Saturday 29 February 2020

4 Modern Mystery Thanet photos, yesterdays answers.

 Q1 where and what

 Q2 which Thanet building

 Q3 where and what

Q4 what's being built

I have been beavering away at Michael's Bookshop where I work in Ramsgate, mainly refitting the art section with modified bookcases, the bookshop was reasonably busy, but a bit of progress on the Thanet local book publishing front and a lot more books priced and put out.

Today's mystery photos all out of the last 10 years

 I think the caption on this one is wrong and this is Buffalo Bills Wild West Show that visited Ramsgate on 24 August 1903 in Ramsgate High Street
 One of the main attractions being feminist and crack shot annie oakley

Friday 28 February 2020

4 mystery photos of Thanet, yesterday's photos

 Question 1 where in Thanet? you can also add what's going on and even when or why if you like.

 Question 2 I'm pretty sure this is Ramsgate but do you know what's going on?

 Question 3 where in Thanet?

Question 4 where in thanet?

It's a quiet day in the bookshop today, nasty weather, forecast for nasty weather, so I have been labeling up what we vaguely call the craft section.
I think it may be a bit OTT, too much input
I tried walking along in front of it with the phone's camera set on panorama and now know while when the are shooting a movie the cameras are often on rails.

Overall I am fairly pleased with the changes to the craft section in the bookshop, I managed to fit in quite a few extra shelves. I am going to start on the art next. It's another large (5 bookcases) section.

Link to the photos of the books we put out today

Yesterday's answers were all photos of Ramsgate or Margate shops in 1903 or 1904, I assumed that because they were taken from local tourist guides, that we produce cheap reprints of, readers would find them fairly easy to identify.

I am hoping people will find these ones a bit easier than yesterday's, from my end of the wosisname it's very difficult to tell how difficult local pictures are to identify.

This didn't go too well, sorry about that.
 30/32 Queen Street Ramsgate

 19 High Street Ramsgate

 Junction of Queen Street and Cavendish Street Ramsgate

I got this email from Roger Gale today:-

-----Original Message-----
From: Gale's Views
Sent: Fri, 28 Feb 2020 7:46
Subject: Heathrow/Manston Airport


28 February, 2020. 

Manston Airport – A vital national asset 

Manston Airport is `a vital national asset` that must be given the go-ahead for development immediately says North Thanet`s MP, Sir Roger Gale. 

“In the light of the judgement on the third runway at Heathrow” says Sir Roger “It is more important than ever that we get Manston up and flying again as swiftly as possible.  Post-Brexit Britain is going to need additional airfreight and passenger capacity of the kind that Manston can offer swiftly. The UK is as we speak losing business to Schiphol, Charles de Gaulle, Frankfurt and Dubai and that cannot be allowed to continue if we are to prosper as a trading nation after 31st December. 

Manston has been an airport for more than a hundred years, is designated as an airport in the Local Plan and is `shovel ready` in terms of development with many millions of pounds available for investment in a state-of-the-art net zero carbon modernisation.   I have asked the Secretary of State to expedite the decision on the Development Consent Order so that work can commence without further delay. We have no more time to lose”. (ENDS) 

Contact:     Roger Gale - 07900 905532 &
DISCLAIMER:   By providing your email address you will receive periodic updates and articles from Sir Roger.  Your email address will NOT be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any time by emailing giving your full name and current postal address.

I guess as he's in his late 70s climate change and pollution aren't much of a concern to him. I guess it's mostly a problem of not being able to change his mind as the world progresses and scientists come up with new information. I wonder where he got the idea that it had been an airport before 1920 from as airport services from Manston started in the 1960s.

Thursday 27 February 2020

Which Thanet Shop was this and more thought on our local shops

 As an independent shopkeeper in Thanet, I opened Michael's Bookshop in King Street Ramsgate in 1987, I have a sort of ghoulish fascination in the closure of shops in the UK at the moment.

The biggest problems are:

Out of town shopping centres, free parking, private policing are their attractions.

The knock on effect of so many shops having already closed that footfall is much less.

Rising expenses, particularly wages.

Online shopping.

At the moment we are seeing the other side of the in the bookshop, but I think the key is that shop prices, like for like, have to be mostly less than internet prices. 

So for us the main benefits at the moment are:

There is very little competition left in Southeast England in terms of other viable bookshops. Viable to me means a large range of desirable books that are priced less or about the same as it would cost to buy them online. 

In terms of something to do apart from food and clothing, there is very little left.

Smartphones and computers have resulted in universal literacy on one side with too much screen use including TV being bad for people's eyes, mental health and I suppose a sort of very low level anxiety and irritation that I recently experienced using a Kindle recently. By this I mean that while the Paperwhite Kindle didn't seem to be harming my eyes or brain, I wasn't confident about getting back to the page I was on and couldn't get it to read to me in an appropriate voice for the book.

Online secondhand book shopping and for that matter selling your books online is a bit of a minefield, I think the real issue is that most secondhand books sell for less than the cost of posting them.

The solution for real shops, especially in the non food sector is very difficult, the main problem is wages and so I suppose more automation may be the answer. The competition which is mostly online sellers like Amazon is based on automated warehousing, with a much smaller proportion of human workers to sales than you would get in a shop at the moment.

Obviously charity shops work because they are staffed by volunteers

Back to work in the bookshop tomorrow

 Shop 1 the name of the shop will do for an answer where in Thanet is a bonus. 

 Shop 2 the name of the shop will do for an answer where in Thanet is a bonus. 

 Shop 3 the name of the shop will do for an answer where in Thanet is a bonus. 

 Shop 4 the name of the shop will do for an answer where in Thanet is a bonus. 

 Shop 5 the name of the shop will do for an answer where in Thanet is a bonus. 

Shop 6 the name of the shop will do for an answer where in Thanet is a bonus. 

next yesterday's answers
 York St you can see the entrance to Charlotte Court in the middle

 The photos with the white or black captions on are getting a bit of a name for inaccuracy, the problem here is that with local history people do their best but sometimes more or different information comes along.

With this one I am going with facebook comment that says "Q2 - Hippolyte & Aldolphe Drincqbier's premises High Street, Ramsgate. 1901. L - R Mr. J. Hobday, Mr. E. Ashby, Mr. W.T. Stroud & Mr. Wells. (with thanks from Vincent). :) & the Ramsgate Historical Society.)

 This is Ramsgate Market under the old Ramsgate Town Hall, corner of Harbour St and Queen St

 Milton Sq

This one sums up the problem I face answering comments on Facebook, the right answer is, Margate Lido. Cliftonville Lido, Clifton Baths, Fort Promenade...

So if I don't know all the answers I have to look some up. What with Facebook only giving me comment notifications on a purely arbitrary basis, the cloud server I use to access the images with my phone playing up - I'm doing my best. 

Wednesday 26 February 2020

Mystery photos, answers, work and stuff

 Q1 Where in Thanet

 Q2  Where in Thanet there really is a butchers shop in there under the display

 q3  Where in Thanet

 Q4  Where in Thanet

Q5  Where in Thanet

Q6 is for younger readers, any idea what these things are? They used to be all over our beaches and cut your feet, of course back in the good old days there wouldn't have been many older readers because of the much lower life expectancy -n 1965 male life expectancy was 65 and most men in the uk died around retirement age.

Here in the bookshop I have pretty much finished putting the extra shelves in the craft section, it's mainly books about woodwork, metalwork and needlework but I wanted to put the architecture books in with the books on building and repairing houses and to consolidate the antiques section so all the books about pottery (for instance) were together - making or marks.

Hopefully this will give us a bigger art section and I am particularly looking to buy whole books about individual artists at the moment.

Thursday tomorrow and with sleet forecast I am aiming to start on decorating the fourth bedroom in the flat above the bookshop.

We are always keen to buy books and if you want to sell us some, the first step is to sen photos of the spines, just photos of the back of the books before you even think of taking theem of your bookshelves, like this.
this was taken in my study with my mobile phone just now and as you can see it's very easy for us to decide which ones we want to buy. You can then email the photos to the bookshop

Keeping an eye on the Michael's Bookshop blog where we put the photos of the books we put out in the shop every day can also help to give you an idea of the type of books we buy.

Link to the photos of the books we put out today

Yesterday's answers

 Taken from the top of Pugin's Grange, you can go up the tower there on open days

This is the viking invasion of Thanet
it may be Ramsgate
but most likely Broadstairs

 As expected a lot of people got Ramsgate Town Hall, but only one person spotted the the architectural feature that narrows down the date, if you look carefully you will see that only half of what is now Lloyds Bank which was the Canterbury bank then. the dates between building the firt bis and the second bit give you the date span for the photo.

Bank. 1896 and 1929 by T.N. Wilson. Ashlar. Two storeys on plinth with
rusticated ground floor supporting band, with lintel-band to 1st floor,
moulded acanthus frieze to modillion eaves cornice and parapet. Projecting
centrepiece with Corinthian half-columns supporting pediment. Nine bay
front, with sashes on 1st floor with enriched semi-circular heads above
lintel band. Semi-circular headed iron glazed picture windows on ground
floor, and central double panelled doors with traceried fanlight and open
pediment on brackets. Canted single bay corner to right and 3 bay facade
to right return, with same details as main front. Arms of Canterbury and
Ramsgate in centrepiece (built for the Canterbury Bank) (See Busson,
Ramsgate, 92; BOE, Kent II, 1983, 428).

Car 3 @ Fort Hill 1922. This was another one that not many got right.

 The one that hardly anyone got right was Tivoli Gardens, so popular in Victorian times it had its own railway halt. I've marked it on a map

Tuesday 25 February 2020

Business rates and independent shops, what's the problem? Mystery photos.

I work in a busy independent and mostly secondhand bookshop that is also a publisher and printer of Thanet local history books.

People often ask me what I think of business rates, it's a bit complicated but here we go.

The business rateable value is what you would expect the rent to be, the valuation is set by the inland revenue, and based on the existing rents of shops nearby. The size and frontage is taken into account.

Business rates are collected by the district council, the money is sent to central government and then shared out among the councils.

Rateable values assume the tenant is responsible for maintaining and insuring the building, back in the day when retail was fairly strong and the interest rate fairly high landlords aimed to get about 10% of the value of the building in rent. Now the proportion would be much lower. This is also complicated because there is a fair amount of shop property let fairly short term with the landlord maintaining the building.

link to check rateable values 

If your rateable value is under 15,000 you qualify for full business rates relief, i.e. you don't pay any rates provided it's your only business property. With shops in Ramsgate that is pretty much all apart from the very large ones.

The largest expense by far is wages, 1 worker doing a 40 hour week on minimum wage is about £17,000 so it costs about £20,000 per year with the other expenses of employing someone. so if you had 3 workers on minimum wage and a rent of £10,000 per year that would be £70,000 per year add on heat light phone and insurance and you are going to have to find nearly £2,000 per week just to open the doors.

Work wise here at Michael's Bookshop I have been changing the shop fittings in the craft section, so I can move the architecture into it next to the building and constructions section and expand the art section.

link to the photos of the books we put out today

next the mystery photos

Q1 Where in Thanet and where was it taken from

 Q2 Major Thanet event, what's going on?

 Q3 Where in Thanet? and What architectural feature give you a date between 1896 and 1929

 Q4 where in Thanet?

Q5 where in Thanet?

yesterday's answers
WW1 cavalry parade outside Lewis & Weeks, jewellers  1 Queen Street Ramsgate this is the corner of Queen St and The High Street parly on the site of the newer part of Lloyds Bank and partly on where the road was widened

End of Ramsgate East Pier (harbour wall)

 Fort hill looking towards Paradise Street Margate this area was cleared to make way for the duel carriageway by Turner Contemporary

White Hart Hotel now White Hart Mansions Margate seafront