As we were able to announce in the December newsletter, the recent Heritage Lottery bid fell on stony ground just before Christmas when we were turned down for funding. This was obviously a great disappointment – so much work went into preparing the bid getting it submitted, not least from TDC themselves.

However, when we regrouped earlier this month, everyone involved was feeling optimistic. After all, we have a fabulous building in an amazing location, we have funding secured from TDC to renovate the building and bring it up to a standard suitable to house the proposed Heritage Hub Museum [final name tbc!] and community space, and we have a rich selection of historic, maritime and town related objects that constitute the museum collection. And not least, we have a dedicated team looking after project delivery, doggedly determined to bring this project to life!

So, despite the initial disappointment, there is light at the end of the tunnel and an optimistic mood that an effective project can still be delivered for the town of Ramsgate. And while there is plenty of work still to do, especially to secure some new funding options, we remain optimistic.

The plan, which is still to be fully determined, is simple. To provide a flexible community space [including the ‘garden’!] suitable for a variety of exhibition experiences, learning opportunities, event hosting, and space that all and any communities can use and utilise. Exhibitions and displays will use the collection to tell maritime, social, and human stories. Schools and education groups will be able to use the space as a classroom. Community groups, families, artists and creatives, will have somewhere to run workshops or special events. It is essential that we engage audiences everywhere so it will be more than “just a building” and provide a hub for community, exhibition, and learning activities programmed all over town.

There are certainly challenges ahead but there is an energy and excitement around the Clock House that’s been a long time coming. When do we open? What’s happening next? Watch this space…!

Rob Warren

Museum & Gallery Consultant and New Committee Member from July 2023