11-4 (30 bookcases charity Bookshop)
Catching Lives Books 28 Palace Street CT1 2DZ 7 days 10 to around 5 (45 bookcases charity bookshop)
Burgate Bookshop 10B Burgate CT1 2HG 01227 638458 mon-sat 10-5 Sun 11-4 (60 bookcases charity Bookshop)
New bookshops
Waterstones 8 Rose Lane CT1 2SJ 01227 452354 mon–sat 8.30-6 sun 11-5 (new 2 floors)
Waterstones 20-21 St Margaret's St CT1 2TH 01227 456343 mon–sat 9-6 sun 11-5 (new 3 floors closing in jan 2017)
New Stories 19 Whitefriars Street CT1 2TA mon-sat 9-6 sun 11-5 (remainder) 
The Works 17 High Street CT1 2JE 01227 764267 mon-sat 9-5.30 sun 10-6 (remainder)
WH Smith 19 St George’s Street CT1 2LB mon-sat 8.30-6 sun 10.30-430 01227 766129
Blackwells University of Kent Locke Bldg, University Rd, CT2 7UG 01227 451654 mon-fri 8.30-6 sat 10-4 (new academic)
Christ Church University Bookshop, Canterbury Campus CT1 1QU
01227 782256 mon-fri 9-5 (new academic)

Most bookshops within a short drive or bus excursion from Canterbury are in the surrounding coastal towns, so going clockwise around the coast.


Past Sentence 119 West Street ME13 7JB 01795 590000 mon-tue 10-2 sat 10-5 (50 bookcases secondhand general & collectable)
Fleur Bookshop 1A Gatefield Lane ME13 8NX   01795 590 621 mon-sat 10-3.30 (23 bookcases charity Bookshop)
The Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre 10-13 Preston Street ME13 8NS 01795 534542 mon-sat 10-4 sun 10-1 (12 bookcases new Kent local history)
Oxford Street Books 20a Oxford Street CT5 1DD 01227 281727 mon-sat 9.30-5 sun 11-4 (93 bookcases secondhand general & collectable)
Harbour Books 21 Harbour St CT5 1AQ 01227 264011 mon-sat 9.30-5.30 sun 10-5.30 (25 bookcases new and remainder)

Herne Bay
Bundle of Books 6 Bank Street CT6 5EY 01227 373802 mon 12-4.30 tue-sat 9.30-4.30 (30 bookcases new children’s)
Demelza House Bookshop 165 Mortimer St CT6 5HE 01227 283806 mon-sat 9.30-4.30 (30 bookcases charity Bookshop)

Hooked on Books, 21 High Street CT9 1DL Mon Sat 10-5 Sun 11-4 01843 446400 (55 bookcases secondhand general & collectable)
Old Bank Bookshop, 17 The Parade CT9 1EY 01843 220239 Mon-Sat 10-5 Sun 11-4 (20 bookcases charity bookshop)
Tiverton Books, Smiths Court Hotel, Eastern Esplanade CT9 2HL 01843 222319 Tue and Sun only 10-2. (35 bookcases general & collectable)


The Broadstairs Bookshop 7 Albion Street CT10 1LU 01843 860824 open every day 10-5 (35 bookcases secondhand general & collectable)
The Chapel 44-46 Albion St, this is a real ale pub with secondhand books for sale, open pub hours 9-12.


Michaels Bookshop, 72 King Street, Ramsgate CT11 8NY 9.30 to 5.30 Mon, Tue, Wed, Fri and Sat 01843 589500 (130 bookcases secondhand general, collectable secondhand, new & S Kent history)
In this area The Isle of Thanet, both Ramsgate and Margate have fairly small W H Smiths in their High Streets and Works remainder shops Margate High Street Ramsgate Garden Centre, the main new bookshops, largish Smiths and Waterstones in Thanet are both at Westwood Cross shopping centre.


Nature Reserve Bookshop Canterbury Road Monkton CT12 4LH 01843 822666 open every day April-October 10-5 Nov-March 10-3 (35 bookcases charity bookshop)


Oxfam Bookshop 5 High Street CT14 7AA 01304 364752 9.30-5.30 mon-sat (25 bookcases charity bookshop)
Books 168 High Street CT14 6BQ 01304 368662 12-3 mon, wed, fri 10-2 sat (8 bookcases general secondhand)


Marrin's 149 Sandgate Road CT20 2DA 01303 253016 9.30-5.30 tue-sat (45 bookcases secondhand antiquarian & collectable) 
S.B Paperbacks 5 Guildhall Street CT20 1EA Tel: 01303 223922 9.30-4.30 wed-sat (secondhand and remainder paperback fiction)
Oxfam 10 Sandgate Road CT20 1DP 01303 245178 9-5.15 mon-sat (25 bookcases charity bookshop) also Watersone’s, WH Smith and a Works.


Demelza 130 High Street Hythe, CT21 5LE 01303 262403 9.30-4.30 mon-sat (24 bookcases charity bookshop)

If you can think of any others that need including please let me know.

The main website for secondhand bookshops is

Tripadvisor has also got some of the Kent bookshops listed, although they don’t seem to have mastered this one very well, the link to their bookshop listings is the best I can do and probably won’t work for long.

I visit all of the secondhand bookshops on my list fairly regularly mainly for sourcing books for my bookshop in Ramsgate, my local history book publishing project and my own collection.

Recently there has been a shift in bookbuying and part of this shift means that there are more people going from bookshop to bookshop as part of their leisure activities, hence the leaflet.

Although this particularly relates to secondhand bookshops I have tried to list the new ones as well. Although I think sales of new physical books are rising again with sales of digital books falling, with new books I think that the increase in physical book sales is mostly happening online and not in high street new bookshops.

In the secondhand book world things are very different, with lots of people wanting to see the book before they buy it.

I haven’t tried to review the bookshops in my list, but with the secondhand ones I have put the approximate number of bookcases devoted to books.

When it comes to antiquarian I mean this in the strict sense of it being a book published before 1810, with collectable I mean books that are more expensive that a non book collector would expect.  

I also try to get the feel of every bookshop I visit, the last one being the Blackwell’s academic bookshop at The University of Kent, in the case of this one I stopped for a coffee and sketched the concrete staircase outside, which sounds a bit lame, but actually did the trick when it comes to sending people, who come into my bookshop looking for that type of academic bookshop, to the right place.    

I think the most unusual factor with this one was a sign saying they would match the price of any other shop including the online ones like Amazon, I would imagine this would make working there interesting. 

Things are very grim on the independent new bookshop front in East Kent, there is a children’s one in Deal and I think that’s it, as far as I can see.

On the open-handed trading front I think mine is still the only bookshop worldwide publishing the books we put out on the shelves everyday on the internet, see

Wednesday 21 September 2016

Old Thanet Directories

I am in the process of producing some more reprints of old Thanet street directories, my objective being to get the directories of streets, private residents or local businesses from 1900 to when the stopped doing them in the 1970s for Ramsgate, Margate and Broadstairs into print. I am starting by aiming for five year intervals, 1900, 1905, 1910 and so on done.

I have taken on a coupe of extra part time workers and am surrounded by computer scans, cover images and so on. I have just written up an introduction to go in them. Anyone got any thoughts or additions to my first draft below.  

“Back in 2004 I decided to produce a few local history booklets to sell in my bookshop in Ramsgate. A big factor in this was Ramsgate Library fire, which destroyed most of the town’s local history book collection.

At the time of writing (2016) I have over 170 in print, combined with my stock of secondhand and new books produced by other publishers about east Kent, I usually have over 300 local books and booklets in stock.

These directories, either arranged alphabetically by streets, private residents or local businesses are the nuts and bolts of our local history. If you want to know who lived in your house in the past or where you relations lived in Thanet they are the main source of information.

Original copies of the directories are difficult to find and expensive to buy, in many cases the paper is poor quality meaning that the directories crumble away when used.

I also publish some sheet maps of Ramsgate 1822, 1849, 1872 and 1939 with Ramsgate tunnel system overlaid on it. These can be used in conjunction with the directories to help build up a picture of the past.

Another aspect of my publishing which can be helpful here are the tourist guides to Thanet that I publish the earliest being for 1763 and one of the most useful being the guides for 1903/4 which are the first to have photographic adverts for some of the Thanet businesses.

Over the years many of the streets have been renumbered, particularly before 1900 although quite a few were renumbered between 1900 and 1915, so I would recommend checking the streets you are most interested in against the later directories especially if you are using a pre 1900 directory.  

I would also recommend walking the areas you are most interested in with the street directories for the periods you are most interested in, taking photos and making notes as you go.

From a technical point of view the pages in the directories I produce are pictures of the pages in the original directories and not something retyped at a later date by man or machine. This method of production means that any errors are only those in the original directory.

Finding pictures of a particular building is often a difficult task, using a street directory in conjunction with an internet image search, searching the names of the people living in the surrounding buildings and the names of any adjacent businesses can sometimes be productive.”

For anyone who doesn’t know what I am talking about, here are a few sample pages from a directory.

Tuesday 20 September 2016

Manston DCO update, some old Thanet pictures and a bit of a ramble.

RiverOak have announced that the statutory consultation which is the 2nd stage of the pre application process of a DCO will now be delayed.

It was to have been held in the last quarter of 2016 they now say they expect it to be held in the first quarter of 2017.

The initial stages of a DCO are:

1 Informing the planning inspectorate that the developer intends to summit a DCO – this RiverOak have done.

2 Statutory public consultation – this RiverOak haven’t done.

3 Submitting the application – obviously they haven’t done this either.

What they did do was to inform the planning inspectorate they intended to submit an application and then engage in an informal unregulated non-statutory consultation which isn’t a normal part of the application process.

As you see from the press release they also say that the informal unregulated non-statutory consultation was successful.

Nothing new has appered on the planning inspectorate website since last month. see

The site owners are still working towards their mixed use (housing and Jobs) development, here is their website

Looking at the various websites here and the Facebook groups of those for and against building an airfreight hub at Manston it’s fairly difficult to tell what the support for this project is really like locally.

The night flights issue is a good example of the problem, RiverOak seem to be saying that there would be less than 18 night flights a night under their proposals, but don’t seem to be giving either an expected or maximum number.

Anyway the do now seem to be saying that they will start the statutory and regulated consultation by the end of March 2017 and that they will eventually respond to people like me who endeavoured to engage in their informal unregulated non-statutory consultation.

On to the local pictures, once again nothing very unusual but where there is something written on the back I have included it.

The bookshop here in Ramsgate is still steaming away, here is the link to the books we put out today the normal lull after the school holidays doesn’t seem to have happened.

I am coming to the conclusion that this is mostly down to the internet having shot itself in the foot to some extent, from my own point of view, several of the important publications that I used to use online have vanished or become so hard to find that I can’t and have given up and bought them.