More on A.B.C. Kempe

A bit more information and some pictures of A.B.C. Kempe and his time as Mayor have been added to our webiste. Click HERE to view.

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Ramsgate's Mayor is Appreciated

Mr. A. B. C. Kempe

(from a newspaper article by Eddie Butcher
Mayor 1953-54)

ARTHUR Bloomfield Courtenay Kempe, popularly known as A.B.C. will surely rank as one of the most outstanding figures of Ramsgate's public life.

He entered the Council shortly after taking up a professional appointment here in the early 1930s, when efforts were being made to revive the town's prestige and popularity after years of nationwide depression. It became quickly apparent that A.B.C. had a tremendous flair for publicity and an intense enthusiasm for every job to which he set his hand.

Many will remember his part as Hengist in the brilliant Ramsgate Pageant of 1934, his top-hatted tea party for thousands of visitors on Ramsgate's sands and his tours to promote the Ramsgate - Coventry holiday plan.

After notable service as Chairman of the Entertainments and Publicity Committees, he was elected Mayor of the borough at a time when the town's prosperity was at its peak and an era of success seemed assured. He was quick to turn every possible opportunity for publicity to advantage, and Ramsgate's top-hatted Mayor was pictured in many countries. He was almost ebullient in the way he went about his civic work and for that found his critics, but his one desire was to serve the town to which he had been sent in the way that fitted him best.

Within little more than a year after election to the mayoralty. A.B.C. found himself Ramsgate's war-time leader, a position which he held for four anxious and exacting years. In those days A.B.C. revealed quite another side to his character. His resolution, forthrightness of approach and determination, amounting almost to obstinacy, were just the qualities needed in those dark days. Sir Winston Churchill, Lord Morrison and Sir Eric Geddes were but a few of the national figures who came to Ramsgate in the early years of the war to hear in no uncertain terms from A.B.C. of the trials and tribulations to which the area was sub¬jected.

He was authorised by the Ministry of Information to visit Guildford and other areas to further local needs, and his air raid distress fund brought support from the U.S.A. His war-time memoirs "Midst Bands and Bombs" had a wide sale.

Appointed military welfare officer for the forces billeted in and about the town, A.B.C. received the honorary rank of captain for those services. He worked tirelessly to bring entertainment to the service camps throughout 'Hell Fire Corner,' journeying with his concert party night after night when bombing and shelling was not infrequent. Nothing daunted Arthur Kempe in those days for on top of all that social work he was a most able first citizen, leading the Council well in its deliberations during war and for the rehabilitation afterwards.

With the war over, the strain of those years quickly began to show in the man despite his strong physique, and in the early post-war period it became apparent that after some 15 years of devoted work in numerous spheres A.B.C.'s health was failing. It was typical of the man that, realising the restrictions placed upon him by indifferent health, he decided to quit public life, since nothing was good enough for A.B.C. but the best and he could no longer give it.

His outstanding public work was recognised by the Council in 1950 when they conferred upon him the Honorary Freedom of the Borough. But even then A.B.C, could not sit back and watch life go by. He revived with considerable success Ramsgate's Sports Week, took a great interest in sport and the development of youth welfare, and in fact continued to take a very keen interest in the town's affairs. still doing what he could in the promotion of anything likely to add to its welfare.

Arthur Kempe died as he hoped he would, in a quiet corner of the town which he loved, removed from the turbulence of the life that had been his. So passes a grand old man whose friendship and fellowship were enjoyed by thousands.



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Riots at Ramsgate

"This town was on Monday thrown into a considerable state of excitement, in consequence of the conviction of several fishermen for hawking fish about the streets. John BUCKLEY, Henry RIGDEN, William SOLLY, William NAIRNE, James BUZZY, William GOLDSMITH, Charles KENDALL and two others (some of whom had been before convicted) were brought before the sitting Magistrates charged by Sergeant CLARK and Police Constables BILLINGS, BRADSHAW and JENKINS, with hawking fish within the streets within the parish. Each defendant admitted the charge, was convicted in the mitigated penalty of 1s. and costs or imprisonment, varying from 8 to 16 days.

After the public business was disposed of, and while the commitments for the prisoners were being made out, large numbers of persons, principally consisting of Torbay fishermen and women continued to assemble before Hubbard's room, the building appropriated for the use of the Magistrates and the commissioners during the erection of the new town-hall where the prisoners were confined. Every minute brought an accession of the numbers, until at about 3 o'clock the mob had increased to nearly 1,000.

At this time a pair-horse fish van had arrived for conveying the prisoners to Sandwich gaol, when a rush was made at the vehicle, and its progress immediately arrested. The prisoners then made their appearance at the windows, and called upon the mob to rescue them, to which they were energetically urged by the concourse of women assembled. This was the signal for action. The mob surrounded the van, and literally carried it some yards from the building. This was followed by uproarious huzzas, and cheering with the destruction of every window in the building. The police, comprising 7 or 8 men in all, now made their appearance outside and endeavoured to disperse the mob, when they were assailed with showers of stones and other missiles and were soon compelled to retreat within the building. A simultaneous rush then took place at the doors, which soon gave way to the superior force arrayed against them, and the above prisoners, accompanied with three others names BUCKLEY, BISHOP and SIMMONDS (committed for an assault on Maria ATKINS) made their escape amid the most deafening cheers of the mob. They then proceeded, followed by an immense concourse of persons, through Harbor Street, towards the Pier, and in their route, halted at several of the commissioners houses and commenced groaning, hissing, etc. and using the most opprobious epithets towards them.

A sad destruction of window glass has been made at Ellis's in High Street and Karn's house in King Street has been nearly demolished. How far this violent conduct will go cannot be surmised, as the mob increases, and several of the new "popularly elected" commissioners are dreading their threatened visit.

As yet the rioters are not in custody, nor does it appear that any steps are taken by the Justices, with the exception of one, for haranguing the populace, from several corners of the streets this evening, which has caused considerable excitement and alarm. The shops in Queen Street are closed and great is the fear that some very serious affray may occur. The police, with the special constables, are on duty without intermission, assisted by the police from the Royal Harbour and the Coast Guard Force.

On Thursday, a detachment of the 11th Dragoons arrived from Canterbury. A meeting of the inhabitants was held at Hubbard's Rooms when it was agreed to request the commissioners under the Ramsgate Act not to lay any further information, and a majority of the commissioners being present, who concurred in this resolution, a requisition for a special meeting was signed to forward such object, which it is to be hoped will prevent a recurrence of such disgraceful proceedings."

(Dover Telegraph 13 July 1838 page 8 col.4, at top)

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Happy Memories of a Secret Tunnel

From an article in a local paper published in the 1980’s

Sixty years ago, with other village children, I spent many happy hours playing inside the Cliff Path tunnel at Chilton. It ran from bottom meadow under cliff path and came out in the old pleasure gardens. It was also a short cut to get a swim or paddle.

The meadow was farmed by the late William and Albert Anstey and I went to work for them on leaving school. We started to fill the tunnel in from the meadow end after a cow got in and we had hell's own job getting it back out. We began putting in all the old rubbish, cabbage and sprout stumps and all the half-burnt straw from the Chilton farm fire. I also tipped, with the aid of my pal, who still lives in Ramsgate, a cart-full of broken farm tools and broken horse harness. How I would like to have those old brasses now.

The Ansteys moved back to Devon in 1940 and the tunnel entrance was further covered by a later farmer by levelling off a bank and bushes that ran from Pegwell Road almost to Coast Guard Cottages some time after the war.

Regarding the seaweed for the Convent field (now Goodwin, Minster and St. Lawrence Avenue, we used to bring this up by cart using two heavy horses at two shill¬ings and sixpence a load through the Little Cliffs End farm tunnel also farmed by the late Anstey Brothers. The convent only had one light cob, not strong enough to haul seaweed through either tunnel.

Not many of the original villagers remain, but there are still a handful who have never been away except for war service. These remember the old tunnel well - and a lot more folk living in the town remember as children being brought by parents on the old horse brakes of Gore, Wackett and Haskings, etc. to Pegwell and having a picnic by the old Cliff Path tunnel entrance.

A CHILTON VILLAGER (name and address supplied to the Editor).

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A Lost Jewel from Ramsgate's Crown

Following the Granville Marina Restaurant debacle of recent years, I've received a short article about the Marina's heyday as remembered by a former Marina resident, who also worked in the area for many years. Click HERE for the full article and pictures of what was once a jewel in Ramsgate's crown.

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Big Parade in Ramsgate

Here are a few pictures of a big parade in Ramsgate which were taken during Alderman A.B.C. Kempe's time as Mayor (1938-1942). St George's Church features in the parade and also Royal Parade. Can anyone help out with the date, and what the occasion was?

Please leave a comment below or email:

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1872 Ordnance Survey Map now online

An 1872 Ordnance Survey map of Ramsgate Town is now available online. The map is from a survey by Lieutenent R. Hill R.E. and is scaled at 41.66 feet to 1 inch or 1:500. This is a very detailed map and was surveyed at a time when Ramsgate was undergoing major expansion. It's a fascinating insight into old Ramsgate and also a very useful research tool. Click HERE to view the map.

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New Website Launched

A very big THANK YOU to everyone who has contributed to this blog. Thanks to your help several mysteries have been solved, mistakes corrected and new material added.

Whilst a blog is a very easy way of communicating, it's not so good when it comes to archiving. With this in mind a new website has been created at where everything is being archived in what is hopefully an easy to find manner. The site is searchable and includes a new photo album which should be easier and quicker to access than the previous Picasa album.

The new photo album now includes an additional 95 pictures that have been scanned or sent in by readers, making a total of 385 views.

All links that were in the side bar of this blog have been moved to the new website and others are being added all the time. If you have anything Old Ramsgate we'll be pleased to publish it or link to it from the new site. Just contact us at: or leave a comment here.

A Rail Slice of History

From the Daily Mail, Thursday March 11, 2010

QUESTION: As a child I used to holiday in Ramsgate and would travel by the small open train through a tunnel to the seafront. Is it still there?

KENT Coast Railway opened its branch from Herne Bay through Margate to Ramsgate Harbour in 1863, in competition with South Eastern Railway's line through Canterbury to Ramsgate Town. The latter was on top of the cliffs, about a mile from the seafront, and had opened in 1846.

The Harbour line was originally worked, and soon taken over, by London Chatham & Dover Railway. The LC&DR's advantage, however, was limited by the cramped location of Harbour station as well as the 1,124 yard tunnel on a down gradient of 1-in-75 into the station.

The twin arrangement remained after the LC&DR and SER amalgamated to become the South Eastern and Chatham Railway Management Committee, and when the Railways Act of 1921 came into force in 1923, the Southern Railway was formed. Southern rationalised the situation in Ramsgate and joined the ex-LC&DR line, north of the tunnel, to the SER tracks at Ramsgate Town, forming the present circuit of lines in East Kent. The tunnel and Harbour Station were abandoned.

The former station building was acquired by Thanet Amusements, who opened a funfair and zoo with refreshments. The company was later taken over by Ramsgate Olympia, which decided that the old tunnel should be opened to form a transport link between their facilities and the main line.

After an abortive proposal to re-lay standard gauge track, the decision was made to introduce a 2ft gauge electric tramway. Since it would not be possible to terminate at the north end of the tunnel, a short, smaller dimension tunnel - 8ft high and 6ft wide - was dug from about 344 yards short of the North portal and into a new station at Hereson Road, Dumpton Park. This tunnel was inclined at 1-in-15.

Two trains were bought from the English Electric Company in Pres¬ton. One, the ‘yellow set', comprised two four-wheel electric locomo¬tives, articulated onto a bogie coach, with one each end of two intermediate plain coaches, which had driving compartments so the set could be divided into two, two¬ coach units. The locomotives collected power through trolley poles from overhead wires. The second 'red' set was originally formed similarly. but without the Intermediate driving coaches, as a four-car train. It was later con¬verted to match the yellow train. Ramsgate Tunnel Railway opened on Friday, July 31, 1936. The larger, standard-gauge tunnel was equipped with illuminated tableaux scenes from around the world, to entertain passengers on their four ¬and-a-half minute journey.

Initially, there were two platform lines at each end, enabling a frequent service to be operated, while the main line was single track. In World War II, the line was closed down, and the tunnel was used as an air raid shelter. The line finally closed at the end of the 1965 season. Earlier that year, the only major accident on the railway had occurred, when a loaded train ran away down the line and crashed into the booking office at the harbour. The driver was injured as his cab was crushed between the locomotive and coach.

The owners. Pleasurama, decided not to open the following year, and the locomotives were scrapped. However, several of the coaches still exist at the Holycombe Collection, in Hampshire, hauled by steam locomotives. The sealed-up tunnel mouth by the harbour is all that remains of the railway.

Tim Sanderson,,
Haywards Heath, West Sussex.

Walking Home from School c.1938

A walk home from St. George's School in Church Road around 1938:

"At the end of the school road there was Pig's Alley that connected to the High Street. There was a slaughter house at the top of the alley and the shop at the bottom was a pork butchers well known for its' sausages and chitterlings. I don't remember animals there but they must have been delivered during school hours. I have recently noticed that there is a large iron ring low down on the outside corner of the shop that must have served some useful purpose in days gone by, I thought at one time it was for tethering animals but now believe it more likely to have been put there for the brewers draymen to attach a pulley to while delivering to the cellar of the Free Mason’s Arms, the public house next door.

Sometimes I would walk home via Effingham St: just to gaze at the gleaming new Leyland Fire Engine at the Fire Station and at other times I would walk down to the harbour to see what was happening. Timber ships arrived and the loose timber was first stacked on the quayside. From there, it was taken on ‘limbers’ to the various Timber yards in the town and there were at least three. The limber was basically a long pole on two axles, with cross pieces to support the long lengths of rough sawn timber and drawn by teams of horses. As the wheels were steel rimmed, driving up through the town created a lot of noise and there was no need to warn people to keep out of the way.

Grain was unloaded from the holds of Thames sailing barges, initially with baskets and a crane but then they installed an electric powered hoist that lifted the grain with small buckets on a continual belt, tipped it into a storage container from where it dropped via a flexible hose into large closed trailers, the trailers would then be towed away by a three wheeled motor vehicle known as a mechanical horse. By this method they could move one trailer when it was full and leave an empty one in its place to be filled. The grain was taken to Hudson’s Mill at the top of Margate road. This Mill was still in use until a few years ago, but had been supplied with grain by road tankers instead of sea going barges, for very many years.

Coal was also unloaded by the basket and crane method and taken by open horse drawn carts to the various coal yards in the town. As soon as the coal boats left, men would be there with nets dredging for any coal that had fallen into the sea. If they were out of work this was one of the few perks that were available to them to help them to live and it was not unusual to have men singing in the streets, or playing a ‘Barrel Organ’ to earn a little extra money. Bulk salt came into the harbour by ship and was unloaded and taken to a water pumping station near the junction of Whitehall and Margate road, no longer there, to be used in the water softening plant.

There was also a very interesting ship repair service at the main slipway. It was here that I first saw a portable electric drill in use. It was being used to make holes in a sheet of steel prior to the sheet being riveted onto a ship’s side. The steel was on the quayside and supported on wooden planks, a bracket had been bolted to the sheet in such a way that when the drill was placed vertically between the bracket and the steel, the necessary pressure could be applied to drill through the steel plate. Riveting was a fascinating job to watch. There would be one man on the quayside operating a small portable forge, after heating the rivet to the correct temperature he would toss it to another man, or one or two other men depending on the distance from the forge to the position on the ship where it was needed, and here it would be placed into the prepared hole. The men would catch the rivet in long handled metal cups and insert it into the hole with tongs. It would then be held firmly in place with a heavy hammer whilst the riveter would attack the glowing end with a pneumatic hammer. To keep the plates tightly together the holes each side of the rivet hole were first drawn tight with nuts and bolts, these would then be removed for these holes to be to be riveted. Apart from these ships and a few fishing boats owned by local fish shop proprietors there was very little else in the harbour. My parents said that when they first came to Ramsgate it was virtually possible to walk across the inner harbour by stepping from deck to deck of the fishing fleet."

If you have any memories, pictures or documents about Old Ramsgate that you would like to share, please email us at:

Ramsgate Town Station

Here's one for the railway enthusiasts.

The above map shows the S.E.R. Railway and Town Station layout as it was in 1872. Click on the map to enlarge it. To help you get your bearings, Clarence Road shown parallel with the Margate & Ramsgate Branch is today known as Hillbrow Road. The Branch from Ashford runs from the sidings between the current Railway Station and Sorting Office in Wilfred Road to Chatham Court at the junction of Margate Road and Sation Approach Road..

Bombs Fall on Ramsgate

From an Old Ramsgateonian:

We as a family were very lucky to come through the war unharmed. We did have one incendiary bomb at the bottom of the garden and on another occasion, after an air battle overhead, we found damage to the roof and ceiling of my bedroom. This was due to the nose cone of a cannon shell. The incendiary bomb fell one night just as I arrived home from work. I heard an aeroplane but as it was after nightfall I didn’t see it. I heard a bomb coming down but there was no explosion, this was not unusual as a lot of them were delayed action and would explode later. Shortly after there were a series of ‘plops’, and we became aware that incendiary bombs were lighting up in the neighbourhood. The bomb that had dropped was one of a type nicknamed, ‘Molotov Breadbaskets’. It had fallen somewhere near the railway station and on bursting it had showered incendiaries over a large area. Throughout the war we had had two sand bags standing outside our front door for just such an emergency. I grabbed these to take them to put on the bomb but as I carried them through the house the sacks, that had become rotten due to standing wet for so long, fell apart and there was wet sand all over the floor. Fortunately the bomb had fallen on soft ground and was easily put out by covering it with earth. The cleaning up indoors took longer.

There were a number of raids that were quite alarming. The first was on August 12th 1940. I had just arrived home for dinner when all hell let loose. Just as the air raid sirens were sounding a fleet of German aeroplanes flew in from the sea low over Ramsgate to bomb and machine-gun Manston aerodrome. With anti aircraft guns of all calibres firing at them it was a taste of things to come. There was a big raid on Ramsgate town on Saturday morning August 24th 1940. I was in a house in Wilson’s Road at the time and, on hearing the noise of many aircraft, I looked out of a window to see a large number of planes flying in from the direction of the coast. As I watched bombs began falling from them and a very large area around our gasworks and the gas works itself were hit. Much damage was done and many people were killed and injured. The following morning I walked around the area with one of my brother in laws to view the damage. Shops in King Street had had windows blown out and had been boarded up with what he informed me were coffin boards. He was a carpenter so he knew about these things. We noticed a number of holes in the road way and pavements, about a foot in diameter, it was obvious that something heavy had made them and we later found out that they had been made by unexploded bombs. These were the early days of aerial bombardment and afterwards every effort was made to keep inquisitive people away until the U X bombs had been removed.

More information about the August Raid on Ramsgate can be found HERE in a book written by by D.T. Richards and available from Michael's Book Shop

1846 Train Arrives from Canterbury

Trains first arrived in Ramsgate in April 1846 courtesy of the South Eastern Railway (SER). The line terminated at the SER Station which later became known as the Town Station. This was situated at the junction of Margate Road and Station Approach Road. The site is currently occupied by a block of flats known as Chatham Court.


Later that same year the SER line was extended to Margate. The route of this line can still be traced along Hurst Grove, Ashley Close, Highfield Road, past Jackey Bakers Sport Field, parallel with Margate Road, Nash Road and on to Margate SER (later known as the Sands Station). Trains from Canterbury bound for Margate had to reverse out of Ramsgate Town Station before continuing on to Margate. In 1864 a small station was opened on this SER line at St Lawrence, situated alongside Newington Bridge in Newington Road, but this station closed in 1916.


In 1863 the Kent Coast Railway completed a line from Margate to Ramsgate via Broadstairs, which terminated at Ramsgate seafront. Initially known as Ramsgate & St Laurence-on-Sea it later became Ramsgate Harbour station. This section of line reached the sea front via a 1 in 75 gradient tunnel from just south of Broadstairs. At the station, engines were turned on a turntable for the return journey up the incline.



The various lines were rationalised in 1923 when taken over by Southern Railway. A new station was built for Ramsgate just east of the old St Lawrence Station and a new link line was constructed across a viaduct over Margate Road to join with the line from Broadstairs near where it entered the tunnel to Ramsgate Harbour. A new station was also built at Dumpton Park. The new line and stations opened in 1926 and Ramsgate Harbour station was closed at the same time. The line across Thanet from Ramsgate Town station was discontinued.


There were two notable incidents on the old lines, one at each of the old stations. On the 31st of August 1891 a train arriving at the Harbour station overrun the platform and crashed through a wall which enclosed the turntable. Details of this accident are scarce, but The Railways Archive records 1 fatality. Does anyone know more about this?



On the 11th on March 1913 a train from Margate bound for Ashford overrun the Town Station. collided with a brake van and crashed through the station wall. Nine passengers were slightly injured and a girl walking past the station was bruised by falling masonry. Click HERE to read the full report of the accident.

A Walk Through St Lawrence c.1930

An old Ramsgateonian takes a walk through St Lawrence c.1930

My mother took me for my first day at, “St: Lawrence Infant’s School”. It stood opposite to the entrance to the recreation ground in, Newington Road, where the swimming pool is now. The Girl’s school was next to the infant's school and the Boy's school was across the road below the entrance to the recreation ground. At that time my youngest sister was attending the girl’s school and for a while she took me to and from the school, thereafter I went with friends or on my own.

Walking from Southwood Road towards St Lawrence, this was before the bungalows were built on the left hand side of Ashburnham road and there was just a tall flint wall surrounding the grounds of Southwood House. On the right hand side after the row of houses in line with the coal yard, -now a small housing estate-, and ‘The Australian Arms’ public house there was a tall fence known to the locals as the ‘black boards’. It was made from boards that had been coated in tar, a common preservative in those days. Inside this fence there were the ruins of a large house that had been badly damaged by fire and then neglected.

St Lawrence High Street was a narrow thoroughfare with a number of small shops on each side. On the left hand side was a row of farm cottages belonging to Nethercourt Farm, Brett's sweet shop, a shoemakers and a building that is still there housing the Fire Escape machine. This was simply a large wooden rope operated extension ladder, mounted on an axle with two large wheels that enabled it to be moved easily by being pushed, to wherever it was needed in the locality. Then there was the old St Lawrence Parish Hall, -since rebuilt-, a few more houses and then The Red Rose public house. This pub was demolished in the 1950's.

Next to the pub was, Morris and Simons Garage. It no longer exists but was where they sold and repaired cars and had a number of petrol pumps. We would always look at any cars that were there and one day I saw my first Gully Emptying machine there. It was probably a demonstration model as it was painted red. It was a large tank on a Dennis lorry and the lorry had what was known as a ‘pig snout bonnet’. This was quite a popular model at the time and the East Kent Road Car Company ran a number of small coaches of this design. Before the arrival of this gully emptier, two men did this job with the aid of a horse that pulled a wide, wheel mounted narrow tank that had a heavy lid. The men lifted the drain covers and removed debris from the bottom with long handled scoops and emptied them into the tank. (It was interesting to note that when the war started in 1939, these horse drawn tanks came back into use. Latrine buckets from the deep air raid tunnels under Ramsgate town were carried up to the surface and emptied into them for disposal elsewhere). Finally there was St: Lawrence Church itself.

On the right hand side of St: Lawrence high street there were some cottages, one was used by a boot and shoe repairer where I remember having new studs fitted to my football boots, then came ‘Lawrence the bakers’, Tyrell's the post office, a slaughterhouse where sometimes live animals were being delivered as we came out from school to go home in the afternoons, a ‘Forge’ where we could sometimes watch horses being shoed or other forging works taking place. There was a large circular steel plate in front of the forge. We were told that it was used when iron rims were fitted to cart wheels, but we never saw this done. I will always remember seeing one old lady, a Mrs Pring. She and her only son, who came to our school, lived just round the corner from the forge in Chapel Road. It was obvious to us all that they were poor and on this occasion she was trying to persuade the blacksmith to repair the ash can from her Kitchener a common fireplace come oven that was to be found in many homes in those days. Apart from the front that was made of cast iron the sides and back had almost burnt way. I didn’t see the outcome, as I had to hurry on to school. Finally on that side as far as we were concerned, because we then turned off in the direction of school, there was Mrs Morlin's sweet shop where we spent our pocket money. I think we had a penny each Tuesday and Thursday and a penny from dad on Saturday, our ‘penny days’. We didn't go to school on Saturday so we spent that money nearer home.

Tram Crash on the Broadstairs Line

This post has been updated with comments from Michael's Book Shop

On the 4th of April 1901 the Electric Tramways & Lighting Co. Ltd opened a new electric tram service which linked Ramsgate, Broadstairs and Margate.

The Ramsgate terminus was at the town's railway station which was at the junction of Margate Road and today's Station Approach Road. From here it ran along its own private track to Park Road then followed Grange Road, St Augustines Road, The Paragon and down Royal Parade to the Harbour. The route to Broadstairs took it up Madeira Walk, along Wellington Crescent, Plains of Waterloo, Belle Vue Road and then on a private track (now Dumpton Park Drive) to Broadstairs and on to Margate.

On the 3rd of August 1905, whilst descending Madeira Walk towards the Harbour car number 41 jumped the tracks, careered over the cliff and crashed some 30 feet below. Miraculously there were only a few passengers on board at the time and they all escaped unharmed, the driver being the only person to sustain injury.

Although tram accidents were rare, there was another accident prior to the Madeira Walk incident. On the 26th of May 1905 a tram no.47 jumped the tracks and crashed into Vyes Grocers at the junction of Belle Vue Road and Plains of Waterloo. The shop manager’s daughter, tram driver and conductor were all badly injured. This line was known as the "Loop Line" linking Broadstairs Town and Ramsgate Harbour.

The tram system finally gave way to buses which were introduced by East Kent Road Car Company in 1937. Much of the privately owned track later became public roads.

Ramsgate and the Dover Patrol

This post has been updated with information from contributors:

In late July 1914, with war looming, the fledgling Dover Patrol was born which, from its early beginnings as a modest and poorly equipped command, became one of the most important Royal Navy commands of the First World War. The Dover Patrol assembled cruisers, monitors, destroyers, armed trawlers and drifters, paddle mine-sweepers, tugs, armed yachts, motor launches and coastal motor boats, submarines, seaplanes, aeroplanes and airships. With these resources it performed several duties simultaneously in the Southern North Sea and the Dover Straits: carrying out anti-submarine patrols; escorting merchantmen, hospital and troop ships; laying sea-mines and even constructing mine barrages; sweeping up German mines; bombarding German military positions on the Belgian coast; and sinking the ever present U-boats.

Little Java (pictured above) was a Thames Steam Tug built in 1905 by Cochrane & Sons of Selby and owned by W.Watkins Ltd. In 1915 she was transferred to Ramsgate and operated under Royal Naval Command as H.M.S. Carcass in the Dover Patrol’s Downs Boarding Flotilla. Java was involved in a number of ship rescue incidents, including one in connection with the destroyer H.M.S. Cossack. She was also involved in towing at least two other ships out of dangerous minefields.

Feb 1915 - Adapted fishing vessels based at Ramsgate were "Arcady", "lord Charles Beresford", "Paramount", "Loyal Star", "Acceptable", "Try Again", "Campanula", "Lord Cromer", "Rooke", "Majesty", "Frons Olivae", "Dewey", "Joe Chamberlain", "City of Glasgow", "Buckler", "Lord Claud Hamilton", " City of Liverpool", "Reaper" and "City of Edinburgh"

15th March 1915 - ten additional Drifters arrive: - "Redwald", "Ocean Hope", "John Lincoln", "Silver Line", "Achievable", "Ocean Pilot", "Ocean Crest", "Feasible", "Present Help" and "R.R.S".

On the 28th of November 1917 vessels of the Ramsgate Armed Drifter Squadron (above) engaged a German submarine which was caught recharging its batteries. The Drifters drove the submarine onto the Goodwin Sands where it was wrecked. It's thought that the tug Java was involved in salvaging the submarine's gun which was displayed at Nelson Crescent until the 1960's.

24th November 1917 - 6.30am approx one and one half miles N.E. of Gull Light Vessel, enemy submarine observed by sweepers bound north. "Paramount", "Majesty" and "Present Help" attacked. Later "Feasible", "Acceptable" and "Lord Claud Hamilton" assisted. Enemy fire caused slight damage to Present Help. The sub U.48 eventually blew up, 19 survivors were made prisoners. No casualties on the Drifters and the Admiralty paid awards totalling £31,000. 3 skippers received the D.S.C., 5 ratings the D.S.M. The Vice Admiral at Dover wrote; - " I wish to express my satisfaction at the gallant way in which the Drifters named attacked this submarine armed with a 4" gun"

Karl Edeling Commander of U.48
Born 25 Apr 1886
Died 24 Nov 1917 Goodwind Sands
30th January 1918 - Drifters under Lt. Commander Williams salved the periscope of U.48. The submarine dissapeared in the sands.

The notice reads: 88mm gun salved from German submarine which vessel was engaged on the morning of Nov 28th 1917 by vessels of the Ramsgate Armed Drifter Squadron, driven on the Goodwin Sands and wrecked

The 1920 video clip above (click on it to play) is of captured German submarine Deutchland being towed into Ramsgate and it's thought that the tug at the rear is Java. Java was also operating out of Ramsgate during World War 2 and was the first tug to be involved in the Dunkirk evacuation. She was sold for scrap in May 1965

Does anyone have more information on the Dover Patrol's operations out of Ramsgate? My grandfather served on Java and was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal, but I've been unable to find where service records for the Dover Patrol are held.

Pratts in Ramsgate

Pratts was a trading name of the Anglo American Oil Company which became known as Esso in 1936. Pratts Ramsgate depot was in Lorne Road, from where a lot of the petrol was supplied in two-gallon cans as the smaller customers didn't have storage tanks. It was supplied in different grades with each grade having a different colour painted on the top of the can. Pratts cans were green all over for the cheapest grade, the next grade had a silver top for ‘High Test’, then there was,’ Benzole Mixture’ with an orange top, ‘Ethel Mixture’ had a pink top and a racing fuel with a gold top.

The picture above was taken in Southwood Road, outside the water tower, Alf Miller was the driver. A further 20 views of Ramsgate have been uploaded to the Old Ramsgate Album.

This pictures (click it to enlarge) was taken at the Sandwich depot but the lorry (thought to be a Talbot) would have worked the Ramsgate area. The driver is Alf (Fred) Miller and his 'mate' is Sid Finch.

This picture includes the truck above (2nd from left) and we think was taken at the Sandwich depot.

Ramsgate's Odeon - Classic Art Deco

Many thanks to John for sending some more pictures of the Odeon Cinema. Ramsgate's Odeon opened in 1936 and was designed by Andrew Mather. Mather also jointly designed the Odeon in Leicester Square which opened 1 year later.

I remember the exterior as being a striking example of Art Deco styling, but it must be 50+ years since I've seen the interior. Having been one of Ramsgate's premier venues for many years I'm surprised I can't find much written about it. If you have any recollections or if you worked there you're more than welcome to share your memories here. The pictures are HERE