Friday, 3 March 2017

Up the line in Ramsgate and some thoughts on understanding old local pictures from the days before photography.

Obviously photographs only lie to a certain extent and if you have a photograph something in Thanet or anywhere else you are likely to have a fair idea of what you are looking at.

To rub this in if I say: “On 27th January 1993 there was an accident at number two headshunt a Shunting line in Ramsgate where part of a train ended up hanging over a parapet above a row of houses an was taken out of action. Houses below sidings at Ramsgate depot were evacuated after the train being shunted went through buffer stops, a sand drag and a parapet wall eventually halting with part of the leading coach overhanging the 70 feet drop. It was the fourth time such an incident had happened. The number one headshunt, was closed in 1987 following the incident that year and number two headshunt was equipped with new buffers and an extra long sand drag. After this accident that, too closed.” Only a few trainspotters will be able to conger up a mental picture of this event,

Of course looking at the pictures of the thing makes the old wosisname turn over in most of the people who live here.

Anyway yesterday I put up a picture of Ramsgate which was painted in around 1850 and to an extent it highlights the way we see things as opposed to the way people saw things then.

Back in 1850 very few people had actually seen a photograph artists and their audience, viewers wosisnames, so the whole concept of looking at something through a lens, small hole wosisname didn’t exist.

So say you go off to St Georges Church in Ramsgate you can look at through a telephoto lens, witch is like looking at something a long way off through a very small hole

Or you can look at it with wider and wider lenses

Eventually as the lens gets wider in angle, which really means you can see more object from closer too it, the straight lines start to bend

But still you are basically looking though a small hole.

And this way of seeing things changed the way we see and perceive what we see.

If you were to stand on the cliff today and look at the view you would of course turn your head from left to right and if you were painting or drawing this you would put what you saw on the left on the left of the picture and so on.

Now of course we all have smartphones and the camera on them will produce a panorama which I think in time will change the way we see things again.

I took this panorama with my phone, value less than £100 if you click on the link you will be able to expand the picture. 

anyway here is what the artist in 1850 made of this view and yes I know I used it yesterday, but the comment about it made me think.

If you want to know more about the various Ramsgate railway accidents I recommend you come into my bookshop and look at the book we publish about the railway history of Ramsgate “All Change. Here is the link to where we sell it online

If you have a more serious railway interest here is a picture of the railway books in the bookshop today

1 comment:

  1. Wonder if the driver of the shunted train was otherwise distracted closing the doors?
    Oh no. In those days we had to shut them ourselves. Ain't progress wonderful?


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