Vote for Ramsgate Tunnels Heritage Project

Currently the Ramsgate Tunnel Group are in the running for a £53,000 grant via the Jubilee People's Millions fund from The Big Lottery which will provide a kick start to the project. The project will be filmed for Meridian Tonight on Monday 27th June and will go head to head against another local project in a telephone vote between 9.00 am and midnight on that day. We're seeking as much support as possible and ask that you visit our website at for more information on how you can help.

Having suffered extensively during The Great War of 1914-18 Ramsgate was acutely aware of the dangers of attack as World War II approached. Despite initial government attempts to prevent construction, the spirit of the town won through when construction and adaption of over 3 miles of tunnels took place in 1939. Thousands took refuge in the tunnels and hundreds of lives were saved. They were so popular that in 1940 there were over 300 families living below ground. Having once formed the heart of Ramsgate, the tunnels and memories of the few who are still with us from the period are now the only remaining links to this important period in the town’s history. It is now vital to preserve both the memories and the tunnels for generations to come.

The tunnels are generally still in good condition. Chalk cut sections and concrete lined entrances are still hidden below ground and will provide a perfect setting for reconstructions, displays and tours depicting life through this most important part of the town’s history. The former main line railway tunnel, built in 1863, is over half a mile long and will be the perfect venue to preserve and present the town’s history. The coming of the railways to Ramsgate was another very important time as it brought wealth and prosperity to the town. Exhibitions, displays and themed rides will celebrate the evolution of the town from the arrival of Christianity to its time as a retreat for Royalty, a playground for the rich and famous, its time as one of England’s greatest seaside resorts and its contributions during two World Wars.

The undeniable decline of Ramsgate in recent years can be attributed to a variety of causes such as the economy, changes in social trends, package holidays and not least being absorbed into a District Council. The abolition of Ramsgate Borough Council in 1974 took with it much of the spirit and identity of the town as its future was no longer decided in isolation but alongside that of other towns. We now have a new Town Council and along with it comes the opportunity to rebuild the spirit of the town for which it was so famous. Ramsgate Tunnels Project is focused on helping to rebuild this identity by researching, collating, archiving and presenting the history of the tunnels. This will probably be our last chance to record oral histories of those who used the tunnels during World War II. Most of Ramsgate’s surviving wartime residents are now in their 80’s and 90’s and their numbers are dwindling. Official records are one thing, but living memories are essential to bring the tunnels and the town back to life. An important aspect of this element of the project is that funding will be made available to train volunteer members of the community in researching, interviewing, recording, cataloguing and archiving all aspects of the tunnels history. This will have the added benefit of bringing together different age groups and different sections of the community to create mutual understanding and respect. The final part of this will be to create an accurate and detailed educational resource as a legacy for future generations.

At this stage we need money - not yours but from the Big Lottery Fund via the Jubilee People’s Millions. Interest in this project has been overwhelming with offers of help from builders, electricians, researchers, archivists, archaeologists, tunnel engineers and architects. There can be no doubt that the project is popular, but we all need to act on Monday the 27th June. At 9.00 am the number to call will be announced and lines will be open for voting until midnight. We will publish this on our website at as soon as it’s announced and email it to all our Friends.

What you can do now is contact everyone you know and enlist their support. If you’re on Facebook, Twitter or any other social network please give us a mention and help create a snowball effect. You can download a printable poster which we would like you to display in your workplace, local shops, clubs, pubs etc. If you live in Ramsgate and don’t have a working printer we’ll try and get a poster to you. Posters and details are at Please encourage everyone to join the Friends of Ramsgate Tunnels
to ensure they receive the voting telephone number as soon as it's announced.

£53,000 for Ramsgate Tunnels Heritage Project?

Ramsgate Tunnels Heritage Project has made it to the final of The Jubilee People’s Millions with a project to document and survey the manmade Ramsgate Tunnel structures in order to restore and preserve them as part of an all-weather, year-round tourist and heritage project. The survey will properly document the entire tunnel system so as to clearly define its true condition, collate all the available documentary evidence and draw up a workable business plan to develop them as a heritage attraction.

YOUR HELP IS NEEDED. The tunnels will go head to head with another project from Medway and viewers of ITV Meridian will decide who gets the money by a telephone vote on Monday 27th June. This is your chance to help the town with this community based project. Please sign up as a Friend of Ramsgate Tunnels and we can keep you informed of how and when to vote.

For more details visit

Friends of Ramsgate Tunnels

Beneath Ramsgate lies a maze of tunnels constructed Air Raid Shelters during WWII. The system is around 3 miles long and incorporates a former twin track main line railway tunnel built in 1863 and other ancient chalk workings. After the war these tunnels were closed and remain forgotten beneath the town.

Ramsgate Tunnels Group are putting together a plan to re-open part of the system and need your help. Please visit and sign up as a Friend of Ramsgate Tunnels. You will be kept informed of progress and your membership will add to the weight of numbers when negotiating.

As part of this project we're also collecting Oral Histories from anyone with memories of the tunnels. Details of this can be found at where you will also find a forum to discuss all aspects of the tunnels and offer ideas for the future.

Cold War Bunkers Under Ramsgate?

Recent opening of previously confidential government documents has provided an interesting insight into the preparation for constructing Cold War bunkers in addition to Ramsgate's existing A.R.P. network. Click HERE to read more.


You may have read a recent article in the local press regarding the re-opening of the Ramsgate Tunnels. If you didn’t see it, you can read it online at HERE

The history of the tunnels is well recorded, but what's not recorded in any detail are the memories of residents who used them. What were the emotions when the siren was sounded? What was life like underground while the town was being destroyed above? I remember the air raid sirens being tested in the 1950’s and my mother was rushing around to find the local paper to check this was a scheduled test and not an air raid! It must have left an impression.

Part of the current tunnel project is to record a “spoken word” history to accompany written records. Do you know anyone in the 80+ age group who used the tunnels? You’ll be surprised what Mum, Dad, Gran and Granddad can tell you when prompted. My mother has always told me she never used the tunnels. Now, as a result of this project she has told me she went down them twice, and even remembers details of the occasions.

If you can help we would like you to contact us and discuss how we can best record the memories. You can email:, or telephone 01843 599153.

Invicta MCC Re-Union

It's hoped to have a small re-union of a few former Invicta MCC members during the week commencing 17/01/2011. If you're a former member or know anyone who is, please have a look at or contact

Why is it called Seamark Road?

Have you ever wondered why Seamark Road at Monkton (where Thanet Earth is) was so named?

Here's a clue ...

Click HERE to find out more

Sir William Curtis - aka "Billy Biscuit"

William Curtis was born in 1752 in Wapping, East London. He was the son of sea biscuit manufacturer Joseph Curtis and Mary Tennant. William was elected as a Member of Parliament for the City of London in 1790 and held the seat continuously for 28 years. He became Lord Mayor of London in 1795-96 and was created a Baronet in 1802. The definition of the three R's as "reading, 'riting and rithmetic" is attributed to him and was taken from a speech made at a dinner given for the Board of Education. Sir William was a colourful character who resided at Cliff House, Ramsgate until his death in 1829.

Read more about Sir William, also known as "Billy Biscuit", by clicking HERE

Happy New Year Everyone wishes everyone a very happy, healthy and safe 2011

More Train Information

More Railway information has been added to the website. A track of the old South Eastern Railway's line has been added to Google Earth including a detailed plan of the Town Station in 1872 and a plan of the Margate Station of 1896. Also now shown is the acurate location of St Lawrence loop.

The London, Chatham and Dover Railway line is also show together with a plan of their Margate Station in 1896, and their Ramsgate Harbour Station in 1872.

In 1926 Southern Railway amalgamated and joined these two rival routes at the same time as building a new Ramsgate Station, a plan of which which is also shown.

The track of Manston Military Railway is shown as is the Isle of Thanet Light Railway Tram network and plan of their main depot at St Peters.

The station plans and tracks are acurately located over current satellite images and can be made transparent to see exactly where they were located.

The Google Earth files can be found at: