June 2024 Monthly Members Newsletter

Dear XXXX,

Welcome to the June Ramsgate Society Newsletter.


As always, a lot to share with you and we hope we will see many of you on July 25th when there will be an update on the Clock House / Maritime Museum followed by (optional attendance for members only at) an AGM. At both of these events we look forward to your questions and observations about the work of the Ramsgate Society.

Terry Prue

Ramsgate Society Communication Lead

July 25th Our Next Talk on The Clock House and Maritime Museum

Photo of volunteers at work by Rob Warren

At time of writing, we have not yet had our talk on the feasibility study to bring the Tall Ships back to Ramsgate in 2026. This takes place at the San Clu on June 20th and if you want to know more and see if any tickets remain click here.

Following that, we are back at the San Clu again on July 25th and will welcome Rob Warren (Museum & Gallery Consultant on the Ramsgate Society Committee) and Lucia Tanner (Regeneration Project Officer at Thanet District Council) to bring us all up to date on what is happening on the Clock House and Maritime Museum: the building, the collection, the finances, the opportunities and the problems. It is your chance to catch up and also to raise any questions you may have.

To quote Rob: “Museums are not full of old objects – museums are full of people and stories. And not just of a harbour or a town or an island, but of the culture, of the legacy, and of the world. The Clock House is brimming with such objects, revealing their invisible recordings to anyone who wants to discover them. The preservation of these objects is a critical first step towards returning our Maritime Museum to the town and in this talk I want to look at how we aim to rediscover those people and stories through the Collection Project taking place over the summer.”

This is sure to be a very popular event and booking is now open. As usual, doors open at 6:30pm and the talk will start at 7pm and run for an hour including questions. Pre booking is essential and costs £2:88. Click here to book your place.

Terry Prue

More on Museum Progress and Volunteers at the Clock House

We are about a month into the critical work at the Clock House – the audit of the collection within and safeguarding it for movement out ahead of the building refurbishment. And it’s fair to say things are progressing well; so far hundreds of objects have been rescued from the dark days of over-crowded, inaccessible storage in an increasingly challenging environment. Each has been carefully measured, described, photographed, labelled, wrapped, and boxed ready to be relocated. It’s a little hard to quantify how far we have got—there are a lot of objects in a lot of places—but a fair wind says we are about 43% done!

There are two reasons why this is going well. One is the continuing support of TDC, demonstrating their desire to reinstate the Clock House as a museum at the heart of the town and community. But the real stars are the volunteers. A team of passionate and dedicated folks who come down to the harbour every day, rain or shine, and give their precious time, energy, and effort. Always with a smile and always happy to do whatever is needed.

They come from all edges of the island and from all demographics, bringing not only a lifetime of unique experiences, but also an enthusiasm to learn about the strange inner world behind the scenes of a museum.

Through the power of social media over sixty people came to see what we were planning, and to discover the scope of the mountain to climb – we had to ensure people knew what they were signing up to! Then, after a series of art handling sessions to give everyone an understanding of the importance of the collection and how to ensure its safety while everything was being moved, they went into action.

Undoubtedly, the object handling is essential, but it’s important to stress that while each item is handled and assessed correctly—as close to a professional museum standard as conditions allow—this part of the process is just one part of the process. The volunteers have also worked industriously to set-up the handling rooms and photo studio. Others have built shelves, cleaned up and cleared out. Other still have helped with the database, the technology, and spreading the work.

So, while there is still [about!] 57% to go—many more objects to review, many more photographs to take, many more descriptions to write, many more boxes to fill—the work will be achieved and completed by the volunteers. The project would be impossible to deliver without them.

If you would like to join in, roll up your museum sleeves, and help make a difference to this important project, follow and contact us via @clockhouseramsgate on Facebook and Instagram.

Rob Warren, Curator

Ramsgate Society AGM 2024

As a member of the Ramsgate Society, you are invited to join us at the 2024 Ramsgate Society AGM which will take place after the Clock House talk at 8pm on the 25th of July at the San Clu.


Agenda for the event:

1. Welcome and introductions

2. Apologies for absence

3. Minutes of 2023 AGM

4. Matters arising

5. Chairman’s Report

6. Treasurer’s Report and Accounts for 2023

7. Election of Executive Committee

8. Election of Officers

9. Members’ questions/comments/suggestions

10. Any other business

N.B. this event is only open to members and we particularly welcome your contribution on item 9 of the agenda.

Manston Airport: Court of Appeal judgement

Photo: John Walker

In our May Newsletter we reported on the Court of Appeal hearing, held on 24th April, into the appeal by Jenny Dawes to quash the DCO (Development Consent Order) granted by the Secretary of State for Transport. The appeal centred on points of law relating to the failure of RSP to share and consult on reports on which they relied, in breach of the legal requirements of fairness.

The judgements rejecting the appeal was issued on 21st May, thus bringing the series of legal challenges to the DCO to a close. RSP can no longer attribute continuing delay to this as a source.

In accordance with the granting of the DCO in 2022 the authorised development must commence within 5 years, that is, no later than 9th September 2027. The DCO, however, stipulates that no part of that development can commence until a development masterplan has been prepared, submitted and approved by TDC, Kent County Council and Historic England.

That masterplan must include:

  • Assessment, conservation and mitigation measures for heritage assets and archaeological remains
  • Environmental management plans for construction and operation phases
  • Ecological and noise mitigation
  • Landscaping
  • Protected species plan
  • Surface and foul water drainage plan
  • Traffic management plan
  • High Resolution Direction Finder (MoD) re-siting and replacement
  • Community consultative committee in place,

Following the Court of Appeal judgement, RSP announced that it is to update their existing plan over the next 18 months. Any material changes will require public consultation.

The Society based its position on the reopening of Manston on evidence from its own detailed research and analysis. Briefly: that there is no commercial need for a new cargo hub in the UK, Manston is in a highly disadvantageous location, and that there would be serious environmental and health risks. That remains the situation and the Examining Authority findings and recommendation confirmed our view. The Secretary of State chose to ignore that and subsequent expert opinion in approving the DCO in 2022.

Richard Oades

Vice Chair

Full Steam Ahead on the Westcliff Shelters

Photo of Volunteers by Maxine Morgan and John Walker

Thanks to a grant of £1400 from Ramsgate Town Council we have been able to purchase the paint necessary to complete the repainting of the four large shelters on the Royal Esplanade. The poster below gives the details of the volunteer days between June and September by which time we hope to have completed the repainting of all the four large shelters.

As the poster says “We just need you”. We are totally reliant on volunteers to carry out this work. All materials will be supplied- you just have to turn up ready to have a good time!

We get great support from the Ramsgate Town Council Technicians so please do consider joining us at any time between 8.30am and 2.30pm on any of those dates.

John Walker

Ramsgate Society Chair

Ramsgate Community Champions Awards 2024

A reminder of previous winners

The Ramsgate Society Community Champions Award is a special award given to local people who, in the opinion of the Society’s Executive Committee, have made an exceptional contribution to the quality of life in the town. This year we are working in partnership with Ramsgate Town Council to celebrate the work of those people who, often unsung, contribute so much to the quality of life in our local community.

There are a great many people in Ramsgate who donate their time, effort and enthusiasm as volunteers to make Ramsgate a better place to live and work. Whether it’s by volunteering for food banks, picking up litter, caring for our parks, gardens and open spaces, organising community events, organising Heritage Open Days, the Ramsgate Arts Festival or The Film Festival these people contribute enormously to our quality of life in the town. They often do this without any sort of praise or recognition for what they do and most of them wouldn’t want it any other way. They do their work because they want to give something back to the community in which they live.

We will be putting out a call for Nominations shortly with a view to an Awards Event in the Autumn- so watch this space!

John Walker

Susanne Ford

Climate Matters: 1.5°C – Does It Really Matter?

In December 2015 196 parties at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris adopted the Paris Agreement, a legally binding international treaty on climate change. Its overarching goal is to hold “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels ”and pursue efforts“ to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.”

To limit global warming to 1.5°C, greenhouse gas emissions must peak before 2025 at the latest and decline 43% by 2030. The Paris Agreement requires signatories to sign up to increasingly ambitious action plans (called Nationally Determined Contributions – NDCs) on a 5-year cycle.

Despite these legally binding agreements, in 2023 mean global temperatures exceeded the 1.5°C target increase. One breach of the limits does not indicate a complete failure, but scientists are concerned that this trend will continue over the coming years.

So, what is special about 1.5°C, and does it really matter?

Each increment in global mean temperature increases the magnitude of climate change. In particular, extreme weather events are driven by temperature. The amount of energy that a storm contains becomes greater with increasing temperature, meaning higher wind speeds, greater rainfall and more storm damage.

Regions in countries already suffering extremes of heat, such as India and equatorial Africa, are now suffering temperatures beyond the human habitable range, and desertification increases. Extreme weather effects such as drought and flooding become more likely.

Parts of Italy and Spain are suffering severe droughts affecting crop yields, while countries like France and even Britain have suffered flooding that has also decimated crop yields.

These effects become steadily worse as the temperature increases. However, these are not the main concern of climate scientists, who instead are worried about climate tipping points.

Climate tipping points are elements of the Earth system in which small changes can kick off reinforcing loops that ‘tip’ a system from one stable state into a profoundly different state. So, a small increase in temperature could lead to dramatic changes in climate.

For example: the Arctic is warming almost four times faster than anywhere else in the world, accelerating ice melt from the Greenland Ice Sheet (and the melting of Arctic sea ice). As the ice melts more land is exposed which, being less reflective than the ice, absorbs more solar energy and thus accelerates ice melt even further.

The warming and diluting of ocean water is likely to cause slowing down of the ocean’s circulation of heat, the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), in turn impacting the monsoon system over South America and temperatures in Britain. Monsoon changes may be contributing to the rising frequency of droughts over the Amazon rainforest, lowering its carbon storage capacity and intensifying climate warming.

The collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is also possible with temperatures increasing by more than 1.5°C. The melting of both these enormous ice sheets could raise sea levels by 9 metres, putting many highly populated areas around the world, including in the USA, Britain, Europe and Asia, under water.

Another concerning potential tipping point, that could happen with temperatures increasing by more than 2°C, is dieback of the Amazon Rainforest. As a major carbon sink, dieback of the forest would dramatically reduce the natural ability of the earth to absorb carbon and would exacerbate the climate crisis.

Scientists have identified nine global tipping points (including the above three) and another seven regional tipping points, such as coral reef loss and mountain glacier melt. of those, one regional and three global climate elements are estimated to likely pass a tipping point if global warming reaches 1.5°C

While we may be able to adapt (albeit at huge cost) to slowly changing climate conditions, tipping point events would cause major geopolitical upheaval in a very short timescale, including crop failure, water shortages, mass migration and loss of life.

1.5°C is not the end of the world, but potentially the point at which things start to go bad quickly. Despite international agreement governments have not taken the steps necessary in the 9 years since the Paris Agreement to reduce CO2 production sufficiently. The next few years will be even more critical.

Phil Shotton, Ramsgate Society Lead on Environment and Climate Change

Blue Mermaid docking at Ramsgate July 12th & 13th

As part of the National Heritage Lottery funded ‘Skippers of the Future’ sailing tour the Blue Mermaid will be sailing to ten ports, each voyage crewed by young people and vulnerable adults taking part in the National Historic Ships ‘Traditional Seafarer’ course. She will be in Ramsgate Harbour July 12th.

The Blue Mermaid is an engineless sailing barge and once in port the hold will be open to the public to come aboard free of charge, and learn about the heritage of Thames sailing barges, where the surviving vessels are today, and how this historic fleet is critically endangered at the present time.

They will also be showing the film ‘Wind, Tide & Oar’ in the hold of the barge. The running time is 90 minutes. Seats for the film are limited but you can reserve a place below.

To learn more about the charity and the Blue Mermaid click here.

To obtain your free tickets for the on-board film register here: www.windtideandoar.com/sea-tour


Terry Prue

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

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