July 2022 Monthly Members Newsletter

Dear <<First Name>>,

Ramsgate Maritime Museum and the Stirling Castle Artifacts

Photo: John Walker

The artifacts from the wreck of HMS Stirling Castle are some of the most interesting items in the Museum. The Stirling Castle ran aground and was wrecked in the Great Storm of Saturday 27th November 1703. More details here.

For many years the site of the wreck and the artifacts were owned by the Isle of Thanet Archaeological Society, but the Society is in the process of winding down its activities and has recently transferred the ownership of both the wreck site and the artifacts to the National Museum for the Royal Navy (NMRN) which seems entirely appropriate because HMS Stirling Castle was a Royal Navy ship.

As many of our readers will know, the Clock House was awarded a grant as part of the Levelling Up Fund for Ramsgate and the Society is currently working in partnership with Thanet District Council on a project to renovate the existing Grade 2* Listed Building, build a new extension on the rear, and to open a new Ramsgate Heritage Centre which will tell the story of Ramsgate’s Maritime history for both residents and visitors.

The project is in its early stages and is quite complicated, and recent staff changes at TDC have caused delays in getting the project on site, but a lot of preliminary work is being done and we still hope to open the new Heritage Centre in the Spring/Summer of 2025. In the meantime, we need somewhere to store the museum collection whilst the work to the building is being carried out and this is where the Royal Navy came to the rescue by offering to remove the Stirling Castle artifacts to the National Museum for the Royal Navy in Portsmouth and to return them to Ramsgate once the building works have been completed.

On Monday 11th July two highly experienced conservators from The NMRM visited the Clock House and started the detailed work of cataloguing the Stirling Castle items and undertaking an initial condition survey so that those items that require attention can be worked on by the conservators before being returned to Ramsgate in 2025. The transfer to Portsmouth will take place later in the week.

We will keep you updated from time to time via the Newsletter as the project progresses.

John Walker

The Ramsgate Heritage Action Zone Draws to a Close

Ramsgate’s Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) has reached the end of its fifth and final year. Launched in 2017 and funded by Historic England (£450,000), the Heritage Action Zone is one of ten original schemes across England, set up to breathe new life into historic places that are rich in heritage but in need of a boost to make them more attractive to residents, businesses, visitors and investors.

Over the last five years, Thanet District Council has worked in partnership with Historic England, the Ramsgate Society, Ramsgate Coastal Community team, Ramsgate Town Council and the wider local community on a range of projects within the HAZ. Extensive research was undertaken to better understand the history, heritage, and changing face of this dynamic coastal town and to understand what makes the heritage in Ramsgate so special. The end goal was to protect and improve the town’s heritage for the future.

As a direct result of HAZ funding:

  • Nine historic sites gained listed status following a listed building review
  • Publication of ‘Ramsgate: The Town and its Seaside Heritage’, a book featuring beautiful new photography
  • Repairs made to the town’s Pulhamite or artificial rock, with training given to help local people look after it
  • Community consultation to review and update the Ramsgate Conservation area appraisal with the publication of a guide with practical advice for residents and businesses located within the conservation area. The appraisal is one of the first to include a chapter on climate considerations which will serve as a model for others.
  • Roof repairs made to the iconic Ramsgate Clock House

Community engagement projects included:

  • Retiling of the public steps at Kent Place with Pugin-inspired tiles designed by local school children as part of Historic England’s Heritage Schools programme
  • Seafront Placemaking, an engagement project to understand how the local community use and value the seafront, including a memory-mapping exercise with interactive digital map and public exhibition
  • Podcast series created in partnership with the Ramsgate Festival of Sound which uncovers stories and lived experience of the town through a sonic trail

NB Each of the items underlined link to more information on an item.

You can also access:

Terry Prue

Stop Press………

At the July 7th Ramsgate Society Executive Committee Meeting it was agreed that this year’s Civic Champion Awards would be given to:

  • The Ramsgate Town Technician Team in the community category
  • The Discovery Planet CIC in the education category

More details, including the date of the award ceremony, will follow but you may like to read the submissions that so impressed the Committee.

Congratulations to both groups for their outstanding contributions to the quality of life in Ramsgate.

Terry Prue

Ramsgate Town Technician Team submission
Discovery Planet CIC submission

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