Saturday, 10 August 2019

Focus on Northdown Road, Cliftonville Margate

I think that the contraction of the Tesco Metros combined with the expansion of Aldi in Ramsgate drew my attention back to Northdown Road. If you lived in Thanet back in the day, apart from the local High Street everyone went shopping in Northdown Road and Dumpton Market at Ramsgate Dog Track.

I am starting this post with a batch of photos of Northdown Road I took back in in 2009, ten years ago, Westwood Cross opened in 2005 and by 2009 most of Northdown Road was in a state of collapse.

If you work in a shop or own a shop the impact of the footfall and you sales halfing or quartering while you expenses continue to rise is very difficult the multiple blows of Westwood Cross and the internet, which as far as most ordinary people were concerned internet shopping became a serious factor about the same time.

I would guess the peak of Northdown Road in terms of the number of shops would have been around 1950 with most of the popular shops remaining there for a long time. So next the directory pages listing all of the shops there in 1950, with kind permission of Kelly's Directories.

As a Ramsgate person I am a bit disinclined to try to explain the history of Northdown Road in layman's terms, but I guess I had better have a go and wait to find out how wrong I am.

Most of Northdown road was built out by around 1900 but as private houses. mostly to rent out to the wealthy for the whole of the season. While Margate was seen as rather gaudy and a bit down market, holidaying in Cliftonville which had lots of posh housing and hotels was fine for the gentrified and had the advantage of being able to take your carriage into margate to take in the shows.

The game changer was the trams which arrived in 1901 and causing the road of posh houses to turn in to a log road of shops, before the trams travel between Cliftonville and Margate was a case of "harness the horses and bring my carriage round to the front door my man" - "was it ever "my woman?"

In some cases I think the houses were converted into shops and in other cases built as shops.

Looking back into the past and the time that Northdown Road developed as an Edwardian shopping centre though to WW2 there are plenty of photos of Northdown Road, son next a few of those.

Here in Ramsgate
 This bookshop in Ramsgate was photographed in 1903 although most people didn't buy many books but used circulating libraries back then.

We have been working away and have been busier than I would expect given the high wind.

1 comment:

  1. I worked in Cliftonville 1973/4, my mum worked at the Golden Garter on the Lido complex in the 60's a time that will never be repeated in Thanet


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.