January 2024 Monthly Members Newsletter

Dear XXX,

A very happy new year to you all.

As always, we have much to share with you and we have included a reminder that we would love to have more of our members to ‘step up’ and join the committee. It is a great way to stay in touch and to help the Society to promote and preserve what is best about Ramsgate.

Terry Prue

Ramsgate Society Communication Lead

Our Talk for February 22nd on Ramsgate’s Heritage Harbour

Detail of image of Ramsgate Harbour circa 1828 in British Museum Collection

Our next Ramsgate Society talk will be by Diane Harvey-White, a heritage consultant and part of the design team from Curl la Tourelle Head (CLTH), the architects appointed in March 2023 for the regeneration projects in Ramsgate Harbour.

She will be drawing on her research to produce a Conservation Management Plan for the harbour, a project that involved the research of eight individually designated buildings (including the Grade II* Clock House) and structures as well as four that come under the harbour designation – also Grade II*. Through this work she was able to plot the succession of engineers to the harbour and pinpoint who was responsible for various phases of construction and repair from 1773 through to 1926.


Her analysis places Ramsgate Royal Harbour into the wider context of engineering innovation that includes it in the canon of work by the engineers responsible for Scarborough Harbour, Holkham Estate, Sheerness Dockyard, London Bridge, the London Docks and Newlyn Harbour. She contributes a greater understanding of the choices made for construction and materials, showing how fashionable considerations have shaped innovation, including the social care of the seafaring community, for centuries.

A focus for this presentation is not just to look back, but to look forward and provide a greater understanding of the challenges our 280 year old harbour presents today. She will touch on conservation and sustainability, including collaboration and partnership with other heritage harbours around the country, and discuss the issues TDC have to deal with as owner, which can often be misunderstood by the public.

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 (+88p Eventbrite fee) a ticket. Doors open at 6:30pm for a 7pm start. Non-members are requested to make a further voluntary donation of £3.

Terry Prue

Book your tickets here

Clock House Regeneration – Still Alive and Kicking

Photo of John Walker and Lucia Tanner (Regeneration Project Officer, TDC) by Rob Warren

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

Could You Step Up and Join Our Committee?

Postcard image: Terry Prue

Do you agree with our aims? Could you help us achieve them?   As a Ramsgate Society member, we trust you are familiar with our objectives and activities – however, if you would like a reminder see here.

We are always looking to evolve and move forward as priorities and resources change. The trustees and committee members set the agenda, and organise activities, campaigns and programmes. Could we do more? Could we do better? Of course we could! We are looking to expand the committee, to enhance our capacity in pursuit of our objectives to bring more benefits to the town and its community.

We meet once a month – typically at 6pm on the first Thursday of the month – each committee member contributes to one or more working groups, and each group reports monthly.

If you feel that you might like to contribute to the committee through your skills, experience and motivation we would love to hear from you. Perhaps you have ideas about how we could widen our membership? Perhaps events and community engagement inspire you more? Perhaps you would prefer to just say what interests you most and together we can progress the conversation from there.

Click here to introduce yourself and start that conversation.

We look forward to hearing from you.

John Walker

Ramsgate Society Chairman

Climate Matters

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Welcome to another edition of Climate Matters. We’ve recently had a major climate conference, COP28, and I’d like to share my thoughts about its conclusions and the future it paints.

COP28 (Conference of the Parties) is the 28th United Nations Climate Change conference, held from 30 November to 13 December at Expo City, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. COP is now held annually (apart from 2020 when the Covid pandemic resulted in its cancellation) and has been running since 1992. The event is intended for governments to agree on policies to limit global temperature rises and adapt to impacts associated with climate change.

Expectations of any effective outcome were tempered by both the location and by the choice of president. UAE, the host nation, is known for its opaque environmental record and role as a major producer of fossil fuels, and the president, president Sultan Al Jaber, is the CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), Neither seemed likely to embrace the wholesale elimination of fossil fuels. The conference was also notable for the number of fossil fuel lobbyists attending, outnumbering the delegates themselves.

Despite expectations the conference had a number of positive outcomes. Early on the conference agreed a “loss and damage” fund to compensate poor states for the effects of climate change, with significant contributions from the major developed nations. However less successful were attempts to limit fossil fuel subsidies, currently running at record level of 7.1 trillion dollars in the year 2022.

There was controversy on the 4th day, when the president Al-Jaber dismissed demands for a fossil fuel phase-out, but the following day he held a press conference in which he stated he “respects science”, thinks a phaseout of fossil fuel use is inevitable and claimed his comments were taken out of context.

The final agreement encouraged all signatory states to end their dependence on fossil fuels “in a just, orderly and equitable manner”, in order to prevent the worst outcome of climate change, while also working to achieve net zero by 2050. It also called for a tripling of global renewable energy capacity by 2030, the development of numerous “zero- and low-emission technologies”, further efforts “towards the phase-down of unabated coal power” and a cut in methane emissions. China and India did not sign the pledge to triple their output of renewable energy, and committed to coal power instead.

So where does this leave the planet? There are no binding commitments, just ‘encouragement’, ‘desires’, ‘further efforts’ and proposed cuts. On the face of it this seems somewhat underwhelming considering 2023 had the highest global temperatures ever recorded, Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets were at their smallest extent, and by some predictions, most notably by the respected climate scientist James Hanson, the 1.5 °C global temperature ‘limit’ would be passed in 2024. James Hanson was the scientist who first raised the threat of man-made global warming to the US Congress in 1988.

Against this pessimistic backdrop there are some positive rays of sunshine. The COP conferences do not generally contain strong binding commitments, the exception being COP21 in Paris, in 2015, when 174 countries agreed to pursue efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 °C. However, COP28 was the first where the outcome explicitly mentioned the necessity to shift away from all kinds of fossil fuels.

The importance of this agreement cannot be understated. Global fossil fuel companies make enormous profits by extracting a natural resource from the ground, refining and delivering it to the customers, without any charge for the environmental and human damage caused. They spend millions of dollars lobbying (and paying) politicians to dissuade them from taking steps to reduce fossil fuel use, and even more money on promulgating climate denialism and delaying tactics despite internally knowing the damage that is caused. For the president of one of the largest oil companies in the world, at a conference hosted by a major oil producing nation, to sign an agreement to end dependence on fossil fuels is a major breakthrough.

This agreement signals the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel industry. The value of the industry is dependent upon the value of their oil, gas and coal reserves. As consumption falls, so does the value of these assets, and therefore of the businesses. Investment will flee as the world moves to cleaner, greener energy. We may yet be spared the worst consequences of global warming, but only if all governments step up to the plate and cease developing new fossil fuel reserves. The British government is currently in danger of destroying its climate credentials by allowing new oil and gas exploration in the North Sea despite having signed the COP28 agreement. We must all work hard to hold our representatives in parliament to account.

Phil Shotton,

Ramsgate Society Lead on Environment and Climate Change

Two Events You May Find of Interest

Reopening and Special Events at the Mining Museum

This still relatively new museum is on the site of the former Betteshanger Colliery at Deal. It is relevant to Ramsgate in many ways: Up until 1924 the majority of the Chislet miners, originally relocated direct from Wales, were housed in Ramsgate. Miners also played a significant role in excavating the Ramsgate Tunnels.

At time of writing the Museum is closed for essential maintenance and due to reopen January 25th.  Upcoming special events at the museum include:

  • Jan 30 and Feb 6 “Meet a Miner Brunch at 2pm
  • Feb 25 Invicta Concert Band 4:45pm – 7pm
  • Mar 17 YMS Steel Band

To check for re-opening date and for more details go to the website.and here to book for events.

Event at St George’s Church

A musical celebration of Love at St George’s Church Ramsgate.

Friday 9th February – 7.30 till 9.30pm – Doors and Bar from 7.00pm

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, treat someone you love to an evening of popular vocal music in the beautiful surroundings of St George’s Church Ramsgate. To celebrate the love for our community Coastal Choir will be putting on a concert featuring pop, rock, folk and musical theatre, all on the theme of Love. With support from the BradUKES ukelele ensemble this should be an evening to warm our hearts.

There will be a pay bar, with doors opening from 7.00pm. All proceeds from the event will go towards funding the St George’s Community Meal in 2024. The Community Meal is a weekly event run by a group of volunteers, supported by St George’s Church and held in the Church Hall on a Tuesday evening.

Tickets are £8 in advance and £10 on the door.

Tickets can be purchased here.

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: news@ramsgate-society.org.uk

Copyright (C) 2024 Ramsgate Society. All rights reserved.

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Ramsgate Society

c/o The Custom House
Harbour Parade

Ramsgate, Kent CT11 8LP

United Kingdom

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