Friday 22 September 2023

The mystery of Captain Drake in Ramsgate, some photos of Northdown Road and Westwood Cross, with the inevitable ramble


Does anyone know anything about Captain T Drake and "The Pilgrim" in Ramsgate Harbour?

One of my bookshop customers bought these 3 postcards last week and asked be if I knew anything about either Drake or The Pilgrim

Info comments on Facebook

Michael Cates
Top contributor
Arrived in Ramsgate 23rd August 1927. Thomas Drake was a famous long=distance solo navigator in the 1920s and 30s

Michael Cates

Top contributor

He was a naturalised US citizen from Seattle, who claimed to be a descendant of Sir Francis Drake. His transatlantic trip took about two years and he later crossed the Pacific. 'Pilgrim' was later wrecked on the Dutch coast but that didn't stop Drake.

Michael Cates

Top contributor

Michael Child Might be worth adding that he was from Kent - Gravesend. He was 64 when he completed the Atlantic crossing and Pilgrim was lost the following year.
He claimed to have built the boat from driftwood collected on the Seattle shore...
Michael Cates
Top contributor

Bob Lee

Group expert

Michael Child: CAPTAIN DRAKE: born Thomas William Drake December quarter 1863 Albion Parade Gravesend Kent, illegitimate child of Ann Curtis who later married a Thomas Charlton of Faversham. Address both 1871 & 1881 census, Muller's Lane Ospringe Faversham. Drake shown as stepson of Thos. Charlton. Sometime between 1881 & 1891 Thomas Drake leaves for America, his home for the rest of his life. The so-called 'mystery of the man' who sailed the Atlantic April-June 1927 exacerbated by the fact that his voyage aboard Pilgrim covered by dozens of English newspapers upon his arrival at Plymouth in June 1927 and Dover in August 1927, EXCEPT that it would appear that Ramsgate's local press totally ignored the story. Margate's Isle of Thanet Gazette published a 4 line coverage, and similar scant coverage at other Kent towns like Dover, Maidstone, Whitstable, and Sevenoaks, but not Ramsgate! My information from a number of national newspaper archives, as well as findmypast data.

Next the ramble and the photos, lots of monochrome because of "boys and their toys"

My travels yesterday were focused on Lovelys art shop in Northdown Road
and the Old Bank Bookshop in Margate
I wanted to Make the places look a bit dystopian 

I went to visit the closing down sale of the Clarks shoe shop in Westwood Cross

On to Northdown Road

Riggers has now gone

Lunch at Café G

Next a few historic pictures of Northdown Road

On the art front there was only one freehand pen sketch that I was happy with this week, any yes you can say "what a load of rubbish"

Jonny Rotten pen sketch

Here at Michael's Bookshop in Ramsgate we have been busy

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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.