December 2023 Monthly Members Newsletter

Dear XXXX,

Welcome to the December Newsletter and we send Christmas wishes and hopes for a new year that is personally satisfying and internationally more peaceful. Our seasonal illustration has resonance not only as the first Christmas edition to feature a silhouette of our new king but also because there is a Ramsgate connection!

Christmas 2023 Stamps

Illustrated by Tom Duxbury

Stamp designs copyright Royal Mail Group 2023

The artist for the illustrations on these stamps is Tom Duxbury and Tom is represented by Artist Partners, an illustration agency that relocated to Ramsgate seven years ago. Many thanks to Christine Isteed , Ramsgate Society member and owner of Artist Partners, for bringing this to our attention. You can read more about her company here.

Terry Prue

STOP PRESS From John Walker

We heard at the end of last week that the grant application to HLF for the Clock House was not successful.

However, TDC have confirmed that they have allocated £3.6m from the Levelling Up Fund to the Clock House project and intend to proceed with a scheme to renovate the existing building (without the rear extensions or planned new restaurant where the container is currently located). So, the project will proceed in a revised form without the HLF funding and we will be able to tell you more next year.

Everyone involved is still very positive and we will be regrouping after the Christmas break to start amending the plans with a view to starting on site towards the end of 2024/ early 2025.

View the TDC Press Release

Our Talk for January 18th on Proposal for a Ramsgate Historic Quarter

Photo of Ramsgate Historic Quarter looking southeast: Robert Milton Wallace

We start 2024 with a talk by Robert Milton Wallace, a writer and filmmaker who moved to Ramsgate in 2016. After taking an MSc in Architectural Conservation at the Kent School of Architecture, Robert launched the Ramsgate Historic Quarter regeneration scheme to help conserve historic buildings, promote neighbourhood pride and encourage visitor numbers.

The Ramsgate Historic Quarter grew up around the Upper High Street area of the town from the 17th century. The area was originally known as Westminster, not only because of the road pointing in a westerly direction but also because of the quality of its architecture. Among the surviving examples are the red brick Georgian mansions and Dutch Gabled cottages that were homes to sea captains and merchants engaged at Kent’s busiest port.

Robert will advocate the benefits to be gained today by recognising the unique character of this area. Not just from protecting and conserving its historic building but also from contemplating about what this area tells us about how life was lived in the 17th and 18th Centuries

This talk will take place at the San Clu Hotel in their downstairs meeting room with full disabled access and much nearby on street parking. To attend you must book in advance at £2.88 a ticket. Doors open at 6:30pm for a 7pm start. Non-members are requested to make a further voluntary donation of £3.

Book your tickets here

Terry Prue

The National Grid ‘Sea Link’ Proposal and Local Environmental Concerns

Photo of Minster Marshes: Nik Mitchell

Photo of Ramsgate Society Minster Marshes Meeting: Terry Prue

As reported last month, local residents have received leaflets outlining the National Grid’s ‘Sea Link’ proposal. In brief this is an undersea high voltage cable linking Suffolk to Kent to upgrade the National Grid transmission infrastructure. This is required to cope with increasing electricity demand and the connection of new green energy sources as we move away from dependency on fossil fuels.

The perceived need and final plans are detailed in the National Grid information with extensive documentation on their website. Residents were asked to provide feedback either on the website or using the consultation forms by 18th December 2023. We sent out material to help, but if you were not able to reply by this date do not worry as there will inevitably be further stages of public consultation to follow!

The Ramsgate Society also held a members-only meeting on 26th November to put the environmental case, focussing on the Minster Marshes where the plans locate a significant amount of infrastructure. The meeting was chaired by John Walker with presentations by local Green Party councillor Becky Wing and local wildlife champions Keith Ross and Nik Mitchell.

It was well attended and we were treated to some beautiful wildlife photography and impassioned speeches by the two wildlife experts. The Marshes do not have specific SSSI designation (unlike Pegwell Bay which is also affected) but are an area of high importance to several endangered bird species and a migratory route for many more.

The Isle of Thanet News recently carried an article by the Kent Wildlife Trust outlining their concerns (see which has detail about the importance of the Marshes and Pegwell Bay.

The Sea Link proposal represents one of a deluge of projects that will be required to enable the transition to clean green energies and away from fossil fuels, and all will have significant environmental impacts.

The Society’s position is that to arrest or slow climate change, projects like these are necessary, but that scrutiny of the plans with a full environmental assessment and presentation of alternative proposals is essential. Many of the decisions are being made purely on financial grounds, without any consideration of the environmental cost which is not priced into the assessments.

In addition, scrutiny of the project as it develops is required to ensure that the National Grid sticks to its promises, minimises the impact of whichever route is chosen, and uses the least intrusive construction techniques even when they are not the cheapest.

For the Marshes, there are two significantly troubling items in the proposals among many concerns:

  1. The Converter Station will cover an area of 21 football pitches in this important site. Are there not other more suitable locations?
  2. The link from the Converter Station to grid connection at Richborough is to be carried on overhead cables on a funnel of massive pylons, right in the route of many migratory birds including large populations of geese and swans. Could this not be underground?

The Minster Marshes issue is a timely example of the strains we will face in the future, as our natural and built environment gets to grips with the demands of reducing our greenhouse gas footprint. The carrying capacity of the electricity grid needs to treble, we need more generation (wind and solar, and perhaps tidal and other forms), more storage (battery farms), and more distribution lines. This will take its toll on the natural environment and be anathema to many, and the Minster Marshes is just one of hundreds if not thousands of sites to face potential damage.

We need to examine and choose the best compromise solutions. There are always multiple routes to the same end. Companies chasing profit will look for the cheapest option, but that is rarely (often?) the best.

Reducing our carbon footprint is not just removing our reliance on fossil fuels and switching to green energies. The biggest impact we can make is reducing our use of energy. Insulate our built environment, travel less, eat less meat, buy fewer things and buy locally. However, as coal, oil and gas are removed as energy sources, the demands on our electricity supply become bigger, however much we try to reduce our consumption.

Like it or not, these changes will have environmental impacts, and we should strive to ensure that these are managed and minimised. Also, we should not forget how wildlife and vegetation can adapt. Just walk around Pegwell and remember that not many years ago a large hovercraft operation was running many daily services from Ramsgate to France!

Phil Shotton

Ramsgate Society Lead on the Environment and Climate Change

Our November Talk: Paul Lewis on Wilkie Collins

Photo: Richard Oades

We are delighted to have ended the talks programme for 2023 on a particular high when we were able to reinstate the postponed presentation by Paul Lewis on ‘A Tale of Two Towns: The Seaside Life of Wilkie Collins’. To quote a follow-up email sent to me afterwards, ‘Paul Lewis was an excellent raconteur whose thorough research was greatly appreciated’.

I know we could not accommodate the number applying for tickets but Paul has provided an illustrated script which you can all download for free from our website.

Click here for the script for this talk

Terry Prue

Advent Doors 2023

Photo: Sue Gyde

Another Advent Doors organised by The Ramsgate Society for 2023 was held at the Stables next to the Queen’s Head on Saturday 2nd December. The theme was a snowy walk through Ramsgate with a dog called Athena. A film with a range of photos of Ramsgate in the snow was shown. The audience had to work out where each shot was taken. It certainly encouraged a great deal of discussion.

£88 was raised for initiatives to help the homeless this winter.

A great big thank you to all those Ramsgate Society members and members of the public who turned out to see the display in the freezing fog.

Sue Gyde

Have you received this recent edition of Ramsgate Matters?

It has come to our notice that some members in Ramsgate postcode areas CT11 and CT12 have not yet received their normally hand delivered copy of the autumn Ramsgate Matters magazine. If that includes you, please email The Secretary with your name and address and we will arrange delivery as soon as possible.

Members Request: Do you know Richard Daniel?

Many readers of the Newsletter may be unaware of a significant moment in the history of the town. The imminent decision of Richard Daniel to retire from a lifetime’s work as one of Ramsgate’s most prominent and valued solicitors will mean the end of a firm which has served to town for well over 200 years.

Since 1945 the firm has been known to Ramsgatonians as Daniel & Edwards, but as  ‘Messrs Daniel’ it traces its origins back to 1791, when the founder of the dynasty, Edward Daniel, set up his plate. During the ensuing 233 years almost everything of significance in the development of the town has passed through that office: the growth of the seaside resort, the development of the largely Victorian architecture of the town, the renaming of its streets, the conduct of its local judiciary system, the coming of the railways, in all these and more the firm of Daniel was closely involved. It is a history and a continuity which few firms and few towns can boast.

Some of those who have known Richard Daniel and had dealing with the firm are planning a modest farewell event, to take place in January. If you are interested in taking part, please contact either Catriona Blaker or Stephen Davies.

Contact the Ramsgate Society

If you have any queries about or for the Society please get in touch

Members with events, workshops or news that you would like the Society to consider featuring in its newsletter please contact:

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