Doomsday - Cold War Bunkers

Having just visited the "Cold War" Civil Defence Control Centre in Gravesend, I find it almost inconceivable that there wasn't such a structure in the Ramsgate area. The Gravesend bunker (operational 1954-1968) was supplemented by a subsidiary counterpart in nearby Northfleet, which would indicate that Government planning called for one in each town.

Does anyone know of such an establishment in or around Ramsgate?

This topic is also running at the Ramsgate History Forum

Who Owns History?

Since starting this blog and its associated website I have come to learn that local history is a very contentious subject. Initially I expected there may be some fierce debate about interpretation of facts, but I didn’t realise there would be problems over the ownership of our history. I recently published a post relating to John Todd, or “Donkey John” as he was known. This took the form of an interview with the Mayor of Ramsgate around 1932 and was given to me by the great grandson of John Todd, with his permission to publish it. The paper didn’t contain any reference to its source, and as the interview didn’t contain anything other than the words spoken by John and the Mayor I saw no reason for not publishing it. I have since been chastised for not asking permission and crediting its source, which I assume refers to who typed up the spoken word.

This begs the question, who owns the interview, and who owns local history? Copyright laws vary depending on the type of information, when and by whom it was produced, and sometimes how it will be used. For example, Ordnance Survey maps have a 50 year copyright but for other types of work created after January 1978, copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years. My concern is not so much about copyright, but who owns the historical facts that are copied.

Most local history is taken from the written word which then becomes subject to interpretation. Clearly any interpretation belongs to the interpreter, but what happens when two people arrive at the same conclusion? Do I need permission to publish my own conclusions just because they may coincide with those of someone else? Another point of interest, most of my local knowledge must have come from the writings of others as I've only been around for 60 years. Does this mean I cannot publish my knowledge because someone else may own its written origin?

My own view is that however painstakingly historians research their subject, most local history is in fact a series of conclusions drawn from the writings of others that may or may not be correct. Debating these conclusions in public can only serve to enhance their accuracy, and therefore should not be stifled. This point of view can be born out by recent posts on the Thanet Online Blog relating to Tissot's painting.

Of course, if someone has painstakingly researched a subject and subsequently published it, he or she is more than entitled to a financial reward which should be protected by law. But does the author own the subject and subsequent conclusions that he or she has arrived at? Which brings me back to my original point, who owns local history?

Ghost Adverts and More Pictures

We've started a new project to collect Ramsgate's Ghost Adverts. If you know of any could you let us know on the Forum at We've also added around twenty new photos to the Picture Album

Unidentified Picture

Can anyone help with identifying this picture from an old Ramsgate collection?

Ramsgate References for Genealogists

A document of Ramsgate references contained in newspapers and other publications has been added to our main website research section, courtesy of Kathleen Hollingsbee. The collection is in searchable PDF format alphabetically listed in name order:

EXAMPLE: George BATH, fisherman:"Ramsgate: Smuggling case - "the 2nd and final examination of Edward Lowther, Daniel Gardener and George BATH, all fishermen belonging to the "May Flower" fishing smack, property of John COOK, on board of which vessel was found a quantity of smuggled tobacco snuff and cigars, took place last week. It appeared that there were 3,225 lbs tobacco, 1,213 lbs snuff and 412 tobacco stalks or cigars. They all pleaded guilty and were sentenced to pay £100 each, and in default of payment to be imprisoned until fine is paid in the Sandwich house of correction. The boys belonging to the vessel were discharged, it being supposed they acted under the influence and orders of the master and the men." no more information. (Dover Telegraph 10 Jan 1846 p.8 col.2)